Peltier’s Product Digest #1

Product Digest

You are reading the very first installment of Peltier’s Product Digest!

In this occasional series, I will be sharing interesting articles I’ve found related to product management and its related disciplines. I’ll be adding my own analysis, insight and critique on the industry, on practices described in other sources, as well as occasionally on software products.

Starting with Digest #2, this will be an email-only publication.  Please sign up on the mailing list today so that you don’t miss any!
As just a taste of what’s to come, here’s the first edition….

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What is product management? Who’s asking?

Who

I’m convinced that there are as many definitions of what product management is as there are product managers.  There are certainly as many definitions as there are companies.

This is one of the struggles of our line of work — it is difficult to gain agreement on its scope, its deliverables, its very purpose.   This leads to difficulties in evaluating whether it’s being done well, what should be done, and what kind of skills are necessary in filling an open position.

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The User Story Map for Backlog Visualization

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Perspective

It’s hard for a product owner to keep perspective when looking at a stacked list of features needed in a product, much less communicate the high level roadmap to others. Backlogs are too granular and, frequently, just too long. Often they contain many capabilities that will never be delivered!

A product’s user stories may be broken up numerous ways: by very narrow slivers of end-to-end functionality, by seams in the technical architecture, or by some other approach.

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Evolution of Product Management Roles

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What is Product Management, anyway?

Pragmatic Marketing defines PM as a strategic market-facing role.  They state that a PM’s role is to find “an urgent, pervasive problem that people are willing to pay to solve.”  In this model, the PM works with other teams to design a solution for the problem, and while it’s being built, remaining out in the market finding additional market problems.

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Growth Hacking is Just Advanced Product Management

Growth Hackers Conference

“Growth Hacking” is just advanced Product Management

The phrase “growth hacking” is getting a lot of press in the startup community, including this recent post “What is Growth Hacking really?” by Josh Elman.  The more I study the meaning of the term, the more convinced I am that growth hacking is a new role for what product management should already be doing.  Product management has become a misunderstood role in many startups, where it is often miscast as a cross between a manager of the software development team and a traditional requirements analyst.  If product management were achieving its own objectives, the “growth hacking” would already be happening.

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