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 […]

What risk?

As I was walking down a trail outside of Vancouver, I encountered this warning sign. It was one of several signs highlighting the risks some cliffs ahead posed to life and limb. Clearly, those who came before us failed to consider the risks, and they installed both a fence and numerous signs in the mild […]

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 […]


Product teams launch mediocre products when we fail to learn as we build. We build for months, even years, never truly learning if we are building the right thing. “What differentiates the success stories from the failures is that the successful entrepreneurs had the foresight, the ability, and the tools to discover which parts of […]

Business and Technology

Was the iPod a successful product because it was the best MP3 player on the market in terms of specs and features? No, the iPod succeeded because it combined a great technology (iPod) with a great business model (iTunes). Being a great digital companies today means no longer treating software development as separate from the […]

Defining your MVP

What exactly is an MVP for your product? Some see it as a way to avoid feature creep. Others as a way to phase out development. Still others will argue it’s a prototype or a mini finished product. I’ll leave the definitive answer to someone else, but one thing must be true. You need to […]

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 […]

The Illusion of Progress

Clayton Christensen in Competing Against Luck calls out how many companies have activities that give the illusion of progress, without actually causing it. To use Yogi Berra’s word, “We’re lost, but we’re making good time!” This happens when we fail to understand the “why”. Why do our customers choose our products? Why do they choose […]

What are you invested in?

I’m in the process of selling my car, and making a 20-year old truck my dad gave me my primary vehicle. The car was paid off, reliable, comfortable, and I really enjoyed driving it. So why get rid of it? Because I realized I didn’t want to invest my money in it any longer. I’m […]