User Personas: More thoughts

Every once in a while, I think about the best way to write user personas. The UX Lady wrote a nice post about how to write such personas and provides a template to do so, but my daily experience tells me that the usual templates contain way too much information. If you collect so much information about your users, that’s a great way to learn about them and segment them, but in order to use them in user stories, they contain more information than necessary. I usually constrain my user personas to the following:

  • Name
  • Picture
  • Quote
  • Short background description
  • Technical experience
  • Frustrations
  • Motivations
  • Ideal world

This is sufficient to effectively work with them.

Multi-screen insights from Google and Microsoft

The UX Lady summarized the insights from Google and Microsoft regarding multi-screen use. The companies made some findings that could have been found by applying common sense, but some ideas are pretty interesting. It is worth a read if you plan to offer your service on several platforms (and who doesn’t, after all?).

Product Managers’ nightmares and how to avoid them

Daniel Elizalde has some very insightful points on how to avoid product managers’ nightmares. He also mentions: the cures:

  • The MVP must fit to the timeframe
  • You need to be realistic about your team capabilities
  • Include a project manager (yes, although I propose to distinguish between project managers and product managers, a dedicated product/project manager is useful in large development projects)
  • Use agile methods to reduce risks

Read the article How to Avoid a Product Manager’s Worst Nightmare here.

Hilarious but true programming errors

Programming can be so easy at times. Until someone cares about testing.

I found this hilarious article on how developers make assumptions based on their own culture and mindset. These assumptions turn out to be totally wrong as soon as someone lays a bit more attention on them. But have we not all made one of these errors before?

It’s a fun article with a very true background.

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.