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Tpma focus issue 13 (3 q2013)(1)


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Q2 2013 Issue (#13) of the Toronto Product Management Association newsletter "TPMA Focus"

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Tpma focus issue 13 (3 q2013)(1)

  1. 1. TPMA FOCUS What is the TPMA? "Creating Insight through Shared Knowledge" Founded in March 2001, the Toronto Product Man- agement Association is a non-profit organization formed to create an en- vironment that facilitates learning, mentoring, & net- working opportunities. Visit: THIS EDITION: Snapshot 2 Mentoring Returns 2 Magic Thinking 3 ProductCamp 2012 4 Product On Pinterest? 5 TPMA Social 2013 7 PM Resilience 9 Blogging 101 10 Book Review Corner 11 CoolTools 12 Issue #13: 3Q 2013 Toronto Product ManagementAssociation KEY DATES: ProductCamp Toronto - Sat, Jul 20th 9:00am - Ryerson, 55 Dundas W Mentoring Program - Early September - Metro Hall, 55 John St. TPMA Meeting (TBA) - Tue, Sep 24th 6:30pm - Metro Hall, 55 John St. Photography: Jörg-Alexander Roth ProductCamp Toronto 2013
  2. 2. TPMA TPMA Mentoring Program 2014! Mentoring has been one of the great successes of the 2013 TPMA sea- son. We started off with a kickoff orien- tation session on December 4th running through to this June. Overall the pro- gram put together 28 teams of mentors and mentees. There were then two fol- lowup conference calls both with the mentors and mentees - to discuss what was working and help out with tips and tricks learned from other mentors/men- tees. To end, a survey is in active circu- lation, to gather input on improving the program for the next iteration in Septem- ber for the 2014 season. Because of the strong response to the 2013 mentoring program, the TPMA ex- ecutive was very encouraged to run an- other program in 2014. Mentors participating in the program ex- pressed the importance of ‘giving back’ to the professional community. Either they wanted to give back - as others had given to them; pay it forward so that the next generation of Product Managers will give their time and experience some- day; or give of their knowledge, to help someone else have an easier time learn- ing and succeeding - even if they did not have such an opportunity in their earlier years. Most mentors in the program felt that this program gave them a sense of reward, by helping someone else with their career development in Product or Marketing Management. Beyond giving back to the profession, most mentors have learned that this is also a great way to expand your own network, question why you do and think a certain way in your own professional life, and form a deeper bond with anoth- er member of your profession. In a super busy career, these are often elements that are easy to bypass, overlook, or just never get a chance to reflect upon. For Mentees, naturally this program provided an opportunity to have some- one with more experience provide their knowledge and guidance, in the career journey. One of the greatest learnings from this program, has been that being a mentee, is a big step, commitment, and a very respectable feat. Being a good mentee, takes time, planning, the tenac- ity to keep trying to make the schedules work, and the resolve to actually find a solution that works for the mentor and mentee. On a personal note, I have gained a new respect for the mentee challenge, and I encourage all mentees to keep up the good work. It takes a certain level of leadership and strength of character to keep the conversation going with the mentor, to continually seek out questions, to have the openness and trust to discuss your questions with a mentor, and to maintain the partnership. If you are considering joining the 2014 program, some of these aspects will be covered in our brief train- ing, and face-to-face orientation pro- gram. As we exit one season and prepare for the next, take a moment to sign-up and participate in the Professional Mentoring 2014 program. I know you are extremely busy. Dozens of people tell me this, with many creative reasons why they cannot partake. The important ones - prioritize, make the time, find a way, and make a difference! “To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world!” Brandi Snyder --- Charles Dimov Twitter: @cdimov SNAPSHOT Charles Dimov President Again we are at the end of a spec- tacular season. This one being perhaps the best yet with speakers on Mobile Commerce, Storytelling in Prod- uct, Gamification, and The 10 Research Secrets; to name just a few. Thanks to all our guest speakers this year, and to the strong participation of our members. Mentoring has been a highlight of 2013. With over 56 participants, there were many good career conversations, new friendships formed, and a stronger com- munity forged among Product Managers. Thank you to the many participants. TPMA’s strength grows with the quality of the programs and the value that you get from participating. Average monthly participation grew to about 50 people per event. Clearly we are on the right track and delivering value. Our commitment, is that the leadership team will stay fo- cused on bringing you the best program we can, for the 2014 season. Remem- bering this is a two way street, and that TPMA is always open to volunteers to actively help out, to make it happen. Finally, a well earned note of thanks to the Executive and occasional volun- teers who pull our events together, and the companies that sponsor the TPMA. Without your effort and support, we just could not make this happen. Warmest Thanks. See you in September!
  3. 3. TPMA Magic Thinking & Zero-Sum Roadmap Recent conversations at several cli- ents highlight an often-repeated set of magical thinking: beliefs by internal clients that development resources are infinite, and beliefs by product managers that prioritization can convince anyone otherwise. Both are wrong, but seduc- tive. The starting point for this conversation is the typical product roadmap: crammed full of prioritized work and heavily nego- tiated with the development team. Almost every optional item has been postponed, and there’s still some risk of delay. This is a product plan with no “white space,” no large chunks of unallo- cated engineering capacity, no slop or slush funds or hidden trea- sure. That gives us Mironov’s Roadmap Theorem #1: you can’t put something new into the current development plan without taking out something of equal or larger size. When stated this plainly, it should be as obvious as the law of gravity. Hand slapped against forehead. Doh! (Agile translation: “this backlog is very deep, already prioritized, and all of the upcoming iterations are strategic. New items can’t jump to the top without push- ing something down that’s more criti- cal.”) But internal customers (Marketing, Sales, Support, Channels, executive staff) al- ways approach this with some form of disbelief or negotiating position or magi- cal thinking: that 10 pounds of develop- ment can fit into a 5 pound iteration. I’ve heard all of these in the last week: “But it’s really important.” “We already promised it to a cus- tomer. (Oops)” “We’ve been talking about this for more than a year (so we *must* have assigned resources).” “Engineering should be more pro- ductive.” “We’ve gone agile (which should give us infinite capacity).” “Your priorities must be wrong.” “How hard could it be? A tiny fix, a few lines of code.” “It’s small enough to fit into one it- eration.” “I’m sure your boss agrees how im- portant this is.” All of these are valid in an emotion- al sense. Many represent good negotiating positions, assum- ing that product management is hiding extra engineering capacity under a basket somewhere. That we assign re- sources based on the most inventive re- quests. That “asking” immediately translates into “getting.” That a convincing argu- ment creates technical re- sources. Would that it were so. See theorem #1 above, t h o u g h . Product managers know that the list of demands is infinite, and the vast major- ity will never be addressed. Here are two kinds of product manage- ment responses: [1] Soft-pedaling the actual situation, avoiding conflict by being polite We often respond to requests with cod- ed language, mush and euphemisms. Instead of clear communication (“there’s no way this will get done in 2010” or “we have decent work-arounds” or “that channel partner doesn’t rate special treatment”), we waffle with: “I need to prioritize that against the plan (and hope you forget it later)” “Let me run that past engineering (who will tell me it’s huge)” “It’s in the backlog (which will take decades to work through)” FYI, our internal counterparts are smart. They figure out if our kissy noises are just air, or if we really mean what we say. Another approach… [2] We keep some overflow engineer- ing capacity for emergencies This looks like a better approach, since surprises and disasters always appear. We can secretly conspire with develop- ment managers to pad schedules, or ex- plicitly set aside 10-15% of engineering time for unplanned items. Seems only prudent. Which brings us to Mironov’s Roadmap Theorem #2: Everyone will find out about your emergency capacity. There are no secrets. In practice, that means all of the above arguments are suddenly very valid. Every sales rep has a strategic ac- count, every unauthorized commitment must be met, and every channel partner has special needs. This puts product managers squarely back into the politi- cal process: deciding which arguments rate serious consideration. Emergency set-asides have the poten- tial to derail your entire product planning process. As “specials” and “one-offs” consume more and more engineering resources, your long-term projects get less attention. (Don’t ever go above 20%.) Your constituents may decide that emergency requests are the only route to satisfaction. If that happens, your roadmap becomes a quarterly CYA exercise. About the Author Rich Mironov is a seasoned software executive and seri- al entrepreneur: the “product guy” at six startups including as CEO and VP Marketing/ Products. With deep technical roots in B2B infrastructure, SaaS and consumer online, Rich combines “what-we-can- build” with “what-markets-want”. He con- sults/speaks/blogs on product strategy, product management, agile and organiz- ing cross-functional organizations. Twitter: @RichMironov
  4. 4. TPMA ProductCamp Toronto 2012 (last year) Photographer: Calum Tsang
  5. 5. TPMA Should My Brand Use Pinterest? Pinterest has experienced explosive growth in recent years. According to AskingCanadiansTM (subsidiary of Del- vinia), 7% of those surveyed say they actively used Pinterest in the past month, which ranks Pinterest as the sixth larg- est social network for Canadians, after the social network big shots - Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ (Source: AskingCanadians March 2012). In contrast, Pinterest was not even on the map when the same survey was conducted by AskingCanadians in 2011. Similar to the days when Facebook and other social networks soared, brands are asking whether they should be on Pinterest and how they should use it. To help product managers and marketers arrive at the right answer, here is some context and a recommended approach. What is Pinterest? Let’s start with level setting what Pin- terest is. Pinterest is an online bulletin board where people can collect and share interesting pictures and videos. Similar to other social networks, people will see content from those they follow and can respond by liking, commenting or ‘repinning’ . In Pinterest’s own words, Pinterest is “a tool for collecting and or- ganizing things you love.” Pinterest has experienced explosive growth in recent years, including in Canada. Why the explosive growth? Delvinia sees a correlation between the rise of rich media (images and video) usage and bandwidth affordability. As bandwidth becomes more affordable in both the PC and mobile environments, people show their natural preference towards image- and video-rich content over text-based content. Hence the simi- lar growth trajectory for other rich media platforms like Instagram. The Pinterest Community Pinterest’s user demographic skews significantly higher in female. Approxi- mately 80% of the community consists of females. Their demographic also skews higher in average age compared to other social networks. The largest age group in Pinterest is the 35-49 age group, followed by the 25-34 age group (source: Nielson, 2012). In translation, Pinterest’s demographic has high buy- ing power and they make most of the household purchase decisions. What is most noteworthy about Pinterest usage is its strong tie to shopping and commerce. To illustrate, 70% of Pinter- est users use Pinterest to get inspira- tion on what to buy compared to 17% for Facebook users (source: Bizrate In- sights, Aug 2012) and 21% of Pinterest users have purchased an item that they found on the site (source: PriceGrabber, March 2012). To provide some context, the most commonly purchased products correlate to the most popular topics on Pinterest with 33% of those purchased being in the food- and cooking category, 32% in fashion/clothing category, fol- lowed by 30% in home decorating and 26% in the crafts category. Should My Brand Use Pinterest? With these perspectives, you can see why Pinterest marketing is compelling. However, whether your brand should use Pinterest or not depends on the situ- ation. Pinterest will fit some brands bet- ter than others. You may find better ven- ues for your business objectives outside of Pinterest. So how does one decide? Delvinia takes a customer centric, fact- based approach to defining the right digital and social strategy. To answer the question of whether a brand should be on Pinterest, start by understanding your customers. The basic questions are: • Does the Pinterest demographic match your target audience or a key customer segment? • Will your client segment(s) be in- terested in engaging your topic through image/video sharing? While the most obvious use of image/ video sharing are topics in the popular Pinterest categories such as food, fash- ion, home décor and craft, there are great opportunities outside of these cat- egories. In fact, brands outside of popu- lar categories have a better chance to stand out given that there’s less clutter. So don’t shut out Pinterest if your brand is not in one of the top Pinterest catego- ries. Think through the above questions. For example, one of the leading brands on Pinterest is Scholastic, a company dedicated to literacy for children and schools. They are not in food, fashion, home décor nor craft. However, their tar- get audience overlaps heavily with the Pinterest users. When considering the second question, “Will your customer be interested in engaging with your topic through image/video sharing?” the an- swer is yes as well. Advancing children’s literacy for parents is a high involvement category. Parents (particularly moms) are interested in learning, sharing and collecting information about advancing (continued on page 6)
  6. 6. TPMA Pinterest for my Brand? (from pg 5) their children`s literacy. Knowing this, Pinterest make sense for Scholastic. On Pinterest, Scholastic offers consider- able literacy content, information about their programs and activities. Their Pin- terest boards range from specific book series (e.g. Magic School Bus), book clubs, writing contests, through to author tours. They have a strong following due to their approach. In addition to good content, they were able to get the level of engagement partly because few in this category are using Pinterest. How Should My Brand Use Pinterest? Once you have determined that Pinter- est makes sense for your brand, you’ll need to define a Pinterest strategy. In defining your Pinterest strategy, keep in mind the content marketing best prac- tice - focus on helping your audience meet their goals and fulfill their interests versus promoting your products. Think about topic(s) you can add value to, while aligning to your brand’s proposition and values. Make sure your topic(s) are broad enough to have sufficient reach. For example, Whole Foods is another leading brand on Pinterest. They have 55 boards with topics ranging from cu- linary art, celebrations, appreciating friends and family through to their phi- lanthropy activities. Their content fo- cuses on audience goals while staying true to their proposition and values in healthy food, quality, customer-centricity, and corporate citizenship. Through such topics, Whole Foods finds opportunities to build awareness about Whole Foods’ value proposition, drive traffic to their site, and build brand affinity. Prototyping and Execution Once the strategy has been defined, it’s time to try it out. Consider the following for Pinterest marketing: 1. Inspiring, quality images Keep in mind the language of Pinter- est is in imagery and a heavy use of Pinterest is to seek and share inspi- rations. So if there’s something you need to invest time and resources in, images are it! 2. Reach out to your existing com- munity Maximize exposure to your boards and pins by making them available through your website(s) and invite those in your existing communities (e.g. Facebook fans, Twitter followers) to follow you on Pinterest. One of the misses Delvinia often see with our clients is not leveraging their brands’ existing resources enough. This is your captured audience and one that is the easiest to convert. The employee community is also one that is often overlooked. Employees are a natural part of your brand’s com- munity and are often the best brand ambassadors. Proactively invite them to follow the brand on Pinterest. 3. Reward your pinners One of the most powerful things about social media marketing is to reach new prospects through their trusted peers. To date, contests are still a tried and true way to initiate engagement. Many top Pinterest marketers find success in such tactics. For example, Whole Foods Market en- gaged their target audience by creat- ing a “Pins for Mom” contest for Moth- er’s Day and received great response adding many followers. Another ex- ample, Starbucks offered followers a chance to win a Verismo System cof- fee machine. It resulted in thousands of entries and new relations for Star- bucks on Pinterest. Another way to reward your pinner is to acknowledge them, provide feed- back and repin their pins. Social media marketing is about a two-way dialogue. Make sure listening and responding is part of your approach. 4. Measure and Learn Finally, measure brand activities in Pinterest. Test different approaches and see which ones get the best re- sponse, then repeat. The Pinterest community is relatively new. While some expectations and etiquette ex- ist, it is still morphing. Keep your ear to the ground by paying attention to the analytics and feedback, and respond accordingly. Happy pinning! About the Author Rosalina Lin-Allen is the Head of Strategy at Delvinia. Delvinia creates digital cus- tomer experiences that de- liver strong business results and owns AskingCanadiansTM , an online research community with 250,000 partic- ipating Canadians. Delvinia consults on digital products. Cli- ents include: RBC, Microsoft, & Rogers. Contact: Delvinia: .
  7. 7. TPMA TPMA Social 2013 Photographer: Charles Dimov
  8. 8. TPMA In a November 2011 Forbes article titled “Think your job is bad, try one of these,” product management was highlighted as the third least liked job. Marketing management was the tenth least liked job. Clearly there is considerable am- biguity, rapid fire change of pace and priorities, and high pressure associated with these roles. With pressures like these - it is easy to see how a cloud of gloom can hang over the product / marketing managers head. In our second of this series addressing positive psychology we look at a proven method to develop and strengthen your own positive career resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity and take on new chal- lenges. It is the flexibility to adapt to your environment, despite facing many obstacles. For instance, you have three deadlines in the same week, each task takes a week to complete, your boss wants the reports she asked for yester- day. You know she is eager to take all the credit for them. Finally the intern you have taken on is consuming an increas- ing amount of your time. Just reading the scenario can give you an eye twitch. Modern reality is that most professionals seem to deal with this on a regular basis. Ever notice how these stressors debili- tate some people while others seem to effortlessly glide through them. Those able to cope exude higher levels of resil- ience. A higher level of resilience means coping better, living a less stressful life, and helps boost your creativity when completing your projects. What makes us more resilient? Is it an innate quality? Is it biologically endowed or can I strengthen my resilience to face my adversities head-on? Fortunately, psychology wins here. Studies show that people who respond well to adversity hold three beliefs that less resilient people do not. These are: commitment, control, and challenge. In other words, resilient people believe that what they do is important (commit- ment), they believe that they influence the outcome of events (control), and Product Mgt: Surviving with Resiliance! About the Author Kristina Dragnea is a Masters candidate in counseling psychology, with the aim of licensing as a psychologist. She is experienced in mind- fulness-based methods of cognitive behavioral therapy and positive psychotherapy. Contact: view difficul- ties as chal- lenges rather than threats (challenge). Recent stud- ies suggest that it is our t h o u g h t s about an ad- versity and not the ac- tual adver- sity itself that causes debil- itating stress. A practical and easy model that helps build resilience is the ABC model developed by Albert Ellis. A. Adversity, or event B. Belief - explanation of why the event occurred C. Consequence - feelings and subsequent behaviours caused by our beliefs. Now let’s put that first scenario into the ABC model: A. Too many deadlines. B. Feeling down for not being able to complete all the work on time, or fear of loosing your job if not accomplished. C. Feeling hopeless from your be- lief leading to a lack of motiva- tion to produce quality work. Or feeling intense anxiety from the thought of losing your job. BUT change your belief and your emo- tional response will change too: A. Too many deadlines. B. Perception that the workload is unrealistic for one person. C. Decide to create a plausible plan to get the job done. Perhaps by delegating tasks to willing team members, working overtime, and assigning the intern all the tedious, but simple tasks. The ABC tool of observing an adversity, then managing your belief and conse- quence feelings/actions - can help you maintain a positive perspective on a challenging professional role. This tool can help discern your automatic / debili- tating thoughts, and with some practice it can help broaden your mental flexibil- ity, to perceive the world more positively. Doing so will strengthen your emotional control, and help reduce impulsive and anxiety related behaviours. Read more: • Seligman, M. (2011) Building Resil- ience. Harvard business review 89.4: 100-106 • Seligman, M. (2006) Learned Opti- mism. Vintage Books. SOFTWARE SCORECARD What’s stopping you from getting Amazing Software out the door? Find out with the Innovation Compelling Design Usability Quality Agility Speed Innovation Compelling Design Usability Quality Agility Speed
  9. 9. TPMA Ihave a niece @Kateswitch who calls herself a sporadic blogger. She writes about gigs and events for online lifestyle magazines. Last summer when I spoke with her about wanting to start my own blog and a social campaign, I explained my motivation was that I was at a point in my career where being known and pub- lished beyond my day job was essential. For me, this is the key point why Prod- uct Managers and Consultants should be blogging. People in senior positions need to promote their reputation in their industry, as well as invest in life-long learning and improvement. Blogging is a cheap and easy way to do both. Why Blog Becoming an Influencer in your industry is something that can be cultivated over time. It is a great networking vehicle for positioning yourself for the next promo- tion, possibly in another company. In the past that was done solely by join- ing associations, doing speaking en- gagements and possibly publishing a book. While these are still great things to Blogging 101: for the Smart Product Mgr do, the Social world has disrupted media industries and it has become less expen- sive and simpler to self-publish. Blog- ging is a great foundation for a personal brand content marketing campaign. Blogging is also a great way to learn and keep current. Often our day-to-day jobs are focused on what is important to the companies we work for right now. Re- searching and writing about your indus- try beyond that defined scope can be a great tool to extend your knowledge. Maybe not for you? The commitment may not fit into your life. Most people have busy work schedules and family life commitments with little spare time left over. A blog takes com- mitment to posting on a regular basis. Since our defined purpose of doing this is to showcase our skills and profession- alism, posting erratically may show us off as the opposite. Typically, I probably spend a 4-8 hours a week on my blog – writing the post, research, promoting it socially, as well as collecting and analys- ing traffic metrics. Maybe you’re just not a writer. We all have different talents and experiences. I liken blogging to be similar to an edito- rial opinion piece. It should be relevant, informative and personable. If this type of writing does not come naturally to you, then it will become a chore. The company you work for may have marketing rules that don’t permit you to do something independently. Not every company is comfortable with this new social world and want to exercise con- trol over content that can be associated with the company. It might be necessary to make it clear that what you are doing is a personal effort, and does not rep- resent your employer. Alternatively you may find a way to contribute to what the marketing department is already doing. Getting Started Create a proper content marketing plan. Recently, I attended a session at Mesh 2013 on Content Marketing given by Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi from the Content Marketing Institute. He gave practical advice on how to form this plan. At the heart was defining a mission to include: 1) your audience; 2) what you are pro- viding; and 3) what they will do with it. Define these three items up front. Use a content management system de- signed for blogging. I use Wordpress. It has a simple CMS edit for creating posts and static pages, as well as free and customizable Web themes. I have cho- sen a responsive theme that adjusts the view for desktop, tablet and mobile. Find efficiencies wherever you can. I use Hootsuite http://www.hootsuite. com to schedule announcements of my content on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google Plus. Since twitter is a roll- ing feed, I do multiple tweets about my content over several weeks at different times of the day and different days of the week. I set up this schedule of tweets the day I publish the post. Identify your own influencers, and to network with them if possible. Growing a list of other people in your industry Product Management Marketing Get a complimentary digital subscription at > the and Authority (continued on page 10)
  10. 10. TPMA About the Author Lori O’Grady @lori_ ogrady, is the author of the weekly blog Demand Accelerator where she posts articles about the business of Apps, So- cial Marketing and Analytics. A project- based consultant, who acts as Project Manager, Product Owner and/or Vendor Manager on online/mobile projects. To hear more, please visit: www.deman- and keeping up on what they are writing about or referencing can make research more efficient. On twitter, you can share tweets of their content. Beyond Blogging Once you have been blogging for some time it is amazing how quickly you form what I like to call a body of work. Looking back at several months’ worth of posts you can see trends of what was popular and see what posts can be a basis for other forms of content. Slideshare ( is an online resource for sharing presenta- tions. Cre- ating pre- sentations can either be a great way to com- pose your points for in an upcom- ing post – or be easy to create from a previously written post. P i n t e r - est (www. pinterest. com) is a great place to publish Infographic Blogging 101 for PM’s(from pg 9) form of the material A body of work can also be the basis for developing a book or e-book. Conclusion It is essential today for Product Manag- ers to develop themselves as Influenc- ers and be known in industry social net- works. Because social has disrupted traditional media, blogging is an inex- pensive and quick vehicle to showcase your skills and experience. Blogging is the foundation of a good content market- ing plan and can lead to other forms of publication. Best of luck blogging! Let me know when your content is published! Pragmatic Alumni Network & Socializer 2013 On Jun 25th 2013, a few intrepid Pragmatic Alumni and devotees got together for a social drink, finger foods, and discussion on the state of Product Man- agement.
  11. 11. About the Author Mario Fernandopulle is a Solutions Manager at B Sharp Technologies. B Sharp develops specialty documentation and com- plex case management solutions across the healthcare, social services, and com- munity care sectors. Contact Mario at As product managers, we’re tasked with authoring content for the mes- saging of our products and solutions in various forms, including web site, bro- chure content, proposals and marketing presentations. In some customer envi- ronments, we encounter complex busi- ness workflows, demanding complex products to meet customer needs. Here, you can be challenged to articulate a meaningful yet concise value proposition of your solution. Most use diagrams and pictures in our content to explain a con- cept or make a point – after all a picture is worth a thousand words. This may in- clude workflow diagrams, value stream maps, UML diagrams, flowcharts, etc. Dan Roam’s book - “The Back of the Napkin” - highlights some best practices on this topic. However, Roam does not simply present best practices of diagramming. His ob- jectives are to demonstrate the concept of visual thinking to provide a framework of visual problem solving in business. Each concept is presented separately with examples using the framework, which then neatly ties together in a sec- tion titled the Visual MBA. In selecting a diagram to model a problem and solution, Roam presents the Visual Thinking Codex, a 6x5 ma- trix of diagram examples. Based on the scenario you are attempting to visu- TPMA Readability:  Content:  Applicability:  Overall:  ally capture, you select an appropriate diagram from the matrix, which serves as a model. The matrix includes exam- ples like simple charts to demonstrate costs and revenues, bubble diagrams for customer maps, flowcharts for work- flows and complex multi-variable plots for business case justification. The first part of the book is aimed at convincing the reader of the value of vi- sual thinking and visual problem solving, particularly for “non-visual learners”. At times, the material seems academic and high-level. However, in the second part – Discovering Ideas - the book moves into high gear. Roam does an excellent job at demonstrating the value of his frameworks to define problem spaces and opportunities. The third part – De- veloping Ideas – is the most compelling part of the book in which Roam presents the concept of the Visual Thinking MBA. Roam presents a case study of a fiction- al software firm that develops enterprise accounting software. Using the Visual Thinking Codex, Roam illustrates with pictures how a manager could convince the company executives to invest in a costly application re-architecture over a much less costly feature enhancement on the current platform. Along the way, many pictures are used to outline cus- tomer purchasing power, user base, de- cision makers, key influencers and the competitive landscape to justify his rec- ommendation. The last section covers selling ideas developed in previous sections. This section is small compared to previous sections, but provides a process for demonstrating and convincing an audi- ence of a solution. As noted by the title, the book presents the concept of visual thinking and prob- lem solving. You will not get details on how to best use a diagram or interaction with a user on social media, or a mobile app. The tools presented are particularly useful for a management consultant (not a surprise considering Roam’s back- ground as a management consultant). In that manner, there is a cross-over to product management functions. As an example, Roam’s Visual MBA example can be extended to the scenario of a product manager presenting a business case for spending money to build a new feature. Given the high level and adapt- able frameworks and examples he pro- vides, you can find a scenario and adapt it to match your current diagramming needs. PM’s Book Review Corner . TPMA Mentoring Program - Take III This season’s mentoring program has been a great success and wound down in June. Thank you to all 56 participants. We hope you learned, set new targets and developed from the experience. TPMA’s third program starts in September 2013 running through to June 2014. To partake as a Mentee, you must be a member, then just express your interest in an email to: email: NOTE: NOT a Job Referral Service!
  12. 12. TPMA COOLTOOLS: GoogleKeep Have you ever heard of Google Keep? It is a fairly new entrant to the ever-grow- ing list of software productivity tools, as well as another nail in the coffin for using all things Google. As it is quite new, the functionality and platform support compared to other productivity tools is quite limited but, if it makes the cut, you can be certain Google will continue to improve upon it. It provides basic note taking, support for pictures or audio recordings, as well as search capabilities. One of my favorite features is the fact that you can use your existing Google login and password, as it becomes an- other option under the ex- isting family of products within the Google Drive section. If you are not using a note taking tool currently, it is a great and simple way to get started. If you have an Android smartphone (4.0+) or Windows Phone, you can install it for free with Google Drive, and start taking simple notes and/or pictures. By the time you get back to your PC or Mac, those items will be avail- able to you as it is a cloud- based application. Its interface is simple and Fees collected through sponsorship help to defer the costs of obtaining exceptional speakers, operating the web site, and building resources and tools for our members. These are activities which in turn attract more members, drive higher activity on the web pages, and increase the exposure for our sponsors. © 2013 Toronto Product Management Association See for details or contact us at to find out about Commercial Sponsorship or Corporate Membership. SPONSORS Charles Dimov President Lee Garrison Secretary Niki Coons Treasurer Allan Neil VP Operations Aldwin Neekon VP Comm. Deepika Mediratta VP Strat.Init. Published: Jul 20, 2013 LEADERSHIP TEAM GoogleKeep on an Android Phone About the Author Peter Ganza helps tech- nology product teams or- ganize the chaos that is Product Marketing & Man- agement through consult- ing. He has over 15 years of experience, and has also been a long standing member, con- tributor and support of the TPMA. effective. Notes can be entered easily, organized with a simple swipe using a dragging motion, and in- clude color-coding. They can also be archived and shared easily through various Google tools, and even sent via Bluetooth or LAN connections. Currently there are only web-based, Android and Windows Phone versions available at this time. iOS and Blackber- ry support are lacking, and it is unclear whether or not Google will continue to develop the tool, and/or add additional platform support or features.