Posts written by Mara

Mastering the Product Retrospective

Author’s note:  This is an update of a post from 2009. A regularly scheduled product retrospective is an important part of the product manager’s job. A product retrospective is similar to any other Agile retrospective, but focuses on product performance instead of team performance. In an… Continue reading

Leadership: When to Speak, When to Be Silent

Great product managers know when they should speak up and when they shouldn’t – a key leadership skill that comes with long experience.  But if you don’t have the long experience, how do you develop this skill? Verbal Leadership – The Right Time to Speak… Continue reading

Gaining Credibility with Executives

In the circle of influence, what is your proximity to key executives or managers?  Do you have daily contact and/or rapport?  Or is your proximity infrequent, rare or non-existent?  If you struggle from a credibility gap, consider paying attention to the language that executives use. … Continue reading

Motivating the Cross-Functional Team

Probably the best and the worst things about cross-functional teams are that they’re … cross functional. They’re great because you get all those functional experts working together to make your product more successful.  But the bad news is that each person on your team already… Continue reading

All Hail, the Product Info Binder

Is your popularity killing you? As a product manager, a great deal of your value resides in your customer, market and product knowledge, and so people should be seeking you out.  But if you find yourself fielding a lot of time-consuming and repetitive information  requests,… Continue reading

Recipe for a Perfect Product Manager

If you could go to the pantry and gather ingredients for the perfect Product Manager, what would they be? Readers of last month’s newsletter gave us their secret recipe: Preheat oven to 98.6 degrees. Marinate the Determination in the Realism while you prepare the other… Continue reading

How Agile Is Your Product Team?

Last month’s Input survey asked about Agile or Lean adoption in your product development or IT team, and we can see that many  organizations are still struggling with adoption. About a third of the respondents are reaping the benefits of Agile or Lean for most or all initiatives.  As one… Continue reading

Business Cases: Avoid These Common Traps

With an economy that’s shifting toward expansion, many of us will have opportunities to propose new business cases in the coming months.  If you’re working on one now, or will be soon, be sure to avoid these common mistakes that can cause your business case to… Continue reading

When the strategy is a mystery

A colleague recently voiced frustration that their divisional strategy is far from clear, yet they are accountable for following it and delivering results against it.  Does this problem sound familiar? Here are a few good ways to cope: 1. Look for “breadcrumb trails” – Find a… Continue reading

Using Metrics to Manage the Growth Stage

Measuring product success throughout the product life cycle is a fundamental skill for product managers in any size or type of organization.  But many struggle with identifying the “right set” – does it include only product-specific reporting, or should broader company goals be included?  Here’s… Continue reading