ONE THING on Saying No to Good Ideas

It is impossible to please all of your stakeholders at once — or even over time. At startups and big companies alike, you have to assume that you will run out of money (or resources or executive patience) and have to stop at any time. Delivering value quickly is the best way to ensure an uninterrupted flow of resources, so prioritize ruthlessly. This may be the hardest part of a product job: saying "no" to good ideas to make room for the great ones.

Read more

ONE THING on Scalability

Product people ignore scalability at their peril. Think about it: A prototype of your product can be produced relatively quickly as long as there are only a few users on the system at a time. On the other hand, a system can theoretically be designed to support almost any number of users, but it will take proportionately longer to design and develop. Which are you aiming for? You can't have both.

Read more

ONE THING on How You Got Here

Theater professional? Graphic designer? CS nerd? How did you get to product? An unusual path? What have you learned from your background that has translated well into product? What are the skills you wish you had? Me: I was an English major. Communication is one of the top skills needed in product. What's your story?

Read more

ONE THING on Themes

Themes are a way of communicating what’s important to your customers — their needs, problem, or jobs to be done. I use them as the main organizing principle of a roadmap. The features might change but important customer problems will likely remain the same.

Read more

ONE THING on Special Requests

A frequent challenge to an established roadmap is the request to “slip in” a feature, fix, or one-off version for a “special” customer or a partner. This often will come from sales. “If we can just add this one little thing,” they’ll plead, “we can close this big deal and make the quarter.”

Read more

ONE THING on Our Decisions

“An effective roadmap retains that context of ‘Here’s why we made these decisions, and here are the assumptions we’re making.'" That's Anthony Accardi, CTO of Rue Gilt Groupe. And yet, most roadmaps leave all of that out in favor of minute details about features, bug fixes, schedules, and dependencies.

Read more