2013 Product Powers Hall of Fame & Shame

Product Culture

We're now accepting 10-second nominations for the 2013 Product Powers Hall of Fame and Shame. Even if your loved/loathed product or service isn't new this past year, if you discovered it, fell in love with it, or developed a mutual enmity in 2013, nominate it here. What is that, you ask? As before, the goal is to assemble the " top product triumphs and gaffes of the past year as nominated by you. "

Setting Goals: Fall 2013

Product Manager in Heels

Looking forward to Fall 2013! As summer wraps up (sad, I know) I can't help but think of some of the things I am hoping to accomplish over the next few months! I am really looking forward to fall - the weather in New England, football and hockey, school starting, a few trips coming my way, and most of all the end of the year which is always a busy time for product managers planning for the year ahead. This fall, I plan to accomplish a lot, so check out my list below (give me your feedback!)


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Get to the User Goal

Pragmatic Marketing

Agile developers want user stories; product managers want to bring back stories from the market about users. What we really need, however, is to understand user goals. User stories are one of the most misunderstood and misapplied artifacts when implementing Agile development. At first glance, they look like requirements—and it can be very easy for a team to sit in a room and crank out a bunch of them when under the gun to generate work for the next sprint.

Why Write Requirements

Tyner Blain

There is a lot of advice out there for how to write requirements. There is not as much discussion about why to write requirements. Spend some time thinking about why you write requirements before you make decisions about how to write your requirements. Why Write Requirements?

Monetizing Analytics Features: Why Data Visualizations Will Never Be Enough

2013) demonstrated an unmet need in the market for visually stunning dashboards. MONETIZING ANALYTICS FEATURES: Why Data Visualizations. Will Never Be Enough. Go beyond basic embedded dashboards to diferentiate your. application and maximize the value of embedded analytics.

Is Agile Really Cheaper?

Tyner Blain

There are several ways to answer the question “is agile cheaper than waterfall?” ” Here are two of my favorites: “It depends. Agile done well is cheaper, as long as you measure correctly.” ” “You’re asking the wrong question. The right question is: is agile better?” ” How Agile Is NOT Cheaper. The fun thing about relative terms is that you have to do a comparison.

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Process for Prioritising the Product Backlog

All About Product Management

I’ve spent the past year bringing a new product to market, as a consultant Head of Product for a start-up business unit that’s owned by a multi-national. I had the opportunity to pretty much start at the beginning: pulling together the vision, setting up a product council/steering group, talking to users about the initial concepts and shape the overall product direction. After launching V1 of the product I ran a number of prioritisation meetings with key business stakeholders.

The Most Underrated Product Management Skill: Influence Without Authority

Sachin Rekhi

Product managers require a diverse set of skills to excel at their role, including design, technical, analytical, communication, and more. Yet there is one skill that I find is often underrated but critical for the success of a product manager. And that is the skill of influence without authority. Product managers have a unique challenge in that they own the product, yet do not manage any of the people who are directly responsible for executing on the product.

How is SaaS Changing Product Management – A Research Thesis

Tyner Blain

Paddy Barrett in Ireland is preparing his Master’s thesis on Product Management and would like to interview (USA) state-side product managers for his primary research. It would be awesome if you could help him, and help us all. My Connection. I am a visiting lecturer as part of the Dublin Institute of Technology’s Product Management degree program. Paddy was one of my students, and is now pursuing an interesting research topic for his master’s thesis.

How To Build Your Audience Well Before Launching Your Product

Sachin Rekhi

Most entrepreneurs assume that the marketing and audience building phase of their startup begins post product launch. Yet I’ve seen some startups successfully build their audience well before they reach this point. They’ve been able to do this by investing heavily in building out a blog with independent value separate from their product yet designed to attract the target audience that their product will eventually serve. 37signals , SEOmoz , and Mint.com are three such success stories.

Product Management needs to tackle objections before they are raised at steering group meetings.

All About Product Management

As a product manager I need to tackle objections before they arise at the product steering group meeting so that key decisions are made in a timely fashion. The smart product manager will have individually briefed the members of the product council prior to his/her presentation to learn of any issues and resolve them, so he's not caught by surprise."

3 Reasons Better Products Don't Always Win

Sachin Rekhi

One lesson entrepreneurs often learn the hard way is that even if they build a product that is better than the established players in the space, it doesn’t always result in them winning the market. I wanted to highlight the three most common reasons I see this occur and ways to mitigate these challenges. The Cost of Switching. It’s costly for users to switch from their existing solution to a new player’s product and I don’t mean just in terms of any dollars spent on actually switching.

The Product Manager as the Quarterback of the Team

Sachin Rekhi

I usually summarize the role of the product manager as the CEO of their product. But I had a great conversation with a fellow product manager a couple of weeks ago who was telling me what he loved most about being a product manager was being the quarterback of the team. That stuck with me and the more I thought about it I realized it was another great way to describe the role and the key attributes needed to be successful in it. Calls each play.

Mastering Effective Communication as a Product Manager

Sachin Rekhi

Product managers spend much of their time communicating ideas, plans, designs, and tasks to their teams. This includes everything from emails communicating decisions, to presentations communicating product roadmaps, to specs communicating product designs, to bug tickets communicating errors in the product. Mastering effective communication is known to be an accelerant to the dissemination of ideas, to team cohesion, and to even the motivation and inspiration of team members.

The Inputs to a Great Product Roadmap

Sachin Rekhi

I’m often asked how I think about coming up with the product roadmap for an upcoming release. To help answer this, I thought I’d share how my team recently went about thinking through the roadmap for an upcoming product we’re working on. Analysis of existing usage metrics. When you’re innovating on top of an existing product, the best place to start is by conducting an in-depth analysis of the existing usage patterns of your product.

The Art of Decision Making as a Product Manager

Sachin Rekhi

Product managers have to make many decisions every day, including product prioritization decisions, product design decisions, bug triage decisions, and many more. And the process by which a product manager makes such decisions can result either in an extremely well functioning team dynamic or. quite the opposite. When it works well, the team feels as if the best ideas, regardless of where they came from, get implemented. They know their input will get heard.

How a Product Manager Can Listen to Their Users Every Day

Sachin Rekhi

In the ever evolving world of web and mobile products, it’s incredibly important to have a constant pulse on the sentiment, needs, and frustrations of your users. While traditional user research and usability studies are still an important part of the product development process, the web today affords real-time alternatives for getting daily insights into the minds of your users.

How Am I Going To Move My Product Forward Today?

Sachin Rekhi

The role of a product manager is a broad one and there are variety of tasks you could be involved with each day. You could be performing core product responsibilities including conducting a customer interview, triaging incoming bugs, reviewing a new design, authoring a feature spec, brainstorming improvements for your next release, testing the latest release, and more.

Whole Product Game

Tyner Blain

How can Theodore Levitt’s classic Whole Product approach help with defining a product roadmap? I’ve been revisiting his concepts and their use recently, thinking about how to revise them for some exercises I’ve been doing with product teams. Whole Product Game Background. In 1980, Mr. Levitt published his article through the Harvard Business Review – also available for sale as an eDoc through Amazon.

Evaluating a Product Manager's Portfolio

Sachin Rekhi

It's customary in the design world to evaluate a designer's existing portfolio as part of the interview process to get a better understanding of their work and the process they leverage to develop their designs. I find it equally valuable to evaluate a product manager's existing portfolio of products as part of a product management interview.

Presentation: What is Product Management?

Sachin Rekhi

I recently gave this presentation on product management at LinkedIn that I thought was worth sharing more broadly. Product management in my mind boils down to owning the vision, design, and execution of your product. I start the presentation by detailing what it means to own each of these areas of your product and their associated key responsibilities. But to be a truly great product manager you must go beyond excelling at each of these functional responsibilities.

The Boundless Opportunities in Business Productivity Apps

Sachin Rekhi

The modern day business has come a long way in leveraging technology to enable global-scale collaboration, real-time communication, data-driven decision making, and so much more. Business software has been one of the biggest benefactors of all of the recent innovation waves, including cloud computing, big data, and mobile.

How I Learn: By Carefully Studying the Products I Love

Sachin Rekhi

I’m often asked by fellow or aspiring product managers how best to master the craft. They are inevitably looking for classes or books they might read to pick up the basics of product management and product design. While I do point them to some of the best blog posts on the subject , I focus them on learning the craft the same way I do: by carefully studying the products I love.

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The Many Ways YouTube Encourages Content Discovery

Sachin Rekhi

YouTube sets the gold standard on creating an experience built from the ground up to strongly encourage content discovery. I’ve been using YouTube for years and I’ve seen it continue to evolve the variety of approaches used throughout it’s site and mobile app and constantly refine them to drive yet more video views.

How General Elections 2014 will be driven by WeChat app


Understanding Indian Demographics India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. It is expected that, in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years. The number of first time voter in General elections 2014 stands at whopping 149.36 million. Majority of the first-time voters consists of youth considering that 50% of Indians population is below 25 years of age.

Why Sanjay Dutt is celebrated and Shiney Ahuja finished?


They say Love is blind and I do believe so but in a different context. Sanjay Dutt, one of the known Bollywood film actors is in jail but it seems peoples love for him has not changed at all. In fact, it seems it has increased both within the Film fraternity and the audience. Though he has been convicted and hence sentenced, for people that’s minimal.or may be it doesn't matter.

You can also decode DNA sequences, How?


Technology Then and Now We all as a mankind of are very proud of Apollo mission 11 that landed on Moon. Do you know the processing power of the Computer used for the mission is less thanyour smartphone ? The mobile phones and laptop/desktops/tablets we use these days have processing power in GHz. But the devices are hardly running at their peak usage. Research on smartphone usage pattern shows that the Phone is in idle/waiting state for 89% of times.

My Favorite Product Management Tools

Sachin Rekhi

I thought I’d share my top ten favorite tools for helping me accomplish my day-to-day responsibilities as a product manager. These tools fall into three categories: collaboration, user feedback, and analytics. Collaboration. Many of the responsibilities of a product manager involve collaborating, communicating, and coordinating efforts across a team of engineers, designers, product managers, and more. These are the tools I use to most effectively collaborate with the entire team. Asana.

Weekly Digest Emails as an Effective Engagement Mechanic

Sachin Rekhi

I’m a firm believer that despite the growth of social networks and messaging app alternatives, email is far from dead as an important communication channel. Usage continues to grow with Google reporting over 425 million active users on Gmail and Microsoft with over 400 million on Outlook.com. It also remains one of the most effective channels for startups to drive user acquisition, engagement, retention, and monetization.

Top 10 Posts on Product Management from the Industry's Best

Sachin Rekhi

I thought I'd follow up my recent post on What is Product Management? with a summary of ten of the most informative and inspiring posts I've come across on the role from some of the greatest product leaders in the industry. I consider these must reads for any product manager looking to understand different perspectives on product and excel in their career in product management. Good Product Manager, Bad Product Manager - Ben Horowitz.

How Training programs increase Workforce Attrition


The Training Programs Training programs are one of the most important Human empowerment endeavor of an organization that emphasizes and is focused on Employee Development and Delivering Quality. Its no rocket science to realize that if you are not up to date, you are actually out of date and so rotten and useless. Strategic and Focused training programs keep us all up to date, fit and fresh to carry on with our jobs and delivery quality results.

Can Innovation be Forced?


If you look at the Google Trends for Key Words, Innovation has been steadily topping the charts. Another search on the books, publications dealing with the topic of Innovation and you get 54,400,000 results. This shows that Innovation is probably one of the most used and probably the most mystic word for corporates and individuals. Everybody wants to be innovative, every company wants to be tagged as Innovative.

Making Connected a Successful Acquisition

Sachin Rekhi

Last week we announced the launch of LinkedIn Contacts , a smarter way to stay in touch with your most important relationships, based on the acquisition of Ada and I’s startup Connected by LinkedIn. The launch received positive feedback not only for being a better way to manage your professional relationships, but equally for being a successful acquisition story. I received the following note from a fellow entrepreneur and many like it: “Congrats on the launch of LinkedIn Contacts!

Lessons Learned from Connected

Sachin Rekhi

As it’s been over a year since the acquisition of Connected by LinkedIn , I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on the most important lessons I learned as a founder of Connected. Connected has been by far the most rewarding, successful, and fun startup adventure I’ve had to date, full of experiences I hope to repeat as well as mistakes that I hope to avoid in the future. The importance of complementary skills amongst founders.

What is Product Management?

Sachin Rekhi

The role of product management in technology firms is a critically important one that is often misunderstood. I’ve done product management at Microsoft, LinkedIn, and various startups, though my product management experience during my years at Microsoft (where it’s called program management) were the most formative and I continue to leverage those lessons to this day, especially when advising new product managers on how to think about their role and where they should be focusing their time.

The Best Startups Minimize Their Dimensions of Innovation

Sachin Rekhi

The best startups choose a main dimension or two of innovation and invest significant effort to truly differentiate themselves from the rest of the market along that dimension. At the same time, they leverage existing best practices along other potential dimensions of innovation and choose not to reinvent in those aspects of their business. This enables them to take smart risks by focusing on what they can dedicate the needed resources to win.

Connect between Steve Jobs and the Law of Conversation of Time


For my Mid-term performance review. I took 3 days to prepare the write-up going down the memory lanes, searching through old mails; and my boss allocated only 10 min time to look at the performance, review and take a decision. I thought what the heck, is my 3 days effort equivalent to only 10 min of my boss? This thought forced me to think more about this puzzle and the result is this post… The Puzzle about Time… Lets take another, a more relevant and common scenario.