While I’ve previously posted about the requisite “soft-skills” of great Product Managers, in this Part of the series, we’ll explore the functional skill-set required on any given day. These competencies fall into three major categories, which I refer to the “3Ds”, consisting of Direction, Design, and Details. I believe that the Product Manager is ultimately responsible […]


When asked questions like “what does a product manager do” or ” is person X a good product manager”, too many times I answer with the unsatisfying “it depends” response. So here I try to better define the role of product management, by providing a framework, which we’ll explore in this 5-part series. My parents (and likely my colleagues too) have no idea what […]


One critical element on the journey to finding product / market fit, is to get people to use your app — not just to simply sign-up, but to actually perform the key behaviors that drive value in the product. Here I’ll describe a framework to help you brainstorm, organize, and prioritize such initiatives. Understanding activation […]


With a well defined set of needs, arranged into a hierarchy, the task now is to determine which of those are most important to deliver a product that generates customers interest. Prioritizing product development initiatives is often discussed, I’ve even written my share of posts, just as it is heavily studied in the field of marketing […]


Armed with a comprehensive set of customer need statements, your job is to start to organize and make sense of those. This part details how to organize those customer needs into a usable hierarchy, using the KJ Method. After you have performed your research to gather a full set of customer needs the job is to organize […]


Asking customers explicitly to list their needs is often a fruitless exercise. Customers often have difficulty articulating their thoughts and behaviors out of context, and applying it to the problem you are trying to solve (vs what they are). Instead, your approach should be to observe them in action, and interview them individually, and in groups, to deduce a […]


The voice of the customer model provides a detailed framework for efficiently uncovering and understanding your customers’ core needs. This is an invaluable tool as part of your customer development arsenal, en route to finding product / market fit. In this series we evaluate this model in detail. Gathering and analyzing qualitative feedback The material […]


In the pre-product / market fit stage, products can accumulate technical debt very quickly – but knowing what & why to tackle is a challenge. Here are two tools to help identify, mange, and prioritize technical debt by aligning it with customer value. Lean startups rack up technical debt each iteration One of the side-effects […]

I too am underwhelmed by yesterday’s iPad launch, and found it neither “magical”, nor “revolutionary”. I really hoped that leveraging the tablet form factor would actually solve a real problem for me. To me the tablet is begging for a pen-and-paper augmentation application suite…although I’m sure as I’m typing this someone has already developed an […]


When wrestling with finding Product Market fit, via a Minimum Viable Product, (MVP), I constantly find myself referring to an issue I call the Engineer’s Paradox: Engineers want to build for adoption, that is a carefully designed system that accommodates user adoption with the requisite features and performance they require, or else they will risk […]