Roman Pichler

OKRs in Product Management

Roman Pichler

OKRs in a Nutshell. OKRs are a method for setting and tracking goals. An objective describes what is to be achieved. The key results state how we accomplish the objective. Let’s say, for example, that the objective is to “increase engagement.”

5 Tips for Saying No to Stakeholders

Roman Pichler

Imagine that you are talking to John, a senior salesperson who’s been involved with the product for a while. John mentions the upcoming product release and says, “You really must add the enhanced reporting feature.

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How Agile Has Changed Product Management

Roman Pichler

Once Upon a Time in Waterfall Land. Before the advent of agile frameworks like Scrum , a product person—the product manager—would typically carry out the market research, compile a market requirements specification, create a business case, put together product roadmap, write a requirements specification, and then hand it off to a project manager. The latter would work with one or more development teams to get the specification implemented.

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The Product Strategy Cycle

Roman Pichler

Enter the Cycle. Traditionally, strategy and execution are often viewed as separate, sequential pieces of work that are carried out by different people. For example, a product manager might determine the product strategy and one or more development teams might be tasked with executing it.

PROJECT TO PRODUCT: Building the Right Thing in the Right Way

Old and out-of-date project management principles are still very much in place in countless organizations. However, organizations are finding the solution to their problems, and the solution is Product Agility. Download this whitepaper to learn more!

A Brief Guide to Product Discovery

Roman Pichler

What is Product Discovery? Product discovery describes the activities required to determine if and why a product should be developed and offered. This increases the chances of creating a product that users actually want and need and achieving product success.

Six Types of “Product” Owners

Roman Pichler

Overview. The term product owner is commonly used to refer to six different product roles in my experience. These are: The original Scrum product owner who owns a product in its entirety and is responsible for maximising the value it creates. A feature owner who manages a major capability with which end users interact like search and navigation on an online retailer’s website. A component owner who owns an architecture building block like the persistence layer.

Stakeholder Management Tips for Product People

Roman Pichler

Lead the Stakeholders—Don’t Please, Don’t Dictate. As the person in charge of the product, your aspiration should be to lead the stakeholders in order to create value together and achieve product success. In reality, however, some product people either aim to please the stakeholders by saying yes to their requests or by brokering compromises. Others do everything they can to make the stakeholders agree to their ideas and plans. But neither of these two approaches is desirable.

Are Feature Teams or Component Teams Right for Your Product?

Roman Pichler

What are Feature and Component Teams? A feature team is a development team that implements end-user functionality end-to-end. Contrast this with a component team. Such a team owns an architecture building block, for example, a layer, a subsystem, or a collection of components or services, as figure 1 illustrates. Figure 1: Feature vs. Component Team. Figure 1 depicts a simple software architecture that consists of three layers: user interface, business logic, and data.

Dealing with Difficult Emotions in Product Management

Roman Pichler

Why Difficult Emotions Matter Particularly for Product People. We may not like difficult emotions like confusion, frustration, anger, envy, sadness, and worry, but we all experience them. This is especially true in times like these, with the Coronavirus pandemic causing many people to be concerned about their health and jobs and the wellbeing of family members and friends. For us product people, however, difficult emotions are particularily relevant.

What is Contextual Analytics? The Next Evolution of Embedded Analytics

Download this white paper to learn what contextual analytics is, how BI platforms like Yellowfin revolutionize the way users discover insights from their data with native contextual analytics, and how it adds value to your software solution by elevating the user experience.

Dealing with Difficult Emotions in Product Management

Roman Pichler

Why Difficult Emotions Matter Particularly for Product People. We may not like difficult emotions like confusion, frustration, anger, envy, sadness, and worry, but we all experience them. This is especially true in times like these, with the Coronavirus pandemic causing many people to be concerned about their health and jobs and the wellbeing of family members and friends. For us product people, however, difficult emotions are particularily relevant.

Should Product Roadmaps Have Dates?

Roman Pichler

What Product Roadmaps Are (in a Nutshell). To start with, let’s briefly recap what a product roadmap is. I view a roadmap as a high-level plan that states specific benefits a product should provide over a certain timeframe, which may range from six to 12 months. I find it helpful to use the product roadmap so that it connects the overall product strategy with the product backlog, as shown in the picture below.

Listen to Understand: Listening Practices for Product People

Roman Pichler

Listen to Understand, not to Answer. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply,” wrote Steve Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s true: We often listen with a specific goal in mind, with the intention to reply, to share our perspective, or to convince the other person. As a consequence, we don’t pay full attention to what the other person is saying or filter what is being said; we only hear what supports our view.

How to Overcome 6 Key Product Leadership Challenges

Roman Pichler

No Transactional Power. Unlike a line manager, you usually don’t manage the development team and stakeholders as the person in charge of the product, and the individuals don’t report to you. You consequently don’t have any transactional power : You cannot tell people what to do; you cannot assign tasks to them; and you are typically not in a position to offer a bonus, pay raise, or other incentives. In other words, you are not their boss. At the same time, you depend on the individuals.

How to Measure DevSecOps Progress and Ensure Success

Speaker: Shannon Lietz, Director of DevSecOps Team, Intuit

The new DevSecOps team is up and running, and you feel ready to take on rising security threats while delivering quality software updates. But that leaves just one question: how do you monitor your new program as effectively and efficiently as possible? Join Shannon Lietz, Director of DevsecOps at Intuit, and award-winning innovator, to learn the answers to these questions so you can lead your DevSecOps team to the top!

How to Overcome 6 Key Product Leadership Challenges

Roman Pichler

No Transactional Power. Unlike a line manager, you usually don’t manage the development team and stakeholders as the person in charge of the product, and the individuals don’t report to you. You consequently don’t have any transactional power : You cannot tell people what to do; you cannot assign tasks to them; and you are typically not in a position to offer a bonus, pay raise, or other incentives. In other words, you are not their boss. At the same time, you depend on the individuals.

Product Ethics

Roman Pichler

What is an Ethical Product? An ethical product is an offering that does not cause any harm, neither to its users nor the planet. [1] 1] The former includes negatively impacting the people’s mental wellbeing, for example, by encouraging addictive behaviour or promoting harmful information. The latter comprises contributing to climate change by developing and providing the product. As product people, it’s our job to ensure that our products are kind —that they are ethical and do not cause any harm.

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Product Ethics

Roman Pichler

What is an Ethical Product? An ethical product is an offering that does not cause any harm, neither to its users nor the planet. [1] 1] The former includes negatively impacting the people’s mental wellbeing, for example, by encouraging addictive behaviour or promoting harmful information. The latter comprises contributing to climate change by developing and providing the product. As product people, it’s our job to ensure that our products are kind —that they are ethical and do not cause any harm.

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Product Roadmap Prioritisation

Roman Pichler

Before You Start Prioritising …. Before you order the roadmap items, double-check that you have a validated product strategy in place. You should be able to confidently say why users would want to use your product and why it is worthwhile for your company to invest in it. In other words, you should have valid answers to the following questions: Which user problem will the product solve, or which benefit will it provide? How will it create value for the business?

Are Your Embedded Analytics DevOps-Friendly?

Does your analytics solution work with your current tech stack and DevOps practices? If not, any update to the analytics could increase deployment complexity and become difficult to maintain. Learn the 5 elements of a DevOps-friendly embedded analytics solution.

Leveraging Software Platforms

Roman Pichler

Be Clear on What a Software Platform Is. Different people have suggested different definitions for the term software platform. Let me briefly share mine: I view such a platform as a collection of software assets that are used by several products, as the following picture illustrates. In the picture above, product A, B, and C are built on the platform and use its assets. To put it differently, the platform serves three different products.

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Technical Debt and Product Success

Roman Pichler

Why Technical Debt Matters for Product People. As the person in charge of the product, you may not be terribly concerned about how clean and well-structured the code is. But the quality of your product matters: It directly impacts your ability to achieve strategic product goals and make your products successful: Technical debt makes it hard to experiment with new ideas, release new features, and quickly respond to user feedback. [1].

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Tips for Growing a Product Management Team

Roman Pichler

Organise Around Products. In order to grow your product management team, start by reviewing your product portfolio. Determine which assets are actual products —value creating vehicles that offer a tangible benefit or address a real problem for a group of people, while at the same time deliver specific business benefits, such as generating revenue directly or indirectly, reducing cost, or increasing brand equity.

Tips for Growing a Product Management Team

Roman Pichler

Organise Around Products. In order to grow your product management team, start by reviewing your product portfolio. Determine which assets are actual products —value creating vehicles that offer a tangible benefit or address a real problem for a group of people, while at the same time deliver specific business benefits, such as generating revenue directly or indirectly, reducing cost, or increasing brand equity.

Digital Trends Report 2020

As part of our goal to continue helping our community during these times, we wanted to share with you this critical data on the state of digital products across industries and provide context on how businesses are responding to the changing winds.

Release Planning Advice

Roman Pichler

What Release Planning Entails and Why It Matters. While release and release planning are common terms, I find that different individuals attribute different meanings to them. I regard a release as a version of a product , for example, Mac OS X Catalina and Windows 10. Releases come in two flavours: major releases, like iOS 13, and minor releases, such as iOS 13.3.

Why Product People Should Care About Business Strategy

Roman Pichler

Business Strategy vs. Product Strategy. A business strategy describes how a company wants to achieve its overall aspiration and create value for its users, employees, and shareholders. It’s distinct from the product strategy : The business strategy states how the company will be successful, whereas the product strategy describes how a product will achieve success, as the following picture illustrates.

Establishing an Effective Product Strategy Process

Roman Pichler

Why a Product Strategy Process Matters. An effective product strategy process should ensure that a valid product strategy and an actionable product roadmap are always available—that a shared and valid approach to achieving product success is available at anytime, as the picture below illustrates. In the picture above, the product strategy describes how a visionary, inspirational goal is attained. It includes the product’s value proposition, market, stand-out features, and business goals.

Sprint Planning Tips for Product Owners

Roman Pichler

Come Prepared. Make sure you carry out the necessary prep work prior to the sprint planning meeting. Be clear on what you want the sprint to achieve, ensure that the product backlog is appropriately refined (or groomed) , and have its high-priority items ready. This is necessary for the following two reasons: First, if you start sprint planning without a properly prepared product backlog, you are likely to perform backlog and planning work in a comparatively short, time-boxed meeting.

Testing at Every Stage of Development

Up to 80% of new products fail. The reality is harsh and the reasons why are endless. Perhaps the new product couldn’t oust a customer favorite. Maybe it looked great but was too hard to use. Or, despite being a superior product, the go-to-market strategy failed. There’s always a risk when building a new product, but you can hedge your bets by understanding exactly what your customers' expectations truly are at every step of the development process.

Collocation, Trust, and Distributed Teams

Roman Pichler

A Tale of Two Products. I once worked with a telco company that was developing a brand-new commercial product. Product management and development were located at separate sites in different countries. But this didn’t seem to matter much as everybody was in great spirits and had high hopes for the new product. What’s more, the product people would occasionally visit the development site, and development group members would travel to product management from time to time.

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Collocation, Trust, and Distributed Teams

Roman Pichler

A Tale of Two Products. I once worked with a telco company that was developing a brand-new commercial product. Product management and development were located at separate sites in different countries. But this didn’t seem to matter much as everybody was in great spirits and had high hopes for the new product. What’s more, the product people would occasionally visit the development site, and development group members would travel to product management from time to time.

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A Strategy Map

Roman Pichler

Maps are the Foundations on which Adventures are Built. When I was a little boy, I truly loved all things pirate. Even as an adult, I very much enjoyed reading pirate books with my children. One of them even came with a separate treasure map that could be unfolded to discover a hidden treasure.

Sustainable Pace in Product Management

Roman Pichler

What is Sustainable Pace? Sustainable pace is an important agile principle. The Agile Manifesto defines it in the following way: “The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.” The goal is to create a healthy work environment and avoid that people are routinely overworked, lose their creativity, make mistakes, and eventually sacrifice their health.

6 Ways to Secure (More Of) a Budget for Your Customer Education Program

Whether you’re looking to kickstart or expand your customer education program, you need access to a budget. Learn how you can demonstrate the positive ROI of customer training and make the case for securing a larger budget in our latest eBook!

Empowering Development Teams

Roman Pichler

Show People that You Care. Empowering development teams starts with taking a sincere interest in the individuals, attentively listening to their ideas and concerns, and empathising with them. This shows that you care and value people’s perspective; it builds trust; and it gives the team members the confidence to step up and take ownership. If people don’t feel safe, they may shy away from accepting additional authority and only do what their job description requires.

Empowering Development Teams

Roman Pichler

How to Reduce the Product Backlog Size

Roman Pichler

Split the Product Backlog. Faced with an overly long and detailed product backlog, investigate if it does describe one cohesive product. Over time, products can serve an increasingly heterogeneous market and provide a large number of different features, some of which may not be used by all users. If that’s the case for your product, then reduce the product backlog size by unbundling one or more features and releasing them as products in their own right, like Facebook did with Messenger in 2014.

Digital Transformation and Product Management

Roman Pichler

Recognise the Importance of Product Management. A digital transformation is a major change program that helps a company succeed in the digital age. Embracing new technologies like machine learning, micro services, big data, and Internet of Things (IoT) is part of that change, as is the introduction of agile practices including cross-functional and self-organising teams, DevOps, Scrum, and Kanban.

The Connected Journey: Developing your Empathy to Strengthen Strategies for Customer Relations

Speaker: Esther Kieft, Delivery Manager (Group Technology) at Domino's Pizza Enterprises

It is well known that empathy is a key ingredient in creating lovable products, yet not all products offer the best customer experience. From meeting stringent deadlines to insufficient resources being available to carry out customer research, there is a range of reasons why customer empathy could be missing in product development. Join Esther Kieft, as she breaks down using empathy at a distance to evaluate the problems that customers are experiencing during this global health crisis.