Speak to non-customers instead of customers

A good product manager regularly speaks to customers and users. However, the current product obviously satisfies current customers. So the product manager should also speak to non-customer, i.e. potential future customers and find out their requirements.

The article Identifying Non-Customers for “Customer” Interviews provides some insight into how to find such non-customers.

Use Cases vs. User Stories in an Agile World

When applying agile development processes, are user stories superior to use cases? The article Use Cases in an Agile World states that they serve different purposes but none is better than the other. In effect, author suggests:

  • On non-Agile projects, Use Cases and Process Flows are used in requirements document to define process steps between the user and system.
  • On Agile projects, Use Cases and Process Flows can be used to derive Epics and User Stories.

The Apple Watch and the UX requirements

The Apple Watch is not a smaller phone, just as a smart phone is not a smaller computer. Raluca Budiu recommends the following for UX development for the Apple Watch: (quoted from her article The Apple Watch: User-Experience Appraisal):

  • Distill the essential content that people are interested in and present it in a compressed form that would fit the tiny watch screen.
  • Avoid buttons and complex navigation as much as possible, and if you do include buttons make them few and big.
  • Use handoff to phone to enable users to get more details and solve problems that require more complicated interactions.
  • Create standalone bits of text that can easily be read and comprehended and truly convey the gist of your content.

The Cranky PM’s identity revealed

I noticed recently that the CrankyPM closed her blog – I am very sorry about this, as she usually wrote extremely witty posts. However, she revealed her identity and started a new blog on Product Management and software design! We can probably read a lot more from her and I really look forward to it.

Should a product manager be a project manager?

I see some companies with product manager that are also project managers. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this double-role?

Pros:

  • No need to hire a project manager (or product manager) – saving money
  • All customer project requirements are developed – satisfaction of a particular customer

Cons:

  • Features that only a single customer needs are built – feature bloat
  • The product manager is distracted of his/her original task – distraction and unavailability
  • Product managers and project managers have opposite goals, and maybe even financial targets. The product manager is responsible for a commercially and technically feasible product, while the project manager is responsible for on-time delivery of a project. (By the way, sales have yet other goals, so don’t make product managers or project managers part-time sales people.)

The last disadvantage is the most important to me: Product managers and project managers have different goals that can hardly be matched. Therefore, I recommend every company not combining the two roles.

How to hire a good designer

Last week I shared a post on how to hire a good Product Manager. But there are not only product managers in a good team (and developers, by the way), but a designer is usually also part of the team. You may also call the UX expert, UI specialist, or the like. But there needs to be someone who turns the product manager’s mockups into real UI.

Bokardo has a post on How to hire a good designer.

  • Always be building relationships.
  • Portfolio, portfolio, portfolio.
  • Can they tell a story?
  • Are they designers all the time?
  • Know what motivates designers.
  • Understand their current pain.
  • Have them hang with the team.
  • Do design exercises.
  • Reach out yourself.
  • Trust your team.
  • Can they critique/take criticism?

Read the details in Bokardo’s post.

Blog Revival

Dear readers,

time has passed, I have read many posts and thought about many things. Now I believe it is time to revive this blog!

I will post interesting links and thoughts on software product management every once in a while. Maybe I will not be as timely as I used to be, but maybe you will like it anyway. I look forward to every reader of this revived blog!