Posts Tagged ‘steve blank’

Product Management – Useful tips

admin 22nd of October 2009 by admin

In Ireland we constantly hear that we don’t have enough skills/resources @ product management.

Here is some useful tips, resources, etc to check out.

The Role
The role of product manager is to capture the product vision and make it happen. The person is usually a jack of all trades, with a background in Computer Science/MBA. They normally work with small, agile engineering teams.

Initial Idea – Product Vision
Initial product requirements are captured – usually on a wiki – from a variety of sources [powerpoint, napkin, funding documents, etc]

Check out some useful wiki services – such as Google sites, Socialtext or Confluence.

One useful trick is to apply the Working Backwards model – as used in Amazon, Microsoft, etc.

The Lean Startup
The Lean Startup is a practical approach for creating and managing a new breed of company that excels in low-cost experimentation, rapid iteration, and true customer insight.

Check this video from Eric Ries, at the recent Seedcamp

One of the key concepts from Lean Startup is Customer Development – and I would recommend everyone to read Steve Blank’s book on the subject – Four Steps to the Epiphany

Sean Ellis, presented at recent Seedcamp on Customer Development [note: Sean is participating in IGAP Programme]

Once you have a plan/idea documented, you can start to build stuff. Currently most teams work to an iterative Agile process like Scrum. Some great tools that support these methologies are Jira/Greenhopper – great for small teams, who maybe located all over the world, who want to ensure transparency on what’s getting done.

This video is good at explaining Scrum

Most VCs and Angel investors, are preaching the power of Lean Startups – check what Ron Conway and Mike Maples have to say in these videos.

Watch it on Academic Earth

Product/Market Fit
Original product designs are usually minimalist – Product Management conduct some user studies, with a focus on asking lots questions – What does user really care about?

With lots of experimentation – a focus on low fidelity prototyping. Tools such as balsamiq make prototyping UI very easy.

In a lot of cases – releasing an early version into public domain, to see if users respond well.

Bottom Line – you’re looking for Product Market Fit.

Finally analytics play a critical part in product management. The goal is to make the product better over time from feedback, from metrics, etc.

Dave McClure is one of the best guys at articulating Startup Metrics – amongst others like Andrew Chen, Scott Rafer, etc.

Check out a recent presentation from Dave at FOWA

Start-up Metrics that Matter by Dave McClure from Carsonified on Vimeo.


1. Work Backwards
2. Lean Startup
3. Customer Development
4. Product/Market Fit
5. Analytics