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What Tools Do You Use For Product Management Discussion Notes


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Notes from an interactive discussion at P-Camp Silicon Valley 2008 on what tools PMs are using, especially for requirements management.

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What Tools Do You Use For Product Management Discussion Notes

  1. 1. What Tools Do You Use For PM and Why? P-Camp 2008 Discussion Moderated by Nils Davis Director of Product Management Accept Software Thanks to all the participants in the discussion! (Notes by Nils Davis)
  2. 2. Categories of PM Activities <ul><li>* Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>* Requirements </li></ul><ul><li>* Collaboration </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Working with engineering </li></ul></ul><ul><li>* Customer feedback </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Enhancement requests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Defects </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ideas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Customers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Decisions that need to be made </li></ul><ul><li>Communication management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who owes me what? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Workflow </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Roadmapping </li></ul>Items with *’s were prioritized higher for discussion
  3. 3. Marketing <ul><li>How do you get the word out about your product </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Sounds like product marketing) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use Ad Words </li></ul></ul>This turned out to be a short discussion
  4. 4. Requirements <ul><li>What are the requirements problems? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Always changing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Markets are changing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Changing priorities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Customer feedback </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Business strategy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Deal of the Day </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Funding </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Competitors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Figuring out how valid the requirements are </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Centralizing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Single source of truth </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sharing and communicating </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tying together reqs and UE design and technical design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Am I done? </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. How Do People Manage Requirements? <ul><li>Giant Word document </li></ul><ul><li>Giant Excel spreadsheet </li></ul><ul><li>Giant GoogleDocs </li></ul><ul><li>Wiki </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Benefits: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Doesn’t have to be perfect – low friction </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Everybody has access – more diverse inputs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Basecamp - comments underneath the wiki, but doesn’t change the wiki page </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Meta comment level” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can’t prioritize wiki pages </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hard to get QA test plans out of the wiki </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No logical order </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Depends on wiki” – if programmable, can write scripts </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not as authoritative as a document </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Potential loss of control </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can use scripts to impose some workflow (Flexwiki) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Search can be a problem if wiki is large </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. How Do People Manage Requirements? <ul><li>Online app </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Does both bug tracking and requirements (TargetProcess) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bug tracker </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jira (+ Clearspace) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TRAC – not recommended </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SourceForge – painful </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bugzilla </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Backlog tols </li></ul><ul><ul><li>VersionOne, Rally, Scrumworks, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gets very complicated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Four days of training and setup required </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Living specs – prototypes </li></ul><ul><li>UML </li></ul><ul><li>Basecamp </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use messages for discussions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Also use Writeboards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>They just accumulate and can’t be nested </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. How Do People Manage Requirements? <ul><li>Mindmapping </li></ul><ul><li>Omni Outliner </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use personally, then print out </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Personal wiki </li></ul><ul><li>Omni Focus </li></ul><ul><li>Write on paper or whiteboard </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Then digitize and put in repository </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lighthouse </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Enables tagging </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Goals for Requirements Management <ul><li>Clarity of what to do </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to describe what you want to have happen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be able to prioritize </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tie the $$ associated with the feature to the individual requirement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How about business objectives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Depends on the PM </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Different tools fill in different areas of weaknesses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Memory enhancement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prioritization help </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Visibility of business side to engineering team </li></ul>
  9. 9. What About Getting Ideas and Customer Feedback? <ul><li>Goals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Comment: Requirements written by or developed with a customer are implicit contract </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reluctant to write down everything a customer wants </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Would rather use a conversation about their products </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ It’s a plan, not a commitment” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Value of PM is taking lots of input, and synthesizing it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Breakdown of customer-based ideas vs. internal </li></ul><ul><li>Customer community systems? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clearspace runs their own community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How about control? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Benefit if customers create their own community for you </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>GetSatisfaction – create communities for you with no commitment from you </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Probably need 500 customers for this to work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is there a relationship between the type of s/w and success of a community? </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Prioritization <ul><li>Use Excel for calculating a priority based on # of customers calling in, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Can forward emails to a certain bucket, and they review the bucket for the amount of activity </li></ul>
  11. 11. Tools Used For UI Mockups <ul><li>Omni Graffle </li></ul><ul><li>Paper – low friction </li></ul><ul><li>“ Agile usability” discussion group on Yahoo has a really long thread on usability tools </li></ul><ul><li>Visio </li></ul><ul><li>PPT 2007 with animation </li></ul><ul><li>Photoshop </li></ul><ul><li>Axure </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Captures interactions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Generates HTML </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expensive? </li></ul></ul>