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Product Management Library of Knowledge

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A Leader Among Followers...

While most aspire to be the Chief, without the followers, there is no leadership, no group to lead. Emancipating and elevating the role of followship is the quickest way to success. Therefore, a leader with foresight would focus on creating an environment of effective followers; an environment in which the roles of leaders and followers are interchanged and interactive. Since we naturally fulfill both roles simultaneously and inherently, it would be to our advantage to exploit and make the most of that nature within us.

Managing The UnManageable: Excerpt of Discussion With Co-Authors

There are very few companies these days that are not relying on software, software developers, software development in some way to drive and underpin their businesses, and yet, as we point out in the book, software development is a mystery and we try to unravel that mystery and make it more understandable.

Working With Difficult Engineering Teams Part 2

Working With Difficult Engineering Teams Part 2
By Brian Lawley, President, 280 Group LLC

In the last issue we started the first part in a series about working with difficult engineering teams. As we mentioned in the previous article some of the engineering teams that you'll work with as a Product Management professional will be very professional and a pleasure to work with. When you work with a team like this Product Management can be very rewarding, and you can really make an impact on the marketplace. On the other hand, there will be other teams that present more of a challenge, and thus we continue with our article on "Games Engineers Play".

Working With Difficult Engineering Teams

Working With Difficult Engineering Teams
By Brian Lawley, President, 280 Group LLC

I've had the pleasure of working with some truly world-class engineering teams over the course of my career. Many of them created breakthrough new products and were dedicated to building what customers really wanted. And many of them have been very rewarding to work with as a team - they understood the value of Product Management and bringing the voice of the customer into the process, and they were committed to working together to bring products to market with the highest probability of success.

Teaming With Strangers

Teaming with StrangersSuccess Strategies for Cross-Functional Teams

A new form of teamwork has quietly become a key factor inmany of America's most successful and competitive companies,including many insurance companies. And it is making for somestrange bedfellows.

Research scientists are meeting with marketing professionals;design engineers are working with purchasing departmentstaff; cost accountants are teaming up with operationsmanagers; and computer programmers and office managers areserving together on systems development teams. In manyorganizations, eight or more disciplines are working togetheron cross-functional teams to bring a new product to themarketplace, develop the next generation computer system,design a new layout for a factory floor, produce an importantnew drug, engineer a complex telecommunications network,prepare a long-term corporate strategy, or implement aprocedure to upgrade service quality in a government agency.

read more of.. Teaming With Strangers

Nine Ways Managers Can Help Resolve Conflicts Between Teams

Nine Ways Managers Can Help Resolve Conflicts Between Teams

"It's not uncommon for a company to have two teams which seem to be at odds with each other," says Glenn Parker, co-author with Richard Kropp of Team Workout (AMACOM). "For example, a company's production team may frequently be in conflict with its marketing team about various goals and decisions.

Recovering from the Loss of a Business: Recovery, Reversal, and Coping Strategies

Recovering from the Loss of a Business: Recovery, Reversal, and Coping Strategies
By Vishal P. Rao

Losing a business is overall, akin to the "death" of a loved one. So much of a business owner's personality and hard work have gone into a business, that when tragedy strikes, for whatever reason and the business is forced into bankruptcy or to close, the emotions felt by the business owner are nothing short of serious and all encompassing!

A New Age Of Small-Unit Leadership

A New Age Of Small-Unit Leadership
by Brent Filson

   Recent mergers in many industries remind me of a point that Gen. Dwight Eisenhower often made, "Generals move the pins on a map," he would say, "but the front-line troops have to get the job done."

   And the key to the job is leadership, small-unit leadership, leadership of the most basic units or teams of an organization.

Take Effective Actions to Solve a Problem

Take Effective Actions to Solve a Problem
by Wendy Hearn

There are going to be times when you experience problems either in your personal or professional life. They may be few and far between or occur more often. You can choose whether to see these as problems that keep you stuck or opportunities for growth that you respond to. The opportunity for growth comes from being willing to apply a formula that brings about a solution. A formula that can be applied to many different situations.

Negotiation Tips

Negotiation Tips
By Barbara Braham

Whether its with an employer, family member or business, we all negotiate for things each day like higher salary, better service or solving a dispute with a coworker or family member. Here are some negotiation skills, techniques and strategies to help you handle these situations more effectively.

read more of.. Negotiation Tips

Making it in an AND world

Making it in an AND world
By Peter Stonefield, PhD

Jack F. Product Manager, Sun Microsystems described his current challenge this way. I used to be able to keep my head down and focus on my product and proprietary technologies in US markets. No more! Now I must do that and think globally about end-to-end solutions embracing open technologies. Where solutions used to be simple and easy to put together they are now complex, difficult and very expensive to support. I used to deal primarily with my own engineering group, finance, operations, a few suppliers, sales and outbound marketing. Now I work with all those plus several other groups including alliance partners and service. Most of my focus and energy used to be devoted to the product launch. Now, I must do the research, formulate strategy, define the product, synchronize development with partners, launch and end the life of products, all in less than three years.

My three biggest challenges? Getting and keeping alignment around a shared vision across all those boundaries, driving for results with out escalating every issue, reacting quickly to competitive moves and keeping up with the knowledge.

Technical Tyranny

Technical Tyranny
How much is it costing you and what to do about it.
By Peter Stonefield, PhD

Frank was a brilliant software engineer and architect as well as an arrogant, dictatorial and dismissive knowledge bully. He was both revered and resented. Publicly he was often recognized for his genius, which saved the company weeks of development time. But privately he was resented for behavior that cost the company millions in less visible ways.

I first heard of Frank while interviewing software engineers in preparation for a company conference on leveraging knowledge. Three of the first five people I interviewed identified Frank as the single biggest obstacle to their success at the company. They all told me stories of submitting code to Frank for review and getting the following response. "This is garbage, go back to MIT and learn how to code." I was shocked, then I remembered my own humbling experience as an engineer having to deal with a very smart senior engineer who treated me as if I didn't know anything and saw my ignorance as stupidity. For a brief moment, I wondered, if this was some kind of "rights of passage thing?" It wasn't. Their technical lead, told them "suck it up, I still get similar responses." Their Director, shrugged and told me they have been living with this for years. But even more troubling, an executive in another part of the company spent over two million dollars so he would not be held "hostage" again by Frank. This was knowledge bullying.

To assess how big a problem technical tyranny is, I polled two hundred engineers from twenty Silicon Valley companies. The results indicated that the problem is wide spread and costly. One hundred and seventy one respondents indicated they knew of at least one "Expert" in their organization that was very difficult to work with and had a significant negative effect on productivity, moral and or meeting schedule. They also ranked the most challenging counter-productive tendencies.

read more of.. Technical Tyranny

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