Great presentations for great product managers

Product managers have to impress people, convey their vision and communicate effectively. More often than not, they use PowerPoint. Even though most product manager have very high PowerPoint skills, it is wise to always keep learning.

I came across the blog of Presentation Panda. The author provides really good advice and insights. A recommended read! (I am not affiliated with the site).

Big and small product managers

I usually differentiate between visionary product managers, leading the product and the team strategically, and the not-so-visionary product manager, caring more of details and drawings nice slide decks. Both types actually exist and both types seem to be actively sought: Recruiters have a very distinct idea of who they search and how much to pay them.

Of course, no recruiter actually admits that they search an inexpensive PowerPoint worker.

However, maybe I was wrong with the assessment of the two types: Roman Pichler points out in his post Matters: Big vs. Small Product Owners that different maturity levels require different types of product managers. True point.

New Product Management job? These are your first tasks

When you have a new product management job, what are your tasks in your first couple of weeks? Study the product, architecture, speak to developer, sales and support, have a look at the roadmap…

The guys at HipChat add a task that they consider even more important: Speak to users. They say: ”

Your job as a PM is to find the right problems – then work with your team to solve them.” So to understand the problems, speaking to users is a better way than studying the product’s architecture.

Virtual Currencies

Some online communities introduced virtual currencies in order to have users strive for a higher rank, value, or in whatever the currency might exist. An online community can be any connection of users from discussion boards, social networks or a user group.

Online currencies can change the way users behave, especially when they are tradable against real money. Depending on the general topic of the community, the users might even be adverse against any form of gamification, while other audiences applaud even the slightest gamification forms.

The article “How to Introduce Virtual Currency into your Community the Right Way” describes just what it says.

Designing for explicit choice

User Experience design often is about human psychology. When designing forms which have users make a choice, keep in mind that different form designs may result in different user behaviour. Users are generally lazy: When there is a checkbox, people usually just leave it as it is (checked or unchecked). When using two radio buttons instead, people are forced to make a decision. Depending of what your goal is, choose the form design wisely.

Colleen Roller has the full article.

Extra tip: Do not only offer choices, but list consequences right away.

Customer adoption of a new product or feature

So you have a great idea of a new product or feature. Anyway, how will you know that anyone else will like it and, more importantly, also use it?

Inspired by Marc Andreessen’s tweets, Hutch Carpenter asks three questions to evaluate the possible adoption of a product:

  • Does the idea target an actual job-to-be-done that enough people have?
  • Is the idea a meaningful improvement over the current way people fulfill their job-to-be-done?
  • Does the value of the idea to customers exceed the cost of the idea to them?

You can also rate the answers and display them in a kind of dashboard, but that’s all eye candy.


Velocity games

Ah, the wonderful meaning of velocity. Velocity is often interpreted as a fixed development speed, and increasing the velocity means a higher development speed. What some people do not understand is that velocity and days (FTE etc.) and currencies with a floating exchange rate. When prompted to increase velocity, a team could simply estimate higher number for each story, increasing the velocity while keeping development speed constant or even lower.

Please refer to the article Increase My Velocity, Baby! for lovely unicorn images.

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.