Minimum Valuable Problem

Defining and building a good minimum viable product is much harder than it sounds.  Finding that “one thing” you can do, which people want, is really about a lot more than picking one thing.  It is a combination of solving the minimum valuable problem and all of the other things that go with it.  Solving for both the … Continue reading Minimum Valuable Problem

Why Not What – An Example

Forbes quoted Steve Jobs as saying “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.”  This is a really enlightened perspective – and a way to enforce focus from the top down.  Before you can drive a “this goal is more important than that goal” focus, you have to […]

Opposite Views of a Product Roadmap

Your product roadmap a view of what you are building right now, in the near future, and in the more distant future.  Or is your roadmap a view of why you are building whatever you’re building right now, in the near future, and in the more distant future? Your roadmap is both – but one is more […]

Agile Cadabra

Agile is not magical. Changing from a waterfall process to an agile process changes how your team works, and helps eliminate inefficiencies. . What makes agile powerful is also makes it dangerous. Triage and Urgency One tenet of agile is to make decisions at the last responsible moment. Following this powerful and easy-to-remember mantra reduces […]

Why Write Requirements

There is a lot of advice out there for how to write requirements. There is not as much discussion about why to write requirements. Spend some time thinking about why you write requirements before you make decisions about how to write your requirements. Why Write Requirements? Whether you communicate requirements through conversation, user stories with […]

Is Agile Really Cheaper?

There are several ways to answer the question “is agile cheaper than waterfall?” Here are two of my favorites: “It depends. Agile done well is cheaper, as long as you measure correctly.” “You’re asking the wrong question. The right question is: is agile better?” How Agile Is NOT Cheaper The fun thing about relative terms […]

Cargo Cult Requirements

Is your team focusing on the mechanics of creating good software, without understanding the connections from your efforts to your goals? Are you primarily focused on the structure of use cases, the syntax of user stories, and the cardinality of your domain diagrams? All of these things are important to effective communication – but if […]

Why Do Products Fail? – Forgetting that Users Learn

Next up in the series on the root causes of product failure – products that fail because you have ignored the user’s level of experience.  The first time someone uses your product, they don’t know anything about it.  Did you design your interfaces for new users?  After they’ve used it for a while, they get […]

Why Do Products Fail? – Picking the Wrong User Goals

Continuing the series on root causes of product failure, this article looks at the impact of focusing on the wrong user goals.  Even if you have picked the right users, you may have picked the wrong goals – creating a product your customers don’t really need, or solving problems that your customers don’t care about […]

Product Manager – Strategic or Not?

Are product managers really involved in strategic discussions, or are we just order takers?  Adrienne Tan has poked the beehive and started a great discussion with this article.  Joining in from here, hopefully adding folks to the conversation.  Check it out, and chime in here or on the brainmates blog. Product Managers Taking Orders Adrienne […]