A lot of times product managers take a overly narrow view of prioritization without giving full consideration to the impact of decisions we make. Whether to add another new feature to our backlog – and which one? Is there a new market segment we should explore? Do we need a new vision for our product? For the organization?
In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul catch up with Jeff Lash – Vice President of Product Management Research at Forrester. Too often, Jeff says, stakeholders see the viability of an opportunity but not its feasibility (and vice versa). We take an overly subjective approach to prioritization and lose sight of the vision we set for the product and organization.
Listen in as Jeff describes his approach to prioritization. By applying a more objective standard – in fact, Jeff recommends establishing a prioritization framework – product teams act with confidence guided by a vision and strategy that are both clearly articulated and widely communicated across the organization.
Product managers, he believes, need to be general managers of their “commercially minded enterprise, so we need to act like the business owner, running our products like a business.”
[02:51] Why the product manager role is so misunderstood. Has anyone ever taken the time to explain, “this is what we expect of you.”?
[03:39] Vision and strategy. Do product managers understand that this is part of their role?
[05:11] Balancing the tactical and strategic. It’s about mindset, understanding all the responsibilities.
[07:03] Product management in a remote environment. The more distant you are from your team, the more you need to document and communicate.
[08:40] What’s your horizon? If your vision and strategy hold true for the long term, avoid dramatic shifts.
[10:21] 3 levels of prioritization. Sprint, Release, Organization.
[11:36] Is there such a thing as the perfect formula?
[13:12] Decision making in the absence of strategy and vision. Good luck.
[15:07] Frameworks. Help the process along by making it as objective as possible.
[18:53] The definition of product management.
[20:32] Which personas need your attention most? Understand (and balance) the broad range of user personas as well as buyer personas.
[21:41] Incremental revenue vs. Retention effect. One addresses why people buy, the other why people stay.
[26:30] Guiding principles. Does this feature help one of our guiding principles? If yes, add it to the backlog. If not,.…
[28:44] Fly your banner. Discipline in the face of initial challenges.
[29:29] Decision making is not about yes and no. It’s about understanding the impact of both.
[31:32] Hidden treasures. If you want to find those hidden treasures, the unmet needs, you have to apply different techniques.
[33:10] Citing Margaret Mead. “What people say, what people do, and what people say they will do are entirely different things.”
[35:15] Innovation. How do you take an idea and make it a reality? How do you take an idea and turn it into something that is actually in the market?
Jeff’s Recommended Reading
Blue Ocean Strategy: How To Create Uncontested Market Space And Make Competition Irrelevant, by W. Chan Kim and Rene Mauborgne.
Want more Jeff? Check out his blog, How To Be A Good Product Manager.
Jeff Lash is a recognized thought leader in product management, with 15+ years experience in the development of Web-based products and SaaS. His product management career includes both new product introductions and major turnarounds of existing product lines, as well as introduction of the product management role into organizations.
In his current role as VP, Group Director, Product Management Research at Forrester, Jeff and his team help product management leaders create world-class organizations and elevate the abilities and expertise of their teams to drive measurable and repeatable product success and business growth.