Getting Tactical: the experiment design studio

Giff Constable lean, product management

If you are trying to get your team to think more creatively in terms of experiments, this exercise might be useful. Why? When it comes to creating new products (or even features), experiments help you make more informed decisions. Ideally you make your experiment as small as possible to get believable insights, but they come in all shapes and sizes. My favorite …

Getting Tactical: Product Team Working Agreements

Giff Constable management, product management

We talk a lot about how assumptions in business can kill you. But assumptions on a team can do the same. One of the best way to preserve a transparent, low-politics culture is to keep everything as visible and explicit as possible. This applies to strategy, vision, and values, but also to working methods. We were forced to deal with …

How to interview a product manager

Giff Constable product management, startups

This is part 3 of a talk given to the CTO School in New York, covering how to interview for a product manager (Parts 1 and 2). While I continually iterate my approach in the hunt to spot talent and minimize disappointments, this is my latest structure. I think of interviewing product managers as having 3 parts: 1. deciding what …

Good vs Bad Product Management

Giff Constable product management

A while ago, I gave a talk to NYC’s CTO School on product management (good vs bad, working with, hiring). The deck has existed on Slideshare, but I wanted to break it out here into 3 posts. Product management, like “business development” and “UX” means many different things depending on the organization. But it does feel like the overall field …

Early Stage Lean: Running Weekly Decision Meetings

Giff Constable lean, product management, startups

At Neo (recently acquired by Pivotal), we tried to put lean startup ideas into practice. Several years ago, Time Inc was our first client where we got to dream up and rigorously test new ideas over a period of several weeks. During that initial project, I realized that we needed a weekly ritual that helped us keep our feet to the …

Get Explicit with a Risks Dashboard

Giff Constable lean, product management

At the start of mentoring an entrepreneurship class the other day, I realized: “This group has no consensus or specificity around their belief system.” If you don’t know what you believe, how can you check if you are right? Working blindly leads to working harder, not smarter. There are lots of ways to get specificity and shared understanding around your belief system, …

A Piece of Advice for Junior Product Managers

Giff Constable product management

I was in a discussion with a group of experienced product managers and someone asked, “What’s the best piece of advice you could give a junior PM?” My first response was, “Surround yourself with people smarter than you, and push appropriate decisions to them (while not chickening out on the hard decisions you need to make).” But I realized that …

Lessons from a Restaurant Kitchen

Giff Constable product management

The world around us is full of inspiration. I was reminded of this last night when I ate at Cockscomb, one of my now-favorite places in San Francisco. Unlike my last visitation, I was alone. Thus I found myself eating at the bar, watching an incredible orchestra perform in front of me in their open kitchen. I couldn’t help but …

Planning Poker for Innovation Ideas

Giff Constable innovation, product management

I’m currently in the middle of a project where we are helping a large company test out an innovation lab based on the “innovation studio” ideas. We are now in week 4. The beginning of the project was focused on learning, tons of custdev, and ideation.  We’ve winnowed down our ideas to 6, and need to choose our first prototype to test …