Recommended Video: Inside the Mind of the Product Manager
Dave Wascha – Inside the Mind of the Product Manager from MindTheProduct on Vimeo.
We have to be able to look at the world through fresh eyes. Our brains [as pattern-seekers] try to keep us from doing that.
Our brains have evolved to take advantage of heuristics but it’s these shortcuts that can ultimately make us fail as Product Managers. In this video, Dave describes four of the many Anti-Patterns that we as humans can sometimes display which ultimately produce sub-optimal outcomes. In summary the four anti-patterns that are described in greater detail (and through the use of some pretty interesting storytelling) are:
- Tyranny of Inertia – “That’s the way we’ve always done it”
- Propinquity – Assuming your customer is just like you
- Groupthink – Groups are capable of making some really poor decisions
- The Journalist – Do not just report on what is happening, you must participate
Recommended Video: Prioritizing Your Product Backlog
YouTube: Value vs. Complexity & The Product Management Trap
While pretty basic, this video serves as a good reminder when reviewing your backlog and prioritizing your work. If you wanted to get more sophisticated you might consider adding profit numbers (through new sales or customer retention) as a third axis since there are plenty of times when a customer may think something is valuable but may not be willing to pay for it. At the very least, this would help sub prioritize the features/requests within the top quadrant. Knowing a specific dollar amount may not be worth the effort but a scale of 1-5 may help.
There are a number of factors that one can use as axis variables to create this matrix besides value and difficulty. As described in this article about the pitfalls of using ROI to prioritize your backlog, you need to find the metrics that make the best sense for your organization and can be somewhat stable across releases.
Recommended Video: Compromising Beauty In Product Design
For me a “Pure Product” has two elements to it. It’s simple and beautiful.
As Product managers, sometimes we focus on the numbers and the logic of how we do what we do. This video focuses a little more into why we should be inspired as Product Managers to do the work that we do with product design. I really like how Aziz Musa defines a “Pure Product” as something that is profoundly simple (mastering complexity) yet beautiful. These are two items that should be inherent product design requirements for all new features. In this video Aziz describes how he was wildly successful with achieving the business objectives of solving a product challenge yet he felt that in reflection, he still fell short of creating a pure product. His message is to not compromise on those product design objectives when developing and iterating as it can be a difficult path to come back from once the line is crossed. While perfection may never be achieved, striving for perfection should never be dismissed.
Recommended Video: Filter Bubbles
Ted Talks: Eli Pariser – Beware of Online Filter Bubbles
Software strives for more and more personalization. Yet this video describes the concerns with allowing software to determine what information we are presented and more importantly, determine what information we are not presented. Eli Parser defines this scenario as a filter bubble and has concerns that this will be a growing trend and more technologies strive for automatically determining the most relevant piece of information for us.
Recommended Video: It’s Not What You Read, It’s What You Ignore
Webstock ’12: Scott Hanselman It’s not what you read, it’s what you ignore
This is an interesting take on productivity. In the video, Scott Hanselman describes the importance of focusing on one thing and using tools to measure and track your productivity. I’ve applied a few of these suggestions into my daily activities and found them very helpful.