PM Hardcore

Storytelling For Product Managers – The TL;DR Version

PM Hardcore

In my last article , I covered a powerful storytelling technique in great detail. This article is the summary (the TL;DR ) version. Do you hem and haw when asked talk about one of your accomplishments? Do you stick to a “just the facts, ma’am” approach when telling a story?

How To Say “No” To A Feature Request

PM Hardcore

No (picture credit at the bottom). Sometimes No Is The Right Answer. Can you talk to me about a time when you had to say no to a customer? Why did you have to say no? How did you handle it?

People Don’t Buy Capabilities, They Buy Knowledge

PM Hardcore

This guy might have too much knowledge. Knowledge is power. Most of our tools and applications deliver capabilities, but users and buyers are always hoping that what they’re buying is knowledge. Knowledge of how to do the job.

3 Simple Steps To Make Your Customer Stories 10x Better

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How To Accelerate Sales With Great Storytelling. In my articles about go to market , I always mention the importance of “customer stories.”

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Build vs. Buy: Implementing the Right Experimentation Solution

Choosing Whether to Build or Buy. To build and deliver products that customers love, product teams at leading enterprises such as Uber, Netflix and Airbnb are focusing on experimentation as a critical business process. These teams are empowered to A/B test each new feature and gain valuable insights before rolling it out widely. After seeing what these companies accomplish with experimentation, you may be considering whether to build your own testing framework, integrate an open source solution, or invest in a commercial experimentation platform like Optimizely Full Stack. Download this whitepaper to discover: The key questions product teams must ask before choosing to build or buy. The most common requirements that enterprise teams have for experimentation. How to avoid key mistakes and plan for success when building an internal system.

The Secrets of Highly Successful Products: The Sales Discovery Call

PM Hardcore

When the sales team has the right product knowledge, they will be much more successful. Which means they sell a lot more of your product. This starts from the first call with the prospect. If a sales person asks the wrong questions during that first call….

Demo 141

“Compact, Immediately Useful, and Enough Depth” – The First Review

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It’s exciting to see the first review of The Secret Product Manager Handbook !

Get People Talking! How To Use Open-Ended Questions For Market Discovery

PM Hardcore

In my last post I talked about the importance of “talking to customers.” ” In that post I focused especially on what you do with the market discovery knowledge you get from customers once you found it. The “product management system of record,” I called it.).

How To Talk To Your Executives About Agile

PM Hardcore

People have asked me “How can I get my execs to support an agile transformation? They don’t like that they can’t predict anything.”. Reframe the Agile conversation around value. Orient the conversation around value, not around methodologies. Picture credit below).

Agile 172

Getting Started with Product Experimentation

How Product Development Teams Reduce Guesswork and Innovate Faster. Product development teams are embracing iterative release processes such as agile and continuous delivery to mitigate risk and adapt to evolving customer requirements. This trend is enabling teams to be more productive and increase product quality. But how do you know if you are building the right product or feature? Experimentation can help your team prove whether you are building the right product and eliminate uncertainty and guesswork from your software development process. Download this whitepaper to learn: How experimentation fits in with the agile development process. Best practices for integrating experimentation into your release process. Key considerations when buying an experimentation solution. Ways to optimize performance and ensure security and compliance.

Mental Models for Product Managers – Part 2

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Brain Wiring (by Wellcome Images, CC licensed). In part 1 I introduced mental models and some reasons they are important. And I provided a few “general purpose” examples. In this part we dive into what you really came here for – product management-specific mental models.

A Better Approach To Demoing Can Turn Sales Around

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A Sales Demo Challenge. At one of my previous companies our new logo sales – that is, new customers – were tanking. The account reps were not hitting quota on new logos. The sales engineers felt this was due to a large degree to our “story” on agile.

Demo 153

To 10x Your Profits Start With Retrospectives

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20% is boring. As many of you know, there’s a technique called a “ retrospective ” in scrum, or you might call it a debrief. After each sprint the team spends a short amount of time reviewing what went well, what could be improved, and what they should stop doing.

Agile 163

Visiting Customers? What?

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Nothing Important Happens In The Office. We product managers are always told that we need to spend a lot of time with customers, and with the market, to create successful products. This advice, while good, is not actionable. It’s vague and aspirational.

A New Focus On Product Management Opportunity

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Looking through to the next stage. A long work in progress. This blog has been going for a long long time. It started as a site to share ideas and lessons I’ve learned in my career as a product manager for enterprise software products. Recently a bigger theme has started to emerge and coalesce.

Drive Quality and Velocity with Feature Flags

Drive Quality and Velocity with Feature Flags. Launching a new feature is a risky proposition. Even the most well designed and researched features can have unforeseen consequences for your application performance and business metrics. Rolling back a poor performing feature can be time consuming and costly. However, it doesn’t have to be. Implement feature management and experimentation in your development lifecycle to reduce risk and prove impact when launching features. Download this whitepaper to learn: How to ship products faster with higher quality. The best way to launch features with less risk and more control. How to prove the impact of every feature release with experimentation.

Announcing The Secret Product Manager Handbook

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I’m excited to announce The Secret Product Manager Handbook is available for pre-order ! When I started in product management, there were no classes, books, or online resources for product managers. I always wanted the “secret handbook” – so I wrote it.

This New Template Helps You Write Better Product Requirements

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“Communication” by Joan M. See below for image credit. Effective Communication is Challenging. Product managers tell me – and the people managing product managers tell me – that one of their biggest challenges is communicating with the development team.

Should You Be A Product Manager?

PM Hardcore

Have you built something? Have you led a team? Product management is a hot, hot profession right now. It’s one of the most important roles in a product company , especially in high tech. But is it right for you?

Get People Talking! How To Use Open-Ended Questions For Market Discovery

PM Hardcore

In my last post I talked about the importance of “talking to customers.” ” In that post I focused especially on what you do with the market discovery knowledge you get from customers once you found it. The “product management system of record,” I called it.).

A Guide to Designing Delightful Dashboards

Speaker: Daniel O'Sullivan, Product Designer, nCino and Jeff Hudock, Senior Product Manager, nCino

We’ve all seen the increasing industry trend of artificial intelligence and big data analytics. In a world of information overload, it's more important than ever to have a dashboard that provides data that's not only interesting but actually relevant and timely. Dashboards assist decision makers facilitate new ideas and business opportunities, increase customer approval rates, and analyze current business process. All of these activities play a vital role in providing the superior experience your customers demand.

Writing For Product Managers: Readability Is More Persuasive

PM Hardcore

In my Writing Tips for Product Managers post I suggested making your writing more readable. I mentioned a tool I use called Hemingway. It has both a Mac app and an online version. In this post I’m going to show how I use Hemingway. (In

This New Template Helps You Write Better Product Requirements

PM Hardcore

“Communication” by Joan M. See below for image credit. Effective Communication is Challenging. Product managers tell me – and the people managing product managers tell me – that one of their biggest challenges is communicating with the development team.

Hello Product Managers!

PM Hardcore

​​Empathy is very important! You have to be willing and able to put yourself in the shoes of your customers.

The Value Inequality – The Real Meaning Of “Customer Value”

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Cost Plus Pricing = No Good. You must balance value versus (multiple) costs to determine price. (By By Hans Splinter, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)). People sometimes ask me “how should I price my product?” so I Googled it. I found a LOT of blog posts about pricing.

Turning Metrics into Dollars: How to Turn Your Analytics Data into a Real Financial Model for your Startup

Speaker: Tristan Kromer, Lean Agile Coach, Kromatic

Some teams struggle to constantly optimize conversion rates without understanding the financial impact of those conversion rates. Sometimes that 0.1% increase isn't worth the engineering time we're spending! Early stage startups in particular may not need a four year business plan, but they need to start building out a model which will show how they can someday be profitable. At the very least, they need to be able to see the impact of a change in retention rates to their user growth.

How Are You Going to Fix Onboarding?

PM Hardcore

You have a team of engineers and a three month runway – how are you going to fix onboarding? That’s a question I actually got in a product management job interview a while ago. My answer was, “that’s a really good question but I have no way of answering yet.”. Operating room or aspirin?

Visiting Customers? What?

PM Hardcore

Nothing Important Happens In The Office. We product managers are always told that we need to spend a lot of time with customers, and with the market, to create successful products. This advice, while good, is not actionable. It’s vague and aspirational.

This Framework Gives You Product Management Super Powers

PM Hardcore

Breakthrough! The Secret Product Management Framework. Finally writing down the Secret Product Management Framework was a revelation for me. It put all the activities I do as a product manager into perspective. We find and validate market problems for which customers will pay for a solution.

Should You Be A Product Manager?

PM Hardcore

Have you built something? Have you led a team? Product management is a hot, hot profession right now. It’s one of the most important roles in a product company , especially in high tech. But is it right for you?

The Top 5 Most Common Rapid Prototyping Mistakes

Speaker: Teresa Torres, Product Discovery Coach, Product Talk

When you think of "rapid prototyping", what comes to mind? If you work in digital products, you might think wireframes and mockups as a quick way to get user feedback on our designs. Rapid prototyping is quickly becoming ubiquitous, and with good reason. It is a powerful tool for thinking through different aspects of your product and answering questions to all sorts of design questions. They're also a great way to externalize what lessons you learn about your product along the way.

10 Writing Tips For Product Managers

PM Hardcore

Tips for writing. (CC CC BY-SA 2.0 by jvleis). I’ve started working on an online course on “writing for product managers.” It will come out in the next few months. In the process, useful tips about writing keep popping up.

What Will Product Management Be Like In 5 Years?

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The future is hard to tease out, but here’s what will happen in product management’s future. (CC CC 2.0 by PunkToad). Earlier this year Janna Bastow of ProdPad put out a call for opinions on the future of product management. I quickly responded then.

How To Say “No” To A Feature Request

PM Hardcore

No (picture credit at the bottom). Sometimes No Is The Right Answer. Can you talk to me about a time when you had to say no to a customer? Why did you have to say no? How did you handle it?

How To Say “No” To A Feature Request

PM Hardcore

No (picture credit at the bottom). Sometimes No Is The Right Answer. Can you talk to me about a time when you had to say no to a customer? Why did you have to say no? How did you handle it?

Maybe We Should Be Problem Managers Instead

Speaker: Steve Johnson, Founder and CEO, Under10 Playbook

Yet many product managers and most product owners are too busy with tactical issues that they never come close to addressing these issues. Is product management primarily supporting the tactics of other departments? Or is it a strategic role that is grounded in market facts? Personal experience with customers is the source of product management insights. Product managers need to look beyond UX to the entire customer experience through every step of the product life cycle.

A Better Approach To Demoing Can Turn Sales Around

PM Hardcore

A Sales Demo Challenge. At one of my previous companies our new logo sales – that is, new customers – were tanking. The account reps were not hitting quota on new logos. The sales engineers felt this was due to a large degree to our “story” on agile.

Demo 130

A Better Approach To Demoing Can Turn Sales Around

PM Hardcore

A Sales Demo Challenge. At one of my previous companies our new logo sales – that is, new customers – were tanking. The account reps were not hitting quota on new logos. The sales engineers felt this was due to a large degree to our “story” on agile.

Demo 130

How Are You Going to Fix Onboarding?

PM Hardcore

You have a team of engineers and a three month runway – how are you going to fix onboarding? That’s a question I actually got in a product management job interview a while ago. My answer was, “that’s a really good question but I have no way of answering yet.”. Operating room or aspirin?

How Are You Going to Fix Onboarding?

PM Hardcore

You have a team of engineers and a three month runway – how are you going to fix onboarding? That’s a question I actually got in a product management job interview a while ago. My answer was, “that’s a really good question but I have no way of answering yet.”. Operating room or aspirin?

Interpreting your Qualitative & Quantitative Data through Storyboarding

Speaker: Tristan Kromer, Lean Coach, Kromatic

Storyboarding is a simple way to integrate Qualitative and Quantitative perspectives into a complete picture of how the user experience impacts the business model. Qualitative vs. Quantitative is an argument that shouldn't happen. Both are necessary to have a complete understanding of where the desirability of the product meets the viability of the business.