Your daily dose of Product Management Goodness

Getting to ‘no’
Getting to ‘no’

Sales teams often talk about ‘getting to yes’, but for Product Managers I’d argue that getting to ‘no’ is just as important when managing new ideas. In fact, getting to ‘no’ quickly and cleanly is a really useful skill. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen products blown off course by deals being won that created more distraction than dollars – dev teams burning huge resource to try and fit what’s been sold into what’s already been built.

The key to rejection is to act quickly (wait too long and expectation builds) and logically (saying ‘no’ without r...

Getting your message across
Getting your message across

I’m working with a team on messaging this week. I’m struck by how complicated many product managers make their message – I often have to spend an hour trawling through brochures and slides to get any sense of their product and I’m told ‘it’s complicated’ . Think of this from a customer perspective – if your product doesn’t grab their attention immediately then they’ll move on – they’re busy people with a thousand other things to do. To fix this, think of a newspaper article – great content is wasted if there isn’t a compelling headline to draw you in or an image tha...

Customer Domination
Customer Domination

How much of your customers day is consumed with activities that involve your product or service?

Imagine you build a successful product that help shopkeepers manage inventory. A typical train of thought for the Product Manager looking for growth is “Who else has an inventory problem that I can sell to”. This is completely valid, but you could also look for growth by answering a different question “What else keeps shopkeepers busy?”. The downside of this is pretty obvious – you’ll need new products to meet the new needs you identify. But before you discount it, think about the co...

Product Management potential
Product Management potential

Question: How can you spot Product Management potential?

You know the type of scenario – that person who’s doing a great job in support/presales/etc is looking for a move, has no Product Management background, but do they have potential? Here are the six attributes to look for:

Curiosity - Has a natural curiosity for the product and eager to dive into the details (technology, markets, regulation, customers, competitors, etc).

An influencer - Is an Influencing and inspiring individual who is through their charismatic attitude able to drive and lead progress whilst creating a posit...

Lessons from Donald
Lessons from Donald

I’ve been working with a Product Management team, helping them sharpen their product positioning because it was too vague and vanilla – it tried to please everyone and ended up appealing to no-one.. Simple question from the team “who gets this right” got a response they didn’t expect – Donald Trump. Let me explain.

1. Love him or hate him, you know what he stands for. Make America great again, Build a wall…. He has his messaging pillars in place and he sticks with them.

2. He knows who is target audience and he speaks to them and only them .

3. Critically, he knows who i...

What do Product Managers do?
What do Product Managers do?

It’s a question we’ve answered many times before, but this was presented to me last week and I thought it was a great way of simply describing our job. We sit at the interface of customers, technology and our company, and we try to deliver solutions that meet a real customer need whilst addressing both the goals of the business and tech capability. Put simply, we solve market needs while achieving business goals.

Thanks to Willem Bekkers for this - a great product guy.

Launch
Launch

When do you start to launch your solution?

You are delivering a solution not just a product. A lot of companies make the mistake that they are purely building products and as soon as they are ready, then they can release. But the solution is larger than this, it is scaling your delivery and support teams are ready. This includes:

- Consultants prepared

- Marketing campaigns understood. Advocates ready to help with communication, organise your PR

- Sales enablement complete and sales teams trained

- Support Desk trained and the SLA’s (Service Level agreements) and OLA’s (Oper...

Talking the right language
Talking the right language

Ever feel your message isn’t getting through to your customer? It could be that the message is wrong, but often it’s not the message, but the delivery – language that doesn’t resonate with your target market. Here’s a simple example; you want to encourage your children to exercise more. Which statement is more likely to work: ‘ Shall we go for a long ride on our bikes to improve our cardiovascular fitness’ or ‘Let’s see who can get muddiest on the canal path!

’’Simple rule of product management – when you talk to your customers, speak in a way that makes sense to the...

Communicating MVP
Communicating MVP

Communicating MVP – learning from Brexit.

Brexit was miss sold using indefinite data and promises. During the leave campaign, the ‘350 million pound extra a week for the NHS’ was quickly dismissed as the referendum vote had taken place, despite clear proof of this promise.

So as Product Managers, what can we learn from this?

Having a clearly defined MVP (minimum viable product) is crucial to your credibility and success, especially on large scale projects, like Brexit. See the problem is that so many people of political influence promised so many things that the public then exp...

Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong once wrote a book entitled ‘it’s not about the bike’. Turned out there was more truth in that title than we’d imagined, but ‘It’s not about the product’ would be a good product management book title.

Working with a new team today on a go to market plan and they were surprised how much of product management is not about the product. It’s so true. Think about a launch plan - it shines a light on this and shows that to launch well you must have a product, but you also need legals, messaging, sales plans, support, pricing, etc. Great products need lots of round...

The 80:20 Rule of Prod Mgnt
The 80:20 Rule of Prod Mgnt

The 80:20 rule of product management

There’s snow across quite a bit of the uk right now. Not snow like our Scandinavian friends would recognise (we’ve barely enough to build a snowman in most places), but enough to bring our trains and planes to a grinding halt. Across the UK you’ll get a typical reaction. “Why does one centimetre of snow stop our country when many regions have months of more severe weather each year and seem to manage!” The answer lies in that response. If your country has three months of snow each year then you need to invest to manage it. If your country ha...

Tracking Product Success
Tracking Product Success

How do you track product success?

Product Managers need to be able describe if the product they launched was successful, typically in metric form. Simple idea, but difficult to do. Whether you’re an OKR or KPI or SMART fan, it’s important to think in terms of lag and lead. Some metrics lag – think revenue. It’s critical, but if that’s all you quantity then there’s very little action you can take at the point that the metric becomes measurable. Other metrics lead – think pilot customer or launch date. These give an indication that you’re on the right path. Product Managers s...

Disappear or Shift?
Disappear or Shift?

Does your Market Disappear or Shift?

The ‘decline of the high-street’ has been regular news for the what seems like forever. Few weeks go by without another casualty hitting the headlines. Talking with a group who are dealing with this got me thinking - is it market decline or market shift? Take Blockbuster for example, they filed for bankruptcy, blaming a declining market. In reality, their market was larger than ever, it had just shifted towards the online & digital space.

So, what can we learn from this? Sure, some markets disappear, but most shift. And these shifts cause disru...

Product Manager Characteristics
Product Manager Characteristics

What are the characteristics of a good product manager?

It’s a question we face when we’re helping businesses build a product management function. If you’re recruiting experienced Product Managers then you might look for skills – launch skills, research skills, pricing skills, etc. But what about that person sat in support who is looking for a new challenge? They might not have the skills just yet, but do the have the core capability?
Here’s our quick checklist for working out if they have pm potential:

Curiosity – Do they demonstrate intellectual interest? Are they eage...

Releasing a Product
Releasing a Product

How often is too often to release a product?

Working with a team last week, we got to a common agile conundrum; core to the agile process is the concept of frequent, iterative product releases. This is often seen as nothing but positive by many teams “You can release product updates every 7 days!”, but there are many markets where this makes no sense at all. For instance, your customer is a bank and your product has security implications – the iterative agile model simply can’t operate in that world. So is agile the wrong process for these types of products? Not necessarily. The agi...

Importance of Innovators
Importance of Innovators

If, like me, you believe your greatest marketing and sales tool is through advocacy and referral, having others talk about your product, getting them selling the virtues of how your solution will benefit likeminded customers with the same need then you will believe this approach will drive the strongest growth and, if you get it right, a strong bond between you and your customer base going forward.

I have never, over the years, found a greater marketing and sales machine than ‘bought into customers’. The client, through developing a great relationship with you, then progresses to buyin...

Value Curve
Value Curve

Why do customers buy your product?

Working with a team this week to help them position their solution in a complex market. When asking teams why their product wins or loses they often come up with one reason - perhaps a specific product feature or aspect of the service model. Worth remembering that customers rarely buy on one dimension - think about buying a house or a car or some expensive electronics. They are usually a number of factors that drive buyer behaviour. Product managers should always see value through the value curve.

Product Partners
Product Partners

The importance of Product Partners: 4 ways software organisations can increase revenue

For many software companies there is a real challenge in continuing to develop software in keeping pace with changes in the sector. To be successful, you need a business strategy that makes sure you meet the needs of customers in your target market . . . and it’s here where Product Partners play a crucial role.
Product Partners are different to straightforward channel re sellers who include your software in a portfolio of other solutions to sell to their target market. Instead, Product Partners have cr...

Product Mgmt in Tech
Product Mgmt in Tech

Where does Product Management belong in Tech organisations?

As tech companies grow and the nature of technology evolves into the world of SaaS and apps, there’s often confusion around where Product Management should sit in the organisation.
Traditional consumer organisations have had a tendency to consider Product Management in the same arena as Marketing. However, the danger here is when Marketing is actually ‘Marketing Communications’ - it means that no-one is involved in defining and delivering the products.

In a lot of Tech companies, the Product Management function tends to ...

Webinars VS Face to Face
Webinars VS Face to Face

When are webinars actually BETTER than face-to-face meetings?

Now don’t get me wrong, webinars are great.
They are a good way of being able to communicate with lots of people at once and they work around your customer’s needs, they allow them to dip in and out as they please and you can offer webinars during the evenings and weekends when they won’t necessarily be tied up with other commitments.
From a business point of view, it allows you to test your solution or concept within the wider market to multiple people at once from the comfort of your own office, drastically reducing y...

Prod,  Prob or Sol managers?
Prod, Prob or Sol managers?

Product, Problem or Solution managers?
I was in conversation with some sales people yesterday and we got on to one of the regular hot topics - product managers talk too much about product. It can sound a little weird - surely a product manager should talk about the product? But too much product focus is wrong because customers don’t really buy products. Think of it like this; the old saying in sales that ‘people buy from people’ has a product management equivalent. “People don’t buy products they buy solutions to problems”. Help sales team sell by ensuring they have clarity on t...

Customer Centric
Customer Centric

Many organisations would claim to be customer-focused. In truth, to say you’re focused on your customers should really come as standard. Keeping customers happy and giving them the products and services they need is basic business common sense.To be truly successful you need to start being customer-centric – an entirely different approach.

The reasons for being customer-focused are about maximising revenue and this often comes across as a bit self-serving, they look at how they can get more business by creating a product or service that is ‘better’ than the competitors.
Customer-ce...

Concentrate on the footsteps
Concentrate on the footsteps

We’re a couple of weeks into the new year – just long enough for those ambitious plans we had for our product in the new year to start unravelling as the daily grind takes hold. How can Product Managers remain on track when we’re overwhelmed with work? The trick is to divide and conquer – complex, difficult, or overwhelming tasks are made up of many simple and easy steps. So don’t dwell on that huge product launch today to the point it overwhelms, tackle some simple steps that move you a little closer. Concentrate on the next footstep, not the mountain.

Building out a vision
Building out a vision

Building out a vision is tough. Working out how to deliver is even tougher! We’ve built a one page canvas that helps:-

1. Define your three year goals for your product
2. Think of annual initiatives or themes for years 1, 2 and 3 that drive to that goal
3. Break the annual initiative down into quarterly points of value

It breaks a big problem down into smaller, bite sized steps.

Product business case
Product business case

How do you build out a product business case?

It’s a loaded term and everyone seems to have different expectations. So what is a business case?

In simple terms it’d a model to provide justification for undertaking a project or programme. It evaluates the benefit, cost and risk of alternative options and provides a rationale for the preferred solution. Over the next few days we’ll look at the key questioned needed to be answered at each stage of the business case.

Technique 4 of 4
Technique 4 of 4

Finally, we can use surveys to build a quantitative view of our market. These could be online, over the ‘phone or even postal, but we need to be aware that these type of surveys have the greatest potential for causing resentment on the part of those surveyed and can have very low (less than 1%) response rates. Additionally, respondents may not be representative of the market with just the extremes feeling motivated to complete the survey

Technique 3 of 4
Technique 3 of 4

A one-on-one either in face-to-face or virtual form is a great way of conducting market research . People are more willing to respond in more depth, detail and honesty outside of a group dynamic. But focus groups also fall into this category – a group of 6 to 12 people who are brought together by researchers to discuss a particular situation or reactions to a product.
More than any other technique, the researcher can impact the outcome. Individuals can build a view of the researchers opinion and modify their response based on that. For example, if interviewees believe the researcher has ...

Technique 2 of 4
Technique 2 of 4

Observational market research is a technique which involves directly observing consumers or another target audience in their natural environment - for instance, watching how shoppers stop outside a fashion retailer, what they are drawn to in a window display and which direction they go after entering the store. But be aware OBSERVING is not the same as UNDERSTANDING.

Technique 1 of 4
Technique 1 of 4

Experimental market research is a useful refinement and validation technique. Take two market research groups and change one single variable within the 7 P model. For example, the same product is presented, but the price point is changed. We then gauge reaction to this change.

Market Research
Market Research

Market research is a core product management discipline. It helps us build an evidenced-based view of our market, meaning we’re more likely to make the right decisions more often. So what do we mean by market research? There are many techniques/methods we can use but which is the right one? The graphic below summarises the type of market research that is likely to be most effective at each stage of product development from Ideation through to validation. Over the following days we’ll explain each technique.

Core Value of your product?
Core Value of your product?

Can you describe the core value of your product?

Sounds simple, but some product managers struggle to get to a clear, coherent and concise statement. We use a structure, shown here for a nespresso coffee maker – replace the black text with your words and you’ve got a first-pass value proposition statement.

Big versus Small
Big versus Small

How should product management approach a big idea versus a small idea?

The answer is pretty simple; the process remains the same but the depth and detail is different. We assess, define and deliver all ideas, but we might do that work in a day or a week or a month depending on the scale, the effort, and the risk. And the business case? Its scale is appropriate to risk and reward - no management team wants a 100 page document for a trivial upgrade or a single paragraph when they’re taking a huge risk.

Turning vision into action.
Turning vision into action.

Building a vision is great.

But Product managers need to turn that vision into action – work out how to deliver customer value in incremental as we work towards that vision. We use this vision template to help:

1. Describe the core value you plan to offer (your vision)

2. Work out what the annual goal needs to be that help move towards that vision

3. Describe the incremental customer value you deliver each quarter that move towards your annual goal

Building out the roadmap
Building out the roadmap

Carrying on from the attribute map,

Now we have identified our initial product offer we review our second priority persona and ask the question “What additional user stories need to be developed to build product acceptance with this group?” For example, if a user story required the coffee to be delivered at 85 degrees, a build-on story might request that the coffee machine could keep the coffeeheated to 85 degrees for five minutes post brewing.

We repeat this with lower value personas to build out the attribute map, giving us a view of what we need to initially deliver and how we can...

The attribute map
The attribute map

One of the tools we can use to design our MVP and iterations is called an attribute map and we describe our features in terms of user stories. As reminder, a user story is a development requirement that is expressed as follows:

As a
I want to
So that .

This example focuses on the Nespresso coffee machine:
• Our target segment is for personal use in the home environment.

• Our primary persona is a busy working professional.

• And our priority feature is making a cup of coffee in less then 60 seconds.

• The user story reads: As a bu...

Why do we use it?
Why do we use it?

Why do we use it?

Building the final product takes a long time and is expensive and high risk.Rather than trying to be all things to all segments at the outset, we use the MVP approach to help us prioritize our development roadmap.

The MVP approach helps us to:
• Identify our addressable market.
• Identify and prioritize our segments.
• Identify and prioritize our personas in that segment.
• Identify and prioritize our user stories for our personas.

Careful prioritisation means we can manage the capacity of our development team while still meeting the needs of our customer...

MVP
MVP

This week we’re going to explore the minimum viable product, commonly known as the MVP, and how it helps product managers deliver products faster to market with less risk.
MVPs…
• …increase speed to market and generate revenue sooner.
• …reduce risk with a test-and-learn approach.
• …are market and persona-focused.
Eric Ries, author of The Lean Start-up, first used the term, he described it as follows:
“A minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.
...

THE CLOSE step 4
THE CLOSE step 4

And so we approach the end of the presentation. It’s almost identical to the start – restate your major points, what you’d like the team to do next, and thank them for their time.
Nothing guarantees success but using this type of structure irons out a few bumps in the road.

CORE CONTENT Step 3
CORE CONTENT Step 3

Product Managers often present complex content. Imagine presenting a Product Plan at a peer review with a 50 slide deck full of 10 point writing. How do you think your audience would respond?

It’s better to adopt a “less is more” approach. If we take the product plan example, a great way to present it is to build the content into an eight slide deck. Each slide has a heading (the section name) one image (a graph, or picture) and three bullet points. You can then present from it rather than read it.

You’ll get questions as you go, some easy to handle others requiring more thought...

Pick your talking points Step 2
Pick your talking points Step 2

The next major hurdle is the content – what do you want to talk to the team about? We often have complex product ideas to discuss and can quickly get lost as we try and explain them.

So, here’s a simple tip. Pick the three major points you want to talk about and focus on those. It will give your content some structure and direction.

For example, we might say “There’s lots we can talk about around this new product today, but the three major points I want to focus on are:
? Revenue is forecast for $10M by end of year
? New regulation presents a risk
? Two new features promise t...

Start with structure Step 1
Start with structure Step 1

The foundation to a great product plan presentation is structure; your audience want to know some basics. Think about it from their perspective:

? Why am I here?
? How long will I be here?
? What decisions will I need to make?

So tell them!
We can think of that basic structure as a template we use at the start of any presentation.
For example: “The purpose of this presentation is to discuss a new Product Plan.
We need 15 minutes of your time
We’re looking for you to get on board and help us”
Deliver this well and you’re heading in the right direc...

Step 5
Step 5

Forecasting for a new product or service is challenging when we have no historic or foundation data to work from. In our six step process we’ve so far considered:

Step 1 of 6 Find the total available market
Step 2 of 6 Identify key segments to do your research
Step 3 of 6 Understand the life cycle component
Step 4 of 6 Triangulate with qualitative research
The next step is: Step 5 of 6 Underpin with quantitative research

Test your research findings with surveys. Look for proof points and anomalies – feedback that either supports your qualitative research or challenges it. Essen...

Step 4
Step 4

Forecasting for a new product or service is challenging when we have no historic or foundation data to work from. In our six step process we’ve so far considered:

Step 1 of 6 Find the total available market
Step 2 of 6 Identify key segments to do your research
Step 3 of 6 Understand the lifecycle component

The next step is: Step 4 of 6 Triangulate with qualitative research
There’s no substitute for direct market research. Test the proposition with a minimum of three client groups in your target market and also with other relevant stakeholders such as support functions or other pr...

Step 3
Step 3

Forecasting for a new product or service is challenging when we have no historic or foundation data to work from. In our six step process we’ve so far considered:

Step 1 of 6 Find the total available market
Step 2 of 6 Identify key segments to do your research

The next step is: Step 3 of 6 Understand the lifecycle component

Understand where the product or service sits on a lifecycle or adoption curve. This will hugely influence demand. For example, think of the electric car – the Total Available Market is all car owners, but because it’s new and innovative technology, we know...

Step 2
Step 2

Forecasting for a new product or service is challenging when we have no historic or foundation data to work from. In our six step process we’ve so far considered:

Step 1 of 6 Find the total available market

The next step is:

Step 2 of 6 Identify key segments to do your research.

Research is expensive and time consuming. Almost always, it’s better to identify two or three groups within the total available market and focus our research efforts with them. Research group candidates should include groups with the most pressing need for the solution.

Step 1 of 6
Step 1 of 6

How many clients will use a new product or service? It’s a difficult question to answer, but if we can’t put an estimate on product demand then we cannot scale our delivery or support teams. Forecasting for a new product or service is challenging when we have no historic or foundation data to work from. Over the next few days we’ll look at a six step process to help:

Step 1 of 6 Find the total available market

The first step is to work out how many customers could use your product or service – the maximum number of clients across your markets if there was 100% take up (known as ...

Start with the problem
Start with the problem

So many product managers start at the wrong end of ideation- they start with a solution and then look for the market problem. Think about like this; if you were presented with a new product idea right now and were asked if you’d spend your own money developing it, what questions would you ask? Here are my starter questions:

• “What is it?”

• “What problem does it solve?”

• “Who it is solving that problem for?”

• “How is it being solved today?”.

Let’s pause for a moment on those four questions. They’re powerful. Think of products that have failed ...

Technique 6
Technique 6

Technique number 6: TEST MARKETING
And finally, there’s test marketing. The product and its marketing plan are exposed to a carefully chosen sample of the population before its full-scale launch. It’s conducted in real-life buying situations and can last from few weeks to several months. Due to its high cost, however, test marketing is more suitable for fast moving packaged goods

Technique number 5
Technique number 5

Technique number 5: SURVEYS
POSTAL SURVEYS, PHONE INTERVIEWS, INTERNET SURVEYS
Postal, phone and Internet surveys have the greatest potential for causing resentment on the part of those surveyed. And very low (less than 1%) response rates.
Additionally, respondents may not be representative of the market and can misdirect you.

Technique number 4
Technique number 4

Technique number 4: PERSONAL INTERVIEWS

Personal Interview research is a face-to-face meeting. People are more willing to respond in person, but can often tell you what they think you want to hear.

Participants tend to say the first thing that comes to mind or what they think they want. Once you look deeper into it you notice that there’s a lot more that must be uncovered, sometimes what they think they want or why they think they choose a product or service isn’t always the true motivation.

Technique number 3
Technique number 3

Technique number 3: FOCUS GROUP

In focus group research, 6 to 12 people are brought together by researchers to discuss a specific situation or reactions to a product. Questions are asked to the group, who are free to discuss the topics with each other. One key issue is that the research is reliant on the interpretation of group discussion. This can raise questions about observer dependency and validity.

Technique 2
Technique 2

This week we’re running through the techniques for market validation.

Technique 2 - OBSERVATIONAL

In observational research actions of people are watched either by cameras or observers, typically in a natural environment. Using this technique, product managers can see how clients respond to different stimuli and situations. The benefit is that clients are more likely to demonstrate typical behaviour in a natural setting rather than ‘ideal’ behaviour in a simulated or artificial environment. However, what it cannot show is why customers behave in a certain way – their attitudes o...

Technique 1
Technique 1

This week we’ll run through the techniques for market validation. We will describe 6, but feel free to highlight techniques you use

Technique 1 - Experimental

In experimental research, we observe the results of changing one or more marketing variables while keeping certain other variable constant. Are groupings of features. They describe the value that a customer can gain from using the features within a theme.

A theme describes the core value and each feature is a proof point of how that value is being delivered.

Life cycle thinking
Life cycle thinking

Life cyle thinking is something that’s often overlooked by Product Managers. In their rush to launch they neglect to consider how the market will shape and grow. Think about taking a new product to market . Quite naturally, expectations and excitement run high on launch day. But a few weeks later those highs often feel like a distant memory as sales don’t meet projections and the product runs the risk of being perceived as a flop. An understanding of the introductory phase can save lots of heartache!! There are a couple of critical learnings:

1. Most customers wait for others to try ne...

Product Launch
Product Launch

Preparing for market launch is a complex task. Product managers should make this task a little easier with the use of launch checklists. These focus on five main areas:

1) Is the product ready?

2) Does it satisfy a true market need?

3) Are all processes required to support it in place? (e.g. operational support and pricing)

4) Is the market or channel ready to receive the product? These are the sales and marketing teams who are willing and able to handle this product and have an effective delivery plan.

5) Are our customers ready? Do our consumers have all that they need to ...

Level of competition
Level of competition

I was talking to a team who describe their product as having “no competition”. Great news? Perhaps, but think about it like this.

We should think about levels of competition.

1. We might face products similar to ours from competitors that look a lot like us. These are direct competitive threats - think audi vs bmw vs mercedes.

2. Sometimes the competition is less obvious. Its other ways that our customers can solve the problem that we help them solve. These are indirect competitive threats – think car vs plane vs video conferencing

3. Occasionally we see our product having ...

A quick tip on market research
A quick tip on market research

A quick tip on market research.

With all research techniques we should remember that what customers do and say and think is not always consistent. I may LIKE the yellow car. It might be my FAVOURITE colour, but I might BUY the blue car – it stays looking clean, it’s easier to sell, it’s less a risky choice. So remember to ask the same question from many angles and look for consistency:

What is your favourite colour?

Which colour would you choose?

Which will be most popular?

Which colour would your partner choose?

Which colour would you buy?

The Approach
The Approach

Watching paint dry or being presented with an endless list of features that describes everything a product manager is planning to add to their product over the next twelve months. They compete for the title of “Most boring thing I can imagine doing”. From a customer or an internal stakeholder perspective, trying to deduce where the value might be in the list of the 100 features the product manager plans to add is mind-numbing. And the risk? All that hard work from development gets lost as customers simply can’t see the value to them. A better approach is to group features into themes ...

Point of Difference
Point of Difference

What’s your point of difference?
I’m working with a company whose strategy for domination is to build a multitude of similar products so that one of their offers is bound to grab your attention if you are in their market. At first glance, it might seem a strange strategy (vs focusing energies on building one world class product), but with the right infrastructure it can work well – think how the VW Audi group offer a range of cars from the Skoda to the Bugatti with a shared platform approach across many products. The key to making this approach work is two-fold:
1. Each product needs ...

Life cycle Model
Life cycle Model

Got this question from a product manager today “I understand the lifecycle model, but how do I know what stage of the lifecycle my product is at?” Here’s my 50,000 foot view:

You’re in the introductory phase if the majority of your target market has just about heard of your product, and a very small percentage would actually buy “What the hell is an autonomous car?”

You’re in the growth phase if the majority of you target market understands your product and think of it that might be something to consider whilst a significant minority want to buy “I’m going to take a lo...

Presentation Skills
Presentation Skills

Presentation skills; it feels like some have them and some don’t! But for a product manager, being able to present with clarity and conviction is a skill worth working on. Your bright new product idea could fall at the first hurdle if the review team simply don’t understand it or pay enough attention because of how you present. But many product managers fall at the first hurdle – their presentation unravels from slide one as they fail to get the introduction right.

So how should your presentation start? The key is structure; your audience want to know some basics. “Why am I here?...

The perfect PM
The perfect PM

What do you look for in a product manager? We often get asked to assess a potential PM candidate. Outside of their PM knowledge, these are the attributes that I look for:
Communicates powerfully, clearly and credibly
Solves problems and analyses issues
Innovative and entrepreneurial
Inspires
Collaborates and can work I nor drive a team
Builds relationships
Inspires and motivates others to high performance
Disciplined
Focuses on results
Drives for results
Practices self-development
What do you look for in the perfect product manager?

Process
Process

Process. Some Product Managers love it, whilst most of us grudgingly accept it as something we should do . It’s like eating your greens or walking your 10k steps a day. But skip the process and, just like regular exercise or healthy eating, you’ll soon start to find out why it’s important. Without process we introduce randomness – ideas get selected, products get built, and prices get set without clear, consistent and coherent rationale. We end up with an incoherent product set that can confuse our customers. And once a process is broken then everyone feels justified in breaking it a l...

Market Research
Market Research

How do you interpret market research?

I’m currently doing some market research for a new b2b product and trying to answer the most basic question “should we build it” by gathering customer feedback on the problem that the new product solves. So far the feedback has mostly been along the lines of “We’re mildly interested”. So what does that mean? It could mean a number of things (they’re the wrong audience, they don’t understand the problem statement, etc), but fundamentally it means that the research group we’ve spoken to are not going to be knocking our door down to get...

Meeting Customers
Meeting Customers

When did you last meet customers?

I’m amazed how many product managers in the b2b space have no/limited customer contact. Remember, without customer contact you’re doing no more than guessing. Product manager does not need an opinion, they need market gathered evidence.

Find the 3 A.M. problem
Find the 3 A.M. problem

Find the 3 A.M. problem
We work with many teams who want to innovate more – find the next big thing that will propel their business forward. Often these conversations focus on the product “What new shiny thing can we take to market?”. This is not the right place to start. In the B2B world, great products are built on solving real world problems. The bigger the problem, the more motivation there is to fix it. Obvious really, but missed by so many teams on their quest to uncover a winning idea. So, next time you’re looking to innovate, start with this question “What problems are keepi...

What does a product manager do?
What does a product manager do?

What does a product manager do?
Our role can be quite complex and difficult to describe. But if we don’t have a clear purpose then we run the risk of being misplaced in our business (step forward all those product managers who are really sales support or project managers, ....).

Here’s a definition that might help. “Product managers reduce the risk of launching a product flop and increase the success of products in market”. So what does that mean? Well, product failure occurs in every sector. By using a professional pm framework a product manager reduces the risk of a potential pr...

Maintenance vs innovation
Maintenance vs innovation

Maintenance vs innovation
How do product managers balance the needs of their current product versus investing in new ideas? We’re working with a company where about 80% of development effort is directed towards product maintenance, some towards enhancements and the little bit that’s left goes to innovation. The result? A very frustrated senior management team who see a huge spend and nothing new to sell. There can be many reasons behind this (badly architected product, fixed sized dev teams, etc) but it clearly cant be sustained. Our fix? Set a target maintenance spend (say 20%) and a tar...

What is a product
What is a product

What is a product - this question comes up constantly in our world. On the surface this would seem a simple question to deal with , but teams get wrapped in knots as they try to work out what it is that they sell, how they should structure product teams etc.
We think the answer is pretty simple. ‘ A product is any deliverable that provides value (tangle or not) to a target customer group. All products need to be managed, the level of effort being a function of the risk and reward associated with the product’

Product Impact
Product Impact

The impact of getting a product wrong
You can get a product wrong in many ways - badly designed, poorly build, doesn’t solve any specific need, too expensive etc....
We often think of the cost of the mistake in relation to the product - x million in development effort has been wasted, but the cost is much bigger than that. Think of it from a brand perspective. If a company delivers a bad product then customers don’t just reject the product, but they become wary of brand. An example from two brands- Alfa Romeo and Porsche; Alfa have a history of highs and lows. Sometimes they delight,...

Market Research
Market Research

Market research is essential for product managers it centres your business on your consumers and keeps you focused. It allows you to pursue the most lucrative growth opportunities and keeps you relevant and future-oriented it also improves your decision-making capabilities and reduces your risk.

A great example of this Harper Collins found sales of Agatha Christie novels declining.
Quantitative & qualitative research was commissioned, and they found that :
Readers liked “niceness” of the crimes, but covers were gruesome and bloody.

Result: New cover designs commissioned. Sales rose...

Crossing the Chasm
Crossing the Chasm

An article on the bbc this morning described the ‘shockingly’ slow take up of the electric car and how many consumers were unlikely to buy electric for their next purchase. These were my the figures:
- 5.5% of new car purchases are electric.
- 56% of those surveyed were very unlikely to buy an electric car as their next car purchase.

I think they might want to get a copy of ‘crossing the chasm’ in their library. The electric car market is almost textbook adoption model - innovators are in, laggards and late majority need more convincing.

Do you know your customers?
Do you know your customers?

I’m often shocked by how little contact some product managers have with their customers. Think about it for a second - potentially spending huge amounts of money building a product for group of people you’ve never met! I know it’s expensive and time consuming and sometimes difficult, but a product manager who does not regularly meet customers and understands them is really just taking a huge bet at the point of product launch.

Who Does What ?
Who Does What ?

Product owners vs product managers vs product marketing managers!!

We don’t make our life easy in product management - trying to untangle who does what across the multiple job titles we see can be a nightmare.
Here’s my take on it; product marketing managers own markets, product managers own products that serve those markets and product owners own modules that make up those products.

Take the Ford Focus as an example. My model would have a product marketing manager for Ford UK working with the full Ford product set, a product manager for the Ford Focus, another for the Ford Mondeo,...

Discounting
Discounting

Dealing with discounts.

Customers ask for discounts. In the b2b sector it’s pretty unusual for customers not to push the price point down. This is obviously something for sales teams so how does it impact product management?

Firstly, we can help sales teams deal with discount discussions in how we structure the product - a modular approach to pricing means that when a customer asks a £10k solution, we have a £10k product. We can strip out the higher value components and hit the price point with a suitable product offer. But we all know customers often want all the features and the di...

Competition
Competition

Tonight is one of the most important England matches for a very long time. All the way through this competition the team will have been closely looking at their competitors and trying to make sure they understood what they could do to give them the edge and win.

Do you know what your point of difference is with your competitors ?
What do you do differently that gives your product the edge ?

Give this card a try from our 30 Tasks to Improve Product Management card deck.

Communication
Communication

Communication is a vital skill for a product manager. It might be a 5 minute elevator pitch or a full technical review. Either way you need to keep your audience engaged and interested in what you saying. Here are a few tips :

1. Tell the audience why they are there
2. Pick three major points you want to talk about and focus on those.
3. Don't overload your presentation with text and pictures.
4. Keep an eye on time. Use a parking lot to collect points that can be answered later.
5. Don't just deliver dry facts.
6. Deliver with passion.
7. Banish your nerves.

Product Naming
Product Naming

What do think about when naming a product ? There are so many things to consider. Below is an example of BAD product naming. In Iran where this product is made the word "barf" means snow, so ideal for the idea of making your whites nice and bright. However where the product is sold it has a whole other meaning. I don't think anyone wants there clean washing to smell like Barf !

Themed Roadmaps
Themed Roadmaps

A themed roadmap is the perfect framework to manage your product along strategic lines. It enables long term objectives & product deliverables to be realised but can flex to meet shorter term demands or agreed variations on the importance of each product strategy.

Moreover, a Themed Roadmap is a single "view" of product strategies and deliverables that can be used in all discussion with major stakeholders as you seek to gain alignment and agreement on a complex set of future product deliverables.

Product Plan
Product Plan

Are you keeping your product plan up to date?
The product plan is the place that product managers catch all relevant market data. They use it to help direct their product and make evidence based decisions. Contact me if you'd like the latest product plan template from Tarigo.

Product Failure
Product Failure

There is actually a museum of product failure. The purpose however is not to mock those who have failed but to provide visitors a learning experience about the important role of failure for innovation.

Not every product will be a success but we need to look at those failures and learn from them.

How do you innovate and ensure your product success ?

Agile
Agile

Does agile development need agile marketing?

More of a thought for the day - really interested in opinions and how you’re solving this issue....

Over the past few years, agile processes have become the dominant process-type in the development and delivery of technology. Promising a level of agility and customer focus, variants of the core agile method are now commonly used for developing products from gaming apps through to sophisticated medical technology. But whilst product teams have embraced the brave new world of agile, their colleagues in marketing, support, finance and other f...

Is Product Mgmt art or science?
Is Product Mgmt art or science?

Is product management art or science?

I’m helping an organisation build out their product management team. We’ve looked at their needs, built a skills gap canvas and identified what they require in terms of hard skills. Even with all that in place, the stand out skill that I’m always looking for is an ability to balance art and science. You can describe this in a number of ways; creativity and structure, ingenuity and discipline. Great product managers have enough creativity to define a truly compelling proposition and enough structure to get a complex product to launch without droppi...

Managing your manager
Managing your manager

A team I’m working with have an issue with their boss; he is forever coming to them with ‘opportunities’ – ideas and initiatives that might well have merit, but that distract from the current plan and overwhelm the team. Plenty of us have been there, but how can product teams handle this? It’s often impossible just to say “no“ ,and it’s wrong just to blindly accept the ideas and say “yes”, so try saying “why”. For any and every new idea try to quickly validate it with these questions:

• What problem is it solving?

• Who is it solving for?

• How many have...

Product Management & Marketing
Product Management & Marketing

Product Management and Product Marketing

Clarity of the roles and responsibilities across the two disciplines is vital in any organisation.

For many product managers, the role of product marketing may be undertaken by another group or individual in the organisation. It may be considered part of their own role but is often undertaken with lower levels of knowledge & experience.

In some cases, product marketing may not be practiced at all, and a new or improved product "thrown over the wall" to the rest of the organisation and the market!

It is clear to me that the combination of st...

Product narrative
Product narrative

What’s the narrative for your product?

Here’s a quick question. What are Donald Trumps key messages? Love him or hate him, we all know those narratives (make America great again, build a wall, etc). Point is this; brand Trump is very good at building and driving the narrative (again, for clarity I make no opinion on those narratives, other than they’re clear). This makes the Trump proposition clear to the target market. Second question; what’s your product narrative? No narrative and confusion ensues!

Product failure or forecast fail
Product failure or forecast fail

Product failure or forecast failure?
We’re working on a product over the next couple of weeks where the pm believes his product has failed - sales are 10% of forecast. My instinct is that the pm hasn’t taken into account life cycle models, and his disruptive product is simply not being supported by the large market he sees until those innovators (circa 5% of market) buy it, use it, reference it. For new and disruptive products you need success with and innovator before the rest of the market is willing to buy It’s a lesson many teams forget in our impatience to get to the bigger pr...

Product Owner + Manager Team?
Product Owner + Manager Team?

Just off a call with a team working through this issue; how do you structure Product Owners and Product Managers in a team?
It’s a dilemma for many – we often work with teams where there really is not role clarity and often one person is trying to do both jobs. Typically the urgency of Product Owner duties overwhelms the importance of Product Management duties with the net result of very little commercial and strategic thinking taking place – the individual becomes technical, tactical and faces in to the organisation.
Short term this isn’t a problem, but look out over a longer hori...

Reaction to losing a deal
Reaction to losing a deal

How do you react to losing a deal?

I’ll admit that I react badly, but how should a Product Manager really react? After a couple of months of not putting a wrong (we’ve just recorded our best month and will record our best quarter – go team!) we missed a deal. We’ll deal with this using GRIT.

Grieve – In my opinion good losers tend to be infrequent winners so don’t feel bad about feeling bad. Go for a run, beat a punch bag, relax in a hot bath. Whatever your way of dealing with it, give yourself a bit of time to get it out of your system.

Research - Gather as much data as y...

What's in a Name
What's in a Name

What’s in a name.

My kids have recently started requesting biscuits for breakfast. They saw a product called “Breakfast Biscuits” and no amount of talking will convince them that these are plain and simple biscuits. They could be called “Bedtime cookies” or “sports snacks” and they’d still be biscuits. Got me thinking about how important a product name is in giving context and meaning to your audience. Anyone for some cold, dead, wet fish? Thought not, but some of us like Sushi. The name is often the first point of connection with your product or service. Don’t treat it as...

Presenting Product Financials.
Presenting Product Financials.

I’ve just sat through a review of product financials – an hour I’m not going to get back! There was nothing wrong with the data (in this case, a decent P&L), and everything wrong with the presentation. We sat looking at an excel spreadsheet in 8 point font as the presenter walked us through it. The audience was a mix of asleep, confused and grumpy. This is a classic presentation problem; the data is great, the narrative is missing.

My advice? Give the audience the highlights (perhaps ROI, Break Even and total investment), tell them what decision you’re looking for, and then give so...

Market Research Session
Market Research Session

What does a great market research session look like?

I was reminded of this with a team I’m working with. They’re in a B2B market and are conducting early stage research on a new concept. A couple of product managers reported back that their customer visit had gone well. A deeper dive and it was clear that what they really meant was that the customer hadn’t asked any tough questions and so the meeting had been a breeze. This is bad news for the product; interested customers always ask difficult questions (date, price, detail). Think of these as buying signals – if they don’t ask ...

How do you retire a product?
How do you retire a product?

How do you retire a product? It’s easy to dismiss product retirement as unimportant. You’re retiring the product so why worry? Two reasons:

1. Customers - Do it badly and customers aren’t going to be knocking at your door for your next product. You lost their trust.
2. Competition - Get it wrong and you leave the door wide open for competitors to enter and build their position.

Think of retirement as the mirror of market entry - do your research, build your plan, and communicate your position clearly and frequently.

Prod Mgmt is a team sport
Prod Mgmt is a team sport

Product Management is a team sport

The FIFA world cup kicks off today and in a few short weeks one team will be crowned world cup winners. But will the winning team be the best players? Not necessarily. What they will be is the best team; playing in the correct position, working as a unit, understanding their role. I see this in product management way too often; the outstanding product manager ‘played’ in the wrong position (e.g. the launch expert tasked with building an ROI model), the team not knowing who does what in terms of roles and responsibilities, cross-team communication being...

Big vs small business ProdMgmt
Big vs small business ProdMgmt

Big business vs small business Product Management
We train product management in some of the biggest and smallest companies – Last year our biggest client employed over 4,000 people in product roles and our smallest had a product management team of one. So what’s the difference? What does product management look like at these extremes? I’d characterise it like this; DOING VS GLUING. In a big team, the product manager has marketers, pricing experts, launch managers, research teams, etc. Their job is to use those extensive resources to build out the perfect product. They GLUE. In a small ...

Mega Trends
Mega Trends

Mega trends are substantial changes that can impact any aspect of our business. Once upon a time the internet was a potential mega trend, out on the horizon, gathering strength. Some businesses saw it, built or modified their products to accommodate it, and rode the internet wave. Others weren’t so visionary and floundered as the world moved online.

How do we identify mega trends? product managers must constantly look for trends in four broad categories:

· Technology – today we see trends such as A.I or the Internet of Things gathering momentum.

· Social – think of...

Keeping your business case up to
Keeping your business case up to

Product managers understand the need for a business case when they are looking for investment in a new product. It tells stakeholders about customers, markets, competition, and the solution needed to capture those markets. But what about post launch - should the business case be filed and forgotten? The short answer is no – the business case needs to reflect current market conditions to enable good decisions throughout the product lifecycle . Here’s our tip on making this happen; When you launch your product, file a copy of the business case. But also take a second copy and spend a few min...

Differentiate or die
Differentiate or die

Hotel I’m staying at is next to a mall with a full sized funfair - log flume, rollercoaster. The lot!

Got me thinking; high streets often look like ghost towns because they can’t find their point of difference over online retailers. This mall has turned itself into a go-to destination and made shopping a family event. They’ve nailed their point of difference and built something that offers an experience that online shopping can’t touch. So when we hear about the death of the high street we should really see that as the death of the traditional high street. Differentiate or die - a ...

How's 2018 looking so far?
How's 2018 looking so far?

We’re already in June and hopefully you’re in the middle of a great year, tracking to plan. But does your product management team have the right skills to deliver against those business goals you have mapped out over the next sixth months?

We can help keep you on the right track:
1. Build out your market map to turn company vision into actionable product initiatives
2. Map product initiatives to skill needs
3. Assess your team for skills gaps
4. Close those gaps with training

We call this Mind the Gap.

Keeping the vision
Keeping the vision

Today's Product Management lesson comes courtesy of South Pacific. We’re midway through the year and those good intentions form January can seem long gone. Tactics and day-to-day interrupts have diluted your strategic thinking to near zero. Remember this; if you don’t have a product vision there’s every chance you’ll start to drift – engaging in activity that gets you no nearer your goal. Now is a good time to restate that vision and make sure you and your team are at least spending some of the day tracking towards it.

Winning and Losing
Winning and Losing

Winning and losing is part of product management but the way we handle wins and losses can make a difference. Take two extremes:

1. You win a huge new deal and feel unbeatable or.

2. You lose an important deal and feel your product has no hope.

Before opening the Champagne or looking for another job reflect on this; the difference between winning and losing can be wafer thin – one feature, a better reference visit, a slicker sales pitch………. So the product management reaction to winning and losing is not to celebrate or commiserate, but investigate. In simple words FIND OUT ...

Marginal Gain
Marginal Gain

Why Product Managers should sweat the small stuff.
You’re in a market with some fierce and strong competitors. The temptation is to think big “we need a new GUI, we need new features, we need a new product!”. Before going big, think about going small. To win a new deal, you don’t need to be massively ahead of the competition, you need to be marginally better in areas that matter. And being marginally better most of the time turns into market dominance. So step into your customers shoes and think small – what are those little things we could do that might get us across the line first...

Managing a product portfolio
Managing a product portfolio

How do Product Managers make the right investment decisions so that the portfolio is performing well today and will continue to perform well in the future?
We use a dashboard so that Product Managers can make sure the tactical balance is correct (The BCG matrix), the Lifecycle mix is right (ideally we don’t want a portfolio all at the same stage of Lifecycle) , and the fit to longer term strategy is correct (the GE tool)
This gives a balanced view of portfolio

Embedding Training
Embedding Training

At Tarigo we know how important it is to have a holistic view to training . Our training approach is to offer a structure that we believe truly engages the delegates, improves learning outcomes and offering the best opportunity for knowledge transfer. It has three key elements:

? Pre-training preparation
Engaging the delegates so they arrive at training already thinking about product management

? Classroom training
Keeping delegates engaged by making them part of the training

? Post-training reinforcement & continuous improvement
Helping delegates adopt the training and also contin...

Step Ten
Step Ten

Step 10 - How large is the opportunity

This step is where we look at the size of the available market for the product.

"Every Product Manager"

We hope you have found our step through the innovation canvas helpful. we have 10 of the wipe clean boards available FREE to the first 10 people that message.
To get yours email: info@tarigo.co.uk

Step Nine
Step Nine

Step Nine "What are the key risks?"

Every new product idea has risk, but don't get overwhelmed with small issues. What are the big risks that could derail your product - regulation, innovation, etc

" Some people might object to it being a printed piece"

Step Eight
Step Eight

Step eight - What does the opportunity look like three years ahead?

This reaffirms the opportunity has long term potential how will your Product and market develop in 3 years.

"Digital version on iPad and Tablet"

Step Seven
Step Seven

Step seven - Is it a growing market?

Sometimes we take new technology to an existing market, sometimes we build brand new markets for new markets. It's worth understanding if you're in a growth market or not - stage of life cycle will partly define the risk profile for your product - innovation tends to be high risk and high reward.

"Innovation management is a branch of Product Management with significant momentum. We see 65% of customers requesting innovation management as part of their training program"

Step Six
Step Six

Step Six - does it fit with our business model?

Does the idea fit with your sales channel (is it at a price point your channel can support), vision (does it fit with your three year view), and portfolio (does it cannibalise an existing offer). It might be a great product idea, just not for your business

"The innovation canvas is a great extension to our existing canvas suite"

Step Five
Step Five

Step five - who else competes and how are we different?

If there are alternate solutions we need to think what our USP is. Its worth remembering that the difference might be outside the product (service, range, reach, brand, etc) No USP? Price becomes the last point of difference.

"The Innovation Canvas encourages consistency and collaboration. It makes innovation part of the product management process"

Step Four
Step Four

Step four - How is the problem being solved today?

If it really is a problem, your target customer will be trying to solve it. Perhaps in a clunky, expensive, error prone way. If your customer isn't trying to solve the problem today? Ask if the problem is significant to them.

"Mostly in an ad-hoc manner - some ideas just pass through without due diligence, some get lost in email chains, most teams have no mechanism for consistently and coherently responding to new ideas"

Step Three
Step Three

Step three - who does it solve the problem for.

Does it solve for a customer group you already sell to? Targeting new markets is harder and much more expensive.

"it solves for product managers by helping them manage ideas consistently and for other stakeholders by offering a transparent model for idea review"

Step Two
Step Two

Step two - what problem does it solve?

If it doesn’t solve a problem or open an opportunity then where is the value. Think of this from a customer perspective.

”product managers have to handle many ideas from many sources. This tool solves the issue of consistency, transparency, and response-speed for idea management”

Step One
Step One

Over the next few days we’ll look at the innovation canvas - a tool to help product managers assess and qualify new ideas.
Step one - tell us about your new idea. Just a few words that explain it in the language of your target customer.

“ The innovation canvas is a tool that helps product teams assess new ideas in a consistent way. It checks the business rational of the idea”

7 Habits
7 Habits

I hope you've enjoyed the posts about the 7 habits of being an effective product manager. If you want to learn more about this, please join us on one of our Complete Product Management training courses.

Habit 7
Habit 7

Own your product
Product Management is at its best when the product manager owns a go to market proposition, rather than a horizontal piece of technology.
Think of it like this. Being the UK Product Manager for the Ford Focus gives you a real product that you can successfully manage. Being the Product Manager of a global 4 cylinder engine removes that direct customer connection.

Habit 6
Habit 6

Know your market
Let’s not sugar coat this; A product managers opinion is irrelevant. The evidence that they gather from the market they serve is what drives good decision making.
There’s no short cut, product managers must step out of their office and into their customers world on a regular basis if they are to truly know their market and represent its needs.

Habit 5
Habit 5

Get the most out of people
Product Managers have significant responsibility with very little direct authority – we might be measured on a huge revenue stream, but development, sales, marketing and any other team implicated in our product success do not report to us. What that means is that our role is one of influence rather than control. Influence comes from being credible, reliable, clear and consistent. Influential product managers represent the views of their market, and represent them with evidence clarity and consistency.

Habit 4
Habit 4

Communication
Clear communication is a critical product management skill - from presentation to value proposition building, a product manager knows this; If you don’t decide what to say about your product or service, someone else will. Loose control of communication and you loose control of the product.

Habit 3
Habit 3

Work to a process and a plan
Without process all bets are off in terms of what we will deliver. A lack of process means who shouts loudest wins ! We risk delivering products that miss the market need.
Be a process advocate.

Habit 2
Habit 2

-Making Effective Decisions
Hitting the right date window is hard. Give yourself a fighting chance by limiting the communication of lower value features. That way you can descope and deliver on time without delivering below customer expectation.

Habit 1
Habit 1

Stop Firefighting and start strategizing
Product Managers need to balance technical and strategic workload. The risk of just being technical? No long term thinking can mean no long term business. Think Blockbuster, HMV, Kodak. Don’t be the next

Value Proposition Canvas
Value Proposition Canvas

Albert Einstein said that the definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.

This really resonates when some product managers try to describe their product - they struggle to take a complex product and make it understandable.

Can you make your product understandable? Try using this value proposition canvas to make your value statement resonate and be one step closer to a genius product manager!

Bad News and How to Deal With it
Bad News and How to Deal With it

We’ve seen examples recently in the press of companies trying deal with bad news and the damage it can cause to an organisation, brand or product. So how should a product manager deal with bad news about their product?

There are some basic rules to follow that minimise the risk:
Scale it. Work out the size of hole you’re in. Properly understand the issue – the scale, propensity, impacts, etc. You can’t dig your way out of a hole if it keeps getting bigger.
Share it. Be honest about the problem scale. Nothing undermines your credibility more than the constant drip of new informati...

 Who is your customer?
Who is your customer?

As product managers, we often think of our customer as the person or business that uses our product – the end user. But it’s often more complex than that. Reaching that end user often means working with other teams – sales, support, third party resellers, etc. The point is this; If those intermediary teams do not see the value in your product, you’ll never get to the end user. It’s best considered as a value chain – you’re at one end, the end user is at the other. The chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If the sales team don’t understand it or the third party reseller ...

Leading product management
Leading product management

What are the most important tasks for a leader of a product management team? I’d argue that top of the list is setting out a clear direction of travel. A product vision. Think about it; you could build the perfect team with a perfect set of processes and a perfect execution model, but without vision the team will be directionless. A bit like owning the worlds fastest race horse and then forgetting to point it towards the finishing line. At least show your team the finishing line you’re trying to get to!

Is your price right?
Is your price right?

We know that setting a price for a new product in a new market is based upon perceived or actual value, but what about price points when you’re taking upgrades into existing markets? Here’s a five step process to check if your price point makes sense:
Product Name:
1. Target - Write down the target price point
2. Expectation - How does the target price point compare with pricing over the last three years in the market?
3. Difference – What does your product or service offer as a point of difference? Are these differences tangible and valuable to your target market?
4. Brand – ...

What’s your point of difference?
What’s your point of difference?

How do you find a point of difference when your product doesn’t have one? This is a problem in regulated and reseller markets where lack of differentiation can lead to a price war - when no other points of difference exist, customers choose the cheapest. The trick is to look outside the product; think service, support, reputation, range, reach, brand. Truth is customers rarely buy on a single factor. The surrounding eco system really counts. I was reminded of this using Amazon OneClick; the major factor in my buying decision wasn’t price, it was ease of purchase.

The Product Management...

Setting Goals
Setting Goals

It’s great to set your team or yourself a challenge; it can motivate, give focus and generate energy. But if the challenge is too big, unrealistic or just plain unachievable it will have the opposite effect. I was working with a team recently where this happened; team working well, manager sets impossible target, heads drop, team moral plummets. Think of it like this; If we took an average person off the street and set them a fitness challenge of completing a 5 kilometre run in the next 6 months then we might see them being nudged towards fitness. Take that same person and set them a fitne...

Opinions that matter
Opinions that matter

Everyone seems to have an opinion on the products we try to deliver; opinions on features, dates, design, pricing, etc... This can be frustrating. Worse, it can mean that nothing gets done as contrary opinions challenge your plan and slow things down. The key word here is opinion.

How should we deal with this? Evidence. Opinions lose power when evidence shows up.

Protecting your ideas
Protecting your ideas

In 1989 the anti-smoking campaigns were heating up, RJ Reynolds put $325 million into a new product: smokeless cigarettes.

They didn't work, people didn't buy them. After four months they were pulled from the market.
What tools do you use to make sure your Product ideas don't go up in smoke ?

Market Sizing
Market Sizing

A report out today suggests that 30% of us will “never be willing to buy an electric car”. This stat, produced to sway regulators in some way, should never shock a Product Manager. I’m teaching a market sizing masterclass today and this one slide tells us all we need to know. The lifecycle model suggests that when you’re in an innovator market (e.g. the electric car) laggards and late majority are in no way ready to buy and may well not relate to your product at all. So at least 30% will say ‘no’. Just like they would have done to questions such as ‘will you ever own a pc’ or e...

Dealing with obstacles
Dealing with obstacles

Navigating obstacles is a daily part of Product Management – dealing with product issues, pressures from other teams, workload, worrying about product performance…

Some Product Managers become so overwhelmed that they can’t see anything but obstacles. Their performance suffers, their product suffers, they suffer! Here’s a tip from the world of cycling; instead of looking at the obstacles, look beyond them at where you want to go. Look through the trees and around the rocks. By focusing on where you want to go instead of what you want to miss, the obstacles shrink and that good path ...

Are your team ready for the year ahead?
Are your team ready for the year ahead?

There are many skills that make up the complete product manager; market research, requirements definition, launch planning and retiring to name just a few. In fact, the skillset is so broad that finding all those skills in one person is unlikely and training the team across the full skillset is expensive and time consuming. This paper helps to guide you on how best to get your team in great shape for the year ahead.

There are many skills that make up the complete product manager; market research, requirements definition, launch planning and retiring to name just a few. In fact, the skillset is so broad that finding all those skills in one person is unlikely and training the team across the full skillset is expensive and time consuming. This paper helps to guide you on how best to get your team in great shape for the year ahead.

Turning strategy into action with the Market Map
Turning strategy into action with the Market Map

We’ve all seen strategy documents that lay out the grand vision for our business; how we’ll grow and dominate our markets to gain or maintain a leadership position. But once we’ve read them, and had some time to think we’re often left wondering “How does that relate to me and what am I supposed to do with my product to help deliver on the strategic intent?”. This paper looks at a tool that helps build that link and turn corporate strategy into product action.

Managing through the lifecycle
Managing through the lifecycle

Product management and innovation are intimately connected processes that require skilful interventions to maximise returns at every stage.

Product life cycle, Crossing the Chasm, Entering the Tornado, Sustaining and Disruptive innovation theories model steps to be taken as products move from their birth to infancy and ultimately to their maturity. Familiarity with these theories is critical for product management success. The 7Ps of the marketing mix also provides a framework for different actions that can be taken across the life-cycle.

In order to maximise profit, product m...

Product management and innovation are intimately connected processes that require skilful interventions to maximise returns at every stage.

Product life cycle, Crossing the Chasm, Entering the Tornado, Sustaining and Disruptive innovation theories model steps to be taken as products move from their birth to infancy and ultimately to their maturity. Familiarity with these theories is critical for product management success. The 7Ps of the marketing mix also provides a framework for different actions that can be taken across the life-cycle.

In order to maximise profit, product managers need to firstly understand at which stage the market is at. If the product is new for a brand-new market then disruptive innovation and its techniques are required to move through introduction and growth. If the market is already in the growth/majority phases or beyond then sustaining innovation techniques are essential.

In this paper we bring all of this together, providing a straightforward and actionable guide for all companies and product teams.

Themed Roadmaps
Themed Roadmaps

A themed roadmap is the perfect framework to manage your product along strategic lines. It enables long term objectives & product deliverables to be realised but can flex to meet shorter term demands or agreed variations on the importance of each product strategy.

Moreover, a Themed Roadmap is a single "view" of product strategies and deliverables that can be used in all discussion with major stakeholders as you seek to gain alignment and agreement on a complex set of future product deliverables.

The themed roadmap is a major element of the Tarigo Course

A themed roadmap is the perfect framework to manage your product along strategic lines. It enables long term objectives & product deliverables to be realised but can flex to meet shorter term demands or agreed variations on the importance of each product strategy.

Moreover, a Themed Roadmap is a single "view" of product strategies and deliverables that can be used in all discussion with major stakeholders as you seek to gain alignment and agreement on a complex set of future product deliverables.

The themed roadmap is a major element of the Tarigo Course Product Management Leadership

Measure Success with Product Management Metrics
Measure Success with Product Management Metrics

An informative paper introducing and explaining the many metrics that product managers use to measure, monitor and manage product success.



Product Managers work hard to ensure the success of their product, but how do they measure this success?



Based on work with product management professionals, the paper discusses the many metrics that can be used to monitor performance and presents a framework of categories where these metric can be grouped, to enable improved decision making.

An informative paper introducing and explaining the many metrics that product managers use to measure, monitor and manage product success.



Product Managers work hard to ensure the success of their product, but how do they measure this success?



Based on work with product management professionals, the paper discusses the many metrics that can be used to monitor performance and presents a framework of categories where these metric can be grouped, to enable improved decision making.

Introducing the Tarigo Product Management Skills Matrix
Introducing the Tarigo Product Management Skills Matrix

A free tool to help you assess your current levels of knowledge, expertise and skills. Once completed, you can use it to identify personal development plans and build a successful and rewarding career.



The matrix is based on over 20 years work, leading and consulting with product management teams and acquiring a considerable understanding of the knowledge and skills that make up high performing individuals.


Use the Skills Matrix to


  • Rate your competencies against a number of skills relevant to your role as a product manager.

  • Identify your aspirations in...

    A free tool to help you assess your current levels of knowledge, expertise and skills. Once completed, you can use it to identify personal development plans and build a successful and rewarding career.



    The matrix is based on over 20 years work, leading and consulting with product management teams and acquiring a considerable understanding of the knowledge and skills that make up high performing individuals.


    Use the Skills Matrix to


    • Rate your competencies against a number of skills relevant to your role as a product manager.

    • Identify your aspirations in terms of competency targets you want to set yourself.

    • Build a personal development plan.

    • Establish a common skills improvement framework across an entire team.


The Market Map: Strategic Thinking for Product Managers
The Market Map: Strategic Thinking for Product Managers

A tool to set high level strategies in collaboration with senior product stakeholders.

A tool to set high level strategies in collaboration with senior product stakeholders.

Habit 2 Video
Habit 2 Video

The 7 habits of Effective Product Management

Insights Paper 1: Product Management & Marketing
Insights Paper 1: Product Management & Marketing


Insights into how the adoption of an integrated approach to product management and product marketing can benefit the whole of the product life cycle from enhanced market feedback to faster speed-to-market as well as clarity of product messaging from inception through to launch.



Insights into how the adoption of an integrated approach to product management and product marketing can benefit the whole of the product life cycle from enhanced market feedback to faster speed-to-market as well as clarity of product messaging from inception through to launch.


Insights Paper 2: Product Management in an Agile World
Insights Paper 2: Product Management in an Agile World

Using Agile development and delivery methodologies alongside Product Management strategies and objectives requires a clarity on roles & responsibilities as well as a collaborative approach. Ways to achieve a harmonious partnership across both disciplines are discussed in this second Insights paper.