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MASTER TITLE
STYLE
PRODUCT MANAGEMENT
IS NOT OPTIONAL
Rich Mironov
EL-SIG
21Aug2014
1
•  Veteran	
  product	
  manager/exec/strategist	
  
•  Business	
  models,	
  pricing,	
  agile	
  
•  Organizing	
  product	
  organiza8ons	
  
•  HP,	
  Tandem,	
  Sybase,	
  6	
  startups	
  	
  
as	
  “product	
  guy”	
  or	
  CEO	
  
•  The	
  Art	
  of	
  Product	
  Management	
  	
  
•  First	
  Product	
  Camp,	
  first	
  agile	
  	
  
product	
  manager/owner	
  tracks	
  
ABOUT RICH MIRONOV
2w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
•  Product management is about doing the right things.
Engineering is about doing things right.
•  Prioritization is political and strategic
as well as algorithmic
•  Symptoms of weak product management
•  How Engineering can help
AGENDA
3
Product
Mgmt
♥︎
Engineering
w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
•  Delivers market-relevant whole products
•  Targets segments, not individual customers
•  Protects the plan but listens for surprises
•  “Combines technical AND market decisions to drive
product revenue and competitive advantage”
WHAT DOES A PRODUCT MANAGER DO?
4w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
CLICK TO EDIT
MASTER TITLE
STYLE
market information, priorities,
requirements, roadmaps, epics,
user stories, backlogs,
personas, MRDs…
product
bits
strategy, forecasts,
commitments, roadmaps,
competitive intelligence
budgets, staff,
targets
Field input,
Market feedback
Segmentation, messages,
benefits/features, pricing,
qualification, demos…
Markets &
CustomersDevelopment
Marketing
& Sales
Executives
Product
Management
WHAT DOES A PRODUCT MANAGER DO?
5w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
•  Drive* whole product strategy and revenue
•  Make* hard trade-offs among complex choices
•  Communicate and align around (current) plan
* Get the smartest people/ideas into the room
* We collaborate but it’s not a democracy
* Take personal responsibility for market outcomes
HOW PRODUCT MANAGERS ADD VALUE
6
STARTS
w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
Can fill out paperwork (user stories) all day long…
•  But decisions require strategy and market analysis
•  Bottom-up story ranking never creates strategy
•  Need whole thoughts,
coherent/cohesive products,
economic justification
DELIVERABLES ARE INSUFFICIENT
7w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
•  Building the wrong product
•  Unnecessary features
•  Excessive paperwork or documentation
•  Partially done work (WIP)
•  Task switching
•  Waiting for information
•  Defects
	
   	
   	
   	
   	
  -­‐	
  aIer	
  Mary	
  and	
  Tom	
  Poppendieck	
  
*My	
  SWAG	
  
SEVEN WASTES OF SOFTWARE
DEVELOPMENT
8
•  Building the wrong product (100% waste*)
•  Unnecessary features (20-50% waste*)
•  Excessive paperwork or documentation
•  Partially done work (WIP)
•  Task switching
•  Waiting for information
•  Defects
	
   	
   	
   	
   	
  -­‐	
  aIer	
  Mary	
  and	
  Tom	
  Poppendieck	
  
*My	
  SWAG	
  w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
9
Product manager or product owner? Titles don’t matter.
“Person who makes hard trade-offs about what we should
BUILD and MARKET/SELL given LIMITED RESOURCES in
order to deliver REVENUE”
In practice, most product owners work at the scrum/story/
feature level, not the product/portfolio/revenue level
RICH’S AGILE BIAS
10w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
•  Deep product usage experience
•  Huge premium on technical chops, story writing
•  No requirement for market-side experience
•  No demand for
organizational
“blocking” skills
•  Well aligned with
“Internal IT”
decision-making style
HOW DEVELOPMENT MANAGERS
TYPICALLY PICK PRODUCT OWNERS
11
“As	
  a	
  programmer	
  who	
  knows	
  
nothing	
  about	
  being	
  a	
  technical	
  
product	
  manager,	
  what	
  should	
  I	
  
learn	
  before	
  interviewing	
  for	
  /	
  
transi<oning	
  into	
  a	
  technical	
  
product	
  manager	
  role?”	
  
	
  -­‐	
  Real	
  Quora	
  ques8on	
  to	
  Rich	
  
12
"As	
  a	
  professional	
  race	
  car	
  
driver	
  who	
  knows	
  nothing	
  about	
  
so@ware,	
  what	
  should	
  I	
  know	
  
before	
  interviewing	
  for	
  an	
  
enterprise	
  so@ware	
  architect	
  
role?"	
  
13w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
•  Customer/field demands
always far outstrip resources
•  Discard 90%+ of requests
•  Decisions are semi-quantitative
•  Huge error bars on revenue impact, market
reactions, development work, support costs
•  We must constantly defend product architecture
•  People and organizations matters
WHY IS PRIORITIZATION HARD?
14w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
•  Logic and facts are not enough
•  Sales teams get paid for
closing individual deals
•  HIPPO
•  Responsibility without authority
•  Keep the process moving
PRODUCT MANAGEMENT:
INHERENTLY POLITICAL
15w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
•  Pulls into product station every day
•  From customers, sales, execs, engineers, analysts…
•  Delivers hundreds of “good ideas” each day
•  One or two might be new and earthshaking
•  Always >> engineering capacity
GOOD IDEA TRAIN
16
CLICK TO EDIT
MASTER TITLE
STYLE EVAL	
  /	
  
RESEARCH	
  /	
  
RANK	
  
FEATURE REQUEST CYCLE
17
SHIP	
  
INPUT	
  
PM	
  
QUICK	
  
SORT	
  
BUILD	
  
Customers	
  
Sales/Prospects	
  
Support	
  
Execs	
  
LeanUX	
  
Analysts	
  
Compe8tors	
  
…	
  
~95%	
  
~5%	
  
Size,	
  impact,	
  
biz	
  case,	
  	
  
goals,	
  tech	
  	
  
debt…	
  
“DEEP”	
  
BACKLOG	
  	
  
WIP	
  
TOP	
  OF	
  
STACK	
  
w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
•  Japanese alternatives to “NO”
•  Product koan: "Thank you! That's a really
interesting idea. Let me put it into the
product backlog so we can address it
when appropriate."
HUMBLY ACCEPTING INPUT
18w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
1.  High interrupt rates
2.  Lack of problem context
3.  Unstable backlog/roadmap
4.  Missing/understaffed
product management
PRODUCT MANAGEMENT PROBLEMS
THAT LOOK LIKE ENG’G PROBLEMS
19w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
“Is it done yet?
“Who can handle this urgent fix?”
“Where in the backlog is my item?”
“We need to size another hot-deal feature.”
“This one is really easy, probably < 10 lines of code, so
can fit into the current sprint.”
“Competitor A is going to announce teleportation. That
can’t be hard to do, so I promised it to a customer.”
1. DEVELOPMENT INTERRUPTS
20w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
RANDOM INTERRUPTS DRAIN
PRODUCTIVITY AND MORALE
21
Your product manager should buffer everything
•  Except P0/system down
How you can help:
•  All developers point all interrupts to
product manager
•  Even (especially) executives
•  Allocate time for collaborative rough-sizing
w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
•  “What problem are we trying to solve? Who’s the
user?”
•  “I’m working on a story, but don’t know where it fits”
•  “This feels like a HOW instead of a WHAT”
2. LACK OF PRODUCT CONTEXT
w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m 22
Your product manager provides why, not just what
•  Problem statements, personas, strategy, context…
You collaborate on solutions and trade-offs
How you can help:
•  Work one issue at a time
•  Trust and working agreements, not legalism
•  Accept reasonable answers (there are no certainties)
WE SOLVE PROBLEMS,
NOT JUST WORK ON TASKS
23w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
Typically symptom of bigger issues
•  Sales or execs overdriving product management
•  Bottom-up prioritization instead of strategy
•  Weak business justification/market analysis
•  Excessive technical
debt
3. UNSTABLE BACKLOG/ROADMAP
24
Product managers “own” roadmap/backlog…
… but need lots of support
How you can help:
•  Don’t make it personal
•  Identify what specific work/feature
will be delayed. What will we push?
•  Jointly plan for likely interrupts
ROADMAPPING IS AN ONGOING
(POLITICAL) PROCESS
25w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
Usually outside Eng direct control
But huge impact on product/company
Eng:PM of 10:1 or 12:1, but not 25:1
What you can do to help:
•  Recognize the symptoms
•  De-personalize the problem
•  Escalate, escalate, escalate: demand
more (or better) product management
4. PRODUCT MANAGEMENT IS MISSING
OR UNDERSTAFFED
26w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
IMHO:	
  
	
  
Development	
  teams	
  should	
  be	
  
rio<ng	
  in	
  the	
  hallways	
  about	
  
underpowered	
  product	
  
management/ownership	
  
	
  
27w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
•  We’re part of the same team
•  Good product management boosts development
productivity, morale and revenue
•  Development pays a huge price for missing/
understaffed product management
•  Your product manager doesn’t expect
a thank-you (but would love one)
TAKEAWAYS
28w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
CONTACT
Rich Mironov, CEO
Mironov Consulting
233 Franklin St, Suite #308
San Francisco, CA 94102
RichMironov	
  
@RichMironov
Rich@Mironov.com	
  
29

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Product Management Is Not Optional (EL-SIG/SVForum)

  • 1. CLICK TO EDIT MASTER TITLE STYLE PRODUCT MANAGEMENT IS NOT OPTIONAL Rich Mironov EL-SIG 21Aug2014 1
  • 2. •  Veteran  product  manager/exec/strategist   •  Business  models,  pricing,  agile   •  Organizing  product  organiza8ons   •  HP,  Tandem,  Sybase,  6  startups     as  “product  guy”  or  CEO   •  The  Art  of  Product  Management     •  First  Product  Camp,  first  agile     product  manager/owner  tracks   ABOUT RICH MIRONOV 2w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
  • 3. •  Product management is about doing the right things. Engineering is about doing things right. •  Prioritization is political and strategic as well as algorithmic •  Symptoms of weak product management •  How Engineering can help AGENDA 3 Product Mgmt ♥︎ Engineering w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
  • 4. •  Delivers market-relevant whole products •  Targets segments, not individual customers •  Protects the plan but listens for surprises •  “Combines technical AND market decisions to drive product revenue and competitive advantage” WHAT DOES A PRODUCT MANAGER DO? 4w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
  • 5. CLICK TO EDIT MASTER TITLE STYLE market information, priorities, requirements, roadmaps, epics, user stories, backlogs, personas, MRDs… product bits strategy, forecasts, commitments, roadmaps, competitive intelligence budgets, staff, targets Field input, Market feedback Segmentation, messages, benefits/features, pricing, qualification, demos… Markets & CustomersDevelopment Marketing & Sales Executives Product Management WHAT DOES A PRODUCT MANAGER DO? 5w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
  • 6. •  Drive* whole product strategy and revenue •  Make* hard trade-offs among complex choices •  Communicate and align around (current) plan * Get the smartest people/ideas into the room * We collaborate but it’s not a democracy * Take personal responsibility for market outcomes HOW PRODUCT MANAGERS ADD VALUE 6 STARTS w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
  • 7. Can fill out paperwork (user stories) all day long… •  But decisions require strategy and market analysis •  Bottom-up story ranking never creates strategy •  Need whole thoughts, coherent/cohesive products, economic justification DELIVERABLES ARE INSUFFICIENT 7w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
  • 8. •  Building the wrong product •  Unnecessary features •  Excessive paperwork or documentation •  Partially done work (WIP) •  Task switching •  Waiting for information •  Defects          -­‐  aIer  Mary  and  Tom  Poppendieck   *My  SWAG   SEVEN WASTES OF SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT 8 •  Building the wrong product (100% waste*) •  Unnecessary features (20-50% waste*) •  Excessive paperwork or documentation •  Partially done work (WIP) •  Task switching •  Waiting for information •  Defects          -­‐  aIer  Mary  and  Tom  Poppendieck   *My  SWAG  w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
  • 9. 9
  • 10. Product manager or product owner? Titles don’t matter. “Person who makes hard trade-offs about what we should BUILD and MARKET/SELL given LIMITED RESOURCES in order to deliver REVENUE” In practice, most product owners work at the scrum/story/ feature level, not the product/portfolio/revenue level RICH’S AGILE BIAS 10w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
  • 11. •  Deep product usage experience •  Huge premium on technical chops, story writing •  No requirement for market-side experience •  No demand for organizational “blocking” skills •  Well aligned with “Internal IT” decision-making style HOW DEVELOPMENT MANAGERS TYPICALLY PICK PRODUCT OWNERS 11
  • 12. “As  a  programmer  who  knows   nothing  about  being  a  technical   product  manager,  what  should  I   learn  before  interviewing  for  /   transi<oning  into  a  technical   product  manager  role?”    -­‐  Real  Quora  ques8on  to  Rich   12
  • 13. "As  a  professional  race  car   driver  who  knows  nothing  about   so@ware,  what  should  I  know   before  interviewing  for  an   enterprise  so@ware  architect   role?"   13w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
  • 14. •  Customer/field demands always far outstrip resources •  Discard 90%+ of requests •  Decisions are semi-quantitative •  Huge error bars on revenue impact, market reactions, development work, support costs •  We must constantly defend product architecture •  People and organizations matters WHY IS PRIORITIZATION HARD? 14w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
  • 15. •  Logic and facts are not enough •  Sales teams get paid for closing individual deals •  HIPPO •  Responsibility without authority •  Keep the process moving PRODUCT MANAGEMENT: INHERENTLY POLITICAL 15w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
  • 16. •  Pulls into product station every day •  From customers, sales, execs, engineers, analysts… •  Delivers hundreds of “good ideas” each day •  One or two might be new and earthshaking •  Always >> engineering capacity GOOD IDEA TRAIN 16
  • 17. CLICK TO EDIT MASTER TITLE STYLE EVAL  /   RESEARCH  /   RANK   FEATURE REQUEST CYCLE 17 SHIP   INPUT   PM   QUICK   SORT   BUILD   Customers   Sales/Prospects   Support   Execs   LeanUX   Analysts   Compe8tors   …   ~95%   ~5%   Size,  impact,   biz  case,     goals,  tech     debt…   “DEEP”   BACKLOG     WIP   TOP  OF   STACK   w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
  • 18. •  Japanese alternatives to “NO” •  Product koan: "Thank you! That's a really interesting idea. Let me put it into the product backlog so we can address it when appropriate." HUMBLY ACCEPTING INPUT 18w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
  • 19. 1.  High interrupt rates 2.  Lack of problem context 3.  Unstable backlog/roadmap 4.  Missing/understaffed product management PRODUCT MANAGEMENT PROBLEMS THAT LOOK LIKE ENG’G PROBLEMS 19w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
  • 20. “Is it done yet? “Who can handle this urgent fix?” “Where in the backlog is my item?” “We need to size another hot-deal feature.” “This one is really easy, probably < 10 lines of code, so can fit into the current sprint.” “Competitor A is going to announce teleportation. That can’t be hard to do, so I promised it to a customer.” 1. DEVELOPMENT INTERRUPTS 20w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
  • 21. RANDOM INTERRUPTS DRAIN PRODUCTIVITY AND MORALE 21 Your product manager should buffer everything •  Except P0/system down How you can help: •  All developers point all interrupts to product manager •  Even (especially) executives •  Allocate time for collaborative rough-sizing w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
  • 22. •  “What problem are we trying to solve? Who’s the user?” •  “I’m working on a story, but don’t know where it fits” •  “This feels like a HOW instead of a WHAT” 2. LACK OF PRODUCT CONTEXT w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m 22
  • 23. Your product manager provides why, not just what •  Problem statements, personas, strategy, context… You collaborate on solutions and trade-offs How you can help: •  Work one issue at a time •  Trust and working agreements, not legalism •  Accept reasonable answers (there are no certainties) WE SOLVE PROBLEMS, NOT JUST WORK ON TASKS 23w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
  • 24. Typically symptom of bigger issues •  Sales or execs overdriving product management •  Bottom-up prioritization instead of strategy •  Weak business justification/market analysis •  Excessive technical debt 3. UNSTABLE BACKLOG/ROADMAP 24
  • 25. Product managers “own” roadmap/backlog… … but need lots of support How you can help: •  Don’t make it personal •  Identify what specific work/feature will be delayed. What will we push? •  Jointly plan for likely interrupts ROADMAPPING IS AN ONGOING (POLITICAL) PROCESS 25w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
  • 26. Usually outside Eng direct control But huge impact on product/company Eng:PM of 10:1 or 12:1, but not 25:1 What you can do to help: •  Recognize the symptoms •  De-personalize the problem •  Escalate, escalate, escalate: demand more (or better) product management 4. PRODUCT MANAGEMENT IS MISSING OR UNDERSTAFFED 26w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
  • 27. IMHO:     Development  teams  should  be   rio<ng  in  the  hallways  about   underpowered  product   management/ownership     27w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
  • 28. •  We’re part of the same team •  Good product management boosts development productivity, morale and revenue •  Development pays a huge price for missing/ understaffed product management •  Your product manager doesn’t expect a thank-you (but would love one) TAKEAWAYS 28w w w . M I R O N O V . c o m
  • 29. CONTACT Rich Mironov, CEO Mironov Consulting 233 Franklin St, Suite #308 San Francisco, CA 94102 RichMironov   @RichMironov Rich@Mironov.com   29