What Is a Wireframe?

What is a Wireframe?

Wireframes are a huge part of the website or mobile app design process. In layman’s terms, wireframes are essentially the blue prints that communicate the structure of the site or software being built.

“Wireframes are blueprints that communicate the structure of the feature being built.”

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They are created before front-end design or coding begin, and oftentimes are very bare bones in look and feel.

Wireframes focus more on the elements and less on the design. These elements include the following:

  • Information displayed
  • How different modules, buttons, etc. are placed
  • Rules for showing different information
  • How different scenarios affect the display

These examples show that wireframes connect the underlying structure of the product or feature to the surface level – which the user sees and interacts with.

Wireframes typically have the low-fidelity look to intentionally show that the design is not final and is open to discussion among the team. Good interface design comes before the finalized design and coding, and getting this right during the wireframing stage is essential to a good user experience. Continue Reading

Do Product Managers Need a Technical Background?

Do PMs Need a Technical Background

A common thread around product management involves how technical a product manager should be in order to be effective. In this post we’ll describe the two viewpoints to this age-old question and cover steps you can take to develop your technical foundation.

Argument 1: Product Managers Need a Technical Background

The most common thread I see among people who share this viewpoint surprisingly centers around the team itself. The argument is that product managers that are technical can form stronger working relationships with the software engineers. There’s a mutual understanding and respect that’s easier to foster if the PM speaks the same language as the engineers.

In the same vein, product managers that know how to code are better equipped to understand the capability and limitations of the engineering team, and can better plan out requirements without under-utilizing or over-utilizing the team. Continue Reading

Managing a Product

Managing A Product

Recently one of my co-workers shared an excellent article that explains what exactly a product manager does. I think it’s one of the clearest and best articles I’ve read about managing a product, and if any of you are interested or even curious about product management, I’d highly recommend checking out “So you want to manage a product?” on Medium.

I wanted to share some quotes from that article which I personally learned during my time as a PM and include some of my own comments – hopefully it’ll provide more info about an awesome field!

When you begin managing a product that has at least one customer, you quickly learn that your job is much larger than even the fullest-featured product. Your job is to deeply understand the problem that your product aims to solve then chase the moving goal of solving every nuance of that problem. You will always have too many feature requests and too little time. Too many bugs and too little time. There are always things to do. Continue Reading

Top 5 Steps to Ramping Up as a New Product Manager

Top 5 Steps to Ramping Up as a New Product Manager

Like any other job, product management can oftentimes be a very overwhelming experience for any individual joining a new company. When I first transitioned into my first product role, I was completely lost and found myself scrambling to different meetings without proper context of what was going on. As I’ve watched and helped new product managers ramp up in our company, I’ve found that it’s important to take the following 5 steps as a new product manager:

1) Meet Everyone on the Team

Some of the most successful PMs we’ve onboarded have immediately taken the time to introduce themselves and schedule 1 on 1 chats with every member of the team. It’s important not to be over-intrusive here, look for times when team members aren’t swamped to schedule chats and get to know everyone on a personal level. Continue Reading

A Primer to Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD)

Acceptance Test Driven DevelopmentThere are quite a few agile development methodologies that lean companies use today. Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD) is a popular one that I’ve had the most experience in, so I’d like to give a quick primer to what ATDD is, some of its benefits and drawbacks, and a simple test example.

What is ATDD?

ATDD is an agile development methodology that emphasizes close discussion and agreement among developers, product managers, and QA testers about the end product’s specifications, before any coding takes place.

Typically when a product manager presents requirements for a product the developers ask clarifying questions to make sure they understand what is being requested. However it’s quite common that misunderstandings still happen –  depending on how the developers interpreted the requirements and clarifications, the actual end product could turn out very differently from what the PM originally had in mind. Continue Reading

Who Does a Product Manager Work With?

Who Does a Product Manager Work With

The role of a product manager is multi-faceted and product managers often work with many different groups of people in a company. Of course, the extent to which product managers work with other groups depends on individual companies, taking into account factors such as the size of the company or the company’s focus.

In this post I hope to provide an overview of the groups I’ve personally worked with in my projects, based on the UX-Technology-Business organizational framework. I’m a PM at a large e-commerce company, so you’ll see a much more nuanced breakdown of groups compared to smaller companies, as well as e-commerce-specific groups such as site merchandising. Continue Reading