How Handshakes Predict How Fast You Ship

This is a guest post that was originally published by Madhu Punjabi on Medium.

A mathematical insight into how products get shipped.

I love the white board. I mean, I really love the white board. As a Product Manager, I love the part of my job that allows me to dream of a better future (with our product in it, of course) and then watch it all come true.

I always thought that fast growth would mean faster product development. I’ve worked at Google, TellApart, Pinterest, and even did a short stint at Amazon. For the most part, I’ve watched companies at least double in size. You would think that fast growth means faster development. That’s not necessarily the case. In fact, by adding more people to a company, product development can actually slow down and take 2x or 3x as long to get something done. Strange, isn’t it?

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The Myths of Product Management

Myths of Product Management

This is a guest post that was originally published by Christina Wodtke on Medium.

There have been a bunch of articles lately from designers on product management in the Silicon Valley. It’s making me slightly crazy, so I’m going to write a short and sloppy essay from my perspective. I’ve been a designer, a design manager, a startup CEO, a product manager and a GM who managed multidisciplinary teams. I’ve got some insights.

Caveats! I have lived in Palo Alto/San Francisco for over 20 years, and worked at good companies (Yahoo back in the day, Linkedin, Zynga, and more) with really good PMs. So my view is skewed by both place and luck.

#1 Product Management Is a New Thing in Tech.

People, I got into the interwebs in 1995, and software already had PMs. Web design was all shiny and new and half the companies had PMs, half had producers, and many had Project Managers. But by the time we were partying like 1999, everyone around here had Product Managers.

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How I Got Hooked on Product Management

This is a guest post that was originally published by Evgeny Lazarenko on Medium.

“I’m a Product Manager at TradeGecko, an inventory management SaaS company based in Singapore.

This post is a recollection of personal experiences which helped me figure out what I want to do in the foreseeable future, namely Product Management.

You might relate to some parts of it, especially if you’ve just become a product manager yourself, or currently in transition.”

In early 2010 I received Monbukagakusho Scholarship and moved to Tokyo from Moscow. I was a young and naive boy from a post-Communist country who just got out. And I didn’t have a plan. For years I’ve been preparing to leave Russia, and when my dreams came true, I was out of ideas what life to lead from now on.

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19 Lessons I Learned During My First Year as a Product Manager

This is a guest post that was originally published by Manas Saloi on LinkedIn.

2015 was a big year for me professionally. I transitioned from coding to product management. While I’m constantly learning and have a long way to go, I want to share a list of 19 things that I’ve learned last year:

1) Get your priorities straight. The first 30 days at your new job are critical in setting expectations with the management as well as getting familiar with everyone in your team. Start early. Dig in. Create a reputation as someone who gets shit done.

Here is a great article on the topic: 12 Things Product Managers Should Do in Their First 30 Days at a New Company

2) One of the hardest things to accept when you first transition into a product management role is that you will no longer be writing code, creating beautiful UIs, running marketing campaigns or whatever you were doing on a regular basis before making the switch. Your only goal now is to make sure you help your team ship the right product to your users. You are now an owner of the product without any of the stake- holders directly reporting to you. This will mean being a champion for your developers when talking with management (setting timelines), fighting for your marketing team when they need a feature to be shipped which might not be considered a priority by others. Essentially, being the voice of all stakeholders involved with your product/company. Your job now is to remove roadblocks and help people do their job well.

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Does a Product Manager Need an MBA?

Does a Product Manager Need an MBA?

Another age-old question in product management circles is whether PMs should have MBAs. At least today, an MBA can be a double-edged sword when it comes to recruiting for product management roles. In some cases, having an MBA can count against you, especially at startups where technical experience is valued more. In other cases,  companies with teams that have more of a business focus may look specifically for MBAs.

For the majority of cases, an MBA is not a hard requirement for a product manager. There are many product managers that excel at what they do without an MBA background, and there are many more important qualities that PMs should have and continue to develop. However, this post will focus on the potential benefits of an MBA, as well as action steps an aspiring PM can take in business school to make the best use of time and experience.

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Product Management in an Innovation Lab

Product Management in an Innovation Lab

I wanted to switch things up a bit this week and share some of my recent experiences as a PM in an innovation lab. What are innovation labs? These internal labs are typically found in larger companies with more bureaucracy.

The point of the innovation lab is to strip all the process away, explore ideas that aren’t part of the typical product roadmap, and build a working prototype to validate whether that idea works, all in a very short amount of time. Essentially, it’s a larger company’s way to tap into the speed and flexibility that many startups offer and to experiment on ideas that might be risky but potentially have large payoffs for the company down the line.

The point of the innovation lab is to strip all the process away.

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Innovation lab teams are usually much smaller than typical teams at the company, focusing on just the right amount of people with the right amount of skills for the idea and prototype. In my experience this includes a designer (UX or Creative), product manager, and a variety of developers and site architects. The group works in close proximity, oftentimes in the same room or lab, and apart from an initial idea or challenge, everything else is left up to the team to decide in terms of schedule and execution.

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