Are you breeding Monsters? - Planning Software Releases (Based on a talk by Saeed Khan)

Every product is meant to be released and every release is meant to bring value to the customer. However, not all releases are equal : some go well and others are painful experiences that Saeed Khan of Transformation Labs call krakens. To start, we first have to understand what is meant by a great release. Saeed defines a major functional release as: “ A set of new capabilities and improvements requiring large effort and providing significant value to the company and the market ” While all product managers go through the process of making their products go live, release planning is not always a clear, well defined process. In order to bring harmony and clarity to product release planning, Saeed shared a few tips (and an awesome Release Planning Canvas) with the ProductTankTO community. Focus on the “Why” Every step of the product development cycle should be driven by purpose. The first thing that should be done when planning a release is defining its obj

Managing Product Theory - The Noise Before Defeat (Based on a talk by Andy Woo)

During an interview for a product position in a startup, I got asked the classic "prioritization question". I went into a detailed explanation of my methodology and concluded with the words "And this is a framework used at Google". This last sentence instantly generated nods of validation from my interviewers. I ended up getting offered the position but I remembered that moment vividly. It echoed with other instances in my career in which theories, frameworks and methodologies were given legitimacy (simply) because they had been adopted by notable tech institutions. As product managers, our mission is to solve problems and better people's lives. As such, we have to instrument theory and thought processes effectively to find solutions to the unique problems we are facing.  Andy Woo's talk on "How to Manage Product Theory" is an invitation to rethink the way you are reading your favorite product blog.   In 2019, Product Managers spent onl

Scaling - a Game of Action and Context (Based on a talk by Mladen Rangelov)

Scaling is a delicate exercise and it is often done incorrectly. According to Startup Genome , 70% of startups scale prematurely. Growing a company requires good timing, excellent execution and, according to Mladen Rangelov of Shopify, scaling is, above all, a game of reinvention . Success stories like Facebook, Netflix or Twitter exemplify the transformation that takes place as a company goes from a garage to multi-million dollar headquarters. Gibson Biddle, former VP at Netflix, noted that the online video-streaming service successively employed “starters, builders, professionals then a Dream Team” to remain competitive as its business grew. “ You will need to reinvent. You will need a new model for your product organization ” While Product Managers might not traditionally drive the scaling process, they certainly own a part of it: keeping teams effective. In his presentation, Mladen shared insights on how a Product Manager can be an agent of reinvention in a scaling company.

Why your career is a product - From Product Management to Leadership (Based on a talk by Johnathan Nightingale)

Career progression in Product Management is similar to many other things in the profession: loosely defined. If you are working towards becoming a Product Leader, you’ll quickly realize that your progression roadmap is not as well-defined than it is for your Engineering or Sales counterparts. Johnathan Nightingale, Co-Founder of Raw Signal Group, gives us three reasons why PMs face what he calls a “ career chasm ”.    “ As a Product Manager, you will be measured on whether your team ships software or not. And then suddenly, magically, you get pulled in a Director role and expected to completely different things. ” The vast difference in required skill set between Product Management and Product Leadership is not the only hurdle that PMs will have to face as they attempt to move up. In many cases, you will find that your organization’s leaders do not come from a product background and are not equipped to coach your progression. Additionally, these same leaders are likely to m