Building Empowered Teams

As product leaders, if we want to build great teams, we need to do more than assign tasks and deadlines. We need to create a culture of ownership that empowers and accountables our team. Three areas we need to look at as we lead others include: How can we help create this sort of team […]

Missionaries vs Mercenaries

As a product leader do you want to have a team that is there for the paycheck or the product and the customers? Does the product team you lead consist of missionaries or mercenaries? As Marty Cagan puts it: “Teams of missionaries are engaged, motivated, have a deep understanding of the business context, and tangible […]

Great Teams Improve Mediocre Ideas

Why is having a great team so important to a successful product and company? Because sometimes our ideas as product leaders aren’t the best! “If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up. If you give a mediocre idea to a brilliant team, they will either fix it or […]

Rework is Agile

Rework or change requests are the enemy to a project manager. But to the Agile Product Manager, they’re the result of learning. I don’t believe we are truly Agile if we only plan to build and release each feature once. To me that’s gambling. To be Agile, we must admit that we need to learn […]

Our Product Is Not For You!

I attended a talk several years ago by the CEO of a very successful software company, and afterward a current customer asked about a product enhancement. Most CEO’s would respond with something like, “It’s on our roadmap” or “That’s good feedback, we’ll take it under consideration.” Not this CEO! His response, “Our product is not […]

What are you celebrating?

I was rereading Marty Cagan’s book Inspired and I came across this quote: “Good teams celebrate when they achieve a significant impact to the business results. Bad teams celebrate when they finally released something.” Marty Cagan, Inspired It’s a good reminder that as a leader we need to pay attention to what we celebrate. Launching […]

Principles vs Rules

Certifications are an information-dense method of getting up to speed on the work we do as product managers. But they also can mislead us into thinking that this set of rules or process we learn are a recipe for success. We can forget to think about them as principles to guide, and we fail to […]

What is your product hypothesis?

What do you believe is true about your product that you’re actively trying to prove right now? Maybe it’s a new feature, a new subset of features, or even a whole new product, but you need to identify a hypothesis. The power in calling it a hypothesis, is that it declares to everyone around you […]


As we transition from a Waterfall to an Agile approach to planning and product management, there is fear that there will be no plan, no organization, and long term vision. In the book, A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander captures well though how we can use patterns, starting small and growing bigger to create a town […]

Cannibalizing Your Product

What would it look like to cannibalize your own business, your own product? Clayton Christensen said it well when he wrote – “The fear of cannibalizing sales of existing products is often cited as a reason why established firms delay the introduction of new technologies.” If we fail to disrupt ourselves, then we will allow […]