For my readers in the US, I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday and didn’t over indulge in good food, college, and professional sports. I’ve come to think that next to the last couple weeks of March, the week of Thanksgiving is my favorite week because there is a ton of good college basketball and college football to watch.
For my readers outside of the US, I hope you had a productive week where you weren’t getting bothered by us pesky Americans, apart from the avalanche of “Black Friday” or Cyber Monday” sales.
As we approach December, I’ve begun a short stint working with some product people and the teams they work with. As a result, I’ll be taking a break from producing original content, but I’ll still share resources from other product people.
As I get settled into my new gig I thought I’d share some resources to help product people get a better understanding of helpful techniques, what they should and should not do, and why they should focus on outcome.
A Handy Guide for Coaching Product Owners
If you need some thought starters to fill in the product ownership challenges, Sam Liang and Karen Greaves from Growing Agile compiled a list of twelve areas for improvement that product owners often run into. They then identified workshops that they used to help with those twelve areas.
In my own interactions with product owners, I’ve run across those twelve as well as a couple others.
Product Owner Resources and References
When I spoke at GOAT2017 last week, I had the honor of being introduced by Mark Levison. We had a great chat during the course of the day and following. During the conversation, he clued me in on a list of product owner resources that he maintains on his website.
It’s a great collection of resources that he continues to maintain. There are several resources I was already aware of and several that I didn’t but are very useful.
Internal Product Management – Is it a Thing?
Joshua Arnold recently explored the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the Internal Product Management concept. As someone who has championed the idea of business analysts and product owners applying product management approaches for “products” intended for internal use, this post peaked my interest.
I agree with a lot of what Joshua has to say in the post. The reasons he expresses as good are a lot of the reasons that I suggest that it’s a good idea to take a product outlook.
He’s also correct about the danger that comes from losing sight of an organization’s real customers.
The key is when you work on systems, applications, assets, products, etc that enable your organization to deliver value to your organization’s ultimate customers, it’s important to keep them in mind as well as the people who use that thing.
5 Ways the Product Owner Role is Different in a Consulting Environment
Far Reach, a software development and marketing firm in Cedar Falls Iowa (I have to show my home state pride when I get a chance) took a look at product ownership from the perspective of a consulting firm. Specifically, the post explores the case where the consulting firm has their own product owner in addition to the designated client contact (who should also act as a product owner).
This situation is a special instance of the Fraternal Twin or Triplet Product Ownership models that I describe in Product Ownership In the Wild where the line between business and product development represents corporate boundaries.
I’ve been in a situation similar to this on the client side and find that the five points in the post are important and good for consulting firms to consider.
3 Types of Product Management
What product managers, and product people in general do can be answered with that favorite of all consultant answers – “it depends”. Daniel Demetri suggests that there are three types of product management (user-first, business-first, technology-first) based primarily on what might be missing in the rest of the organization.
What good product managers do, and where to find them, varies greatly depending on your product strategy, which itself is subject to change over time. Despite all of their differences, good product managers somewhat amorphously bridge the gaps that exist between other functional areas working toward a product’s success.
What Jobs Are Your Customers Trying to Get Done?
One of the podcasts I listen to on a regular basis is This is Product Management from Alpha. At the start of this year, the podcast featured Karen Dillon, Contributing Editor of Harvard Business Review and co-author of Competing Against Luck. During the episode Karen discussed how understanding your customer’s’ job to be done can help your product teams make better decisions.
I’ve found that jobs to be done provides a nice theoretical underpinning for the idea that we should focus on outcomes when building products – instead of obsessing about output.
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Talk to you next week,
Kent J. McDonald