Advice to junior product managers, part 2

One of the most important things a product manager has to do is avoid giving surprises, in a context where surprises are coming at you all the time. What do I mean? Never let someone who cares about a particular product change be taken off guard. This applies to changing timing, changing design, changing messaging,… Continue reading

Trying the “User Manual to Me” to Good Effect

A few months ago, Brad Feld wrote about a cultural exercise that I just tried with my team to very good effect (Brad in turn had referenced this post from David Politis). Instead of taking pysch tests and then trying to make sense of the results, the team answers a few written questions as honestly… Continue reading

My next chapter in helping entrepreneurs

Last Thursday, I started a new gig as VP of Product for Axial. Given that the company is both B2B and has a target market largely outside of tech, I’m guessing that most people have not heard of it. Axial is a 100-person startup that runs an online network for connecting business owners who want… Continue reading

Reduce bias and resentment with a transparent salary and skills matrix

(Originally posted 0n Medium as I experiment with the platform) As employers and employees, we have a choice as to how we conduct ourselves. We can choose to “get away with what we can,” or we can set our values and live by them. I believe that most people want to work in fair, meritocratic,… Continue reading

How your team’s qualitative metrics act as the canary in the coal mine

There are three qualitative metrics I find interesting to use with a product team to help spot, and deal with, changes that could be opportunities or problems. 1. Retrospectives: scoring the “sprint” My former colleagues from Edgecase used to have every product team “score” how things felt since their last retro on a 1 to 10… Continue reading

Getting Tactical: the experiment design studio

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… Continue reading

Getting Tactical: Product Team Working Agreements

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… Continue reading

How to interview a product manager

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… Continue reading