Egress Solutions Product & Innovation Management Blog

Design Thinking - The Next Big Trend?

I, recently, had a chance to participate in a class on Design Thinking. Design Thinking, you ask? This course, sourced from the Stanford School of Design, presents some interesting concepts they clearly are quite excited about.  The term, I’ve noticed, has also started enter the lexicon of product management. Why would this happen?

Inbound product management functions have traditionally focused on market and product definition, the quantification of priorities to address problems found in those markets. It also provides guidance in the form of product requirements, value propositions and the related pricing, margins and forecasts necessary to justify investments in products that satisfy unmet needs in those markets.

Design thinking proposes that these elements are not really needed. Rather, the concept suggests that the only requirement is that the maker/developer merely collaborates with the user using structured methods of development. The resulting products are then clearly aligned to solve the user’s problem.

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Play in the Gray: Product Management Framework Implementation for Solid Payback

In 2012, a financial technology (FinTech) company found itself in a quandary. The product management team was stuck using an ad-hoc approach to get new products and enhancements to market. Amidst its nearly 100 product managers, the product leadership team admitted they didn’t know what type of essential product management framework process to adopt and use. They asked if I could help them in product management consulting. Shortly after, a second, company in a different industry sector asked the same. Naturally, I said yes, and realized that these companies would have to take very different paths to solve the same problem.

The projects caused me to pause and reflect. How do technology companies get off track, and why is it so hard to course correct? At what stage should the company begin to use a more formalized approach to get software from idea to market? What outcomes can leadership expect if they make this investment?

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Top 10 Product Sales Questions Every Product Manager Needs to Answer

Passing the Knowledge - Find your Answers to the Top 10 Product Sales Questions

It isn’t easy for a group of product and marketing to pass their accumulated knowledge to the company’s sales force.  For many, doing so is unfamiliar territory. Why? Because the motivations and perceptions of a successful sales force is orthogonal to product marketing functions.

Let’s take a look at why this is.

Prior to my career as a product manager, I was a quota-carrying, territory-based sales guy in business-to-business accounts. I was on the receiving end of product management training many times. Of course, the product managers are enthusiastic—they need to be, but I didn't like the training because they weren't answering the Top 10 Sales Questions.

Most product managers understand their products inside and out; they have deep product knowledge and they’re usually pretty good at translating techie-speak into value propositions. What product managers do not understand is that this knowledge alone is insufficient for motivating the sales representative to get it sold.

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Why Do You Need An Interlocked Product Lifecycle Approach

How many times have you heard the word “interlock” in a software company? The concept is simple, but few know what it is and even fewer know how to launch products interlocked across the entire company. Yet, it is probably one of the most important processes you can master, especially for early stage companies.

The concept of interlock is simple: you launch your product or service only after your entire company—from campaign to cash and everything in between, including go-to-market, sell, deliver, implement, support and manage revenue—is ready, and interlocked, in support of the business objectives.

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Trading Up: The Skills You (and Your Team) Need

Leading a team? Consider the plight of the MLB general manager—improve your roster by the trade deadline or potentially lose your project.

It’s the middle of summer and I’ve been watching major league baseball teams negotiate their rosters. Many are trading-up and making themselves more competitive in specific areas. Others are cutting their losses. One team is staffing to win now; the other team is building for next year.

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Onboarding for Product Management

A few years ago, a friend of mine recommended the book TopGrading by Brad Smart, Ph.D. One “a-ha” moment for me was the cost of hiring and retaining a team member that doesn’t work out (or is retained for less than two years). The costs are staggering; $100,000 for every $10,000 of compensation.

I won’t bore you with the arithmetic as you can refer to the book, but I’ve found that proper onboarding results in a real payoff. Onboarding is the fair and equitable way to tell our product leaders and managers, “We want you to be successful”. It also identifies issues early and provides a path to correct them.

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Welcome and contributors wanted

Welcome to Product Management 2.0
A new product management user experience

Why another product management blog? In software, we all know what that version 2 should provide a fundamental improvement and better experience over the first version. The knowledge we gain from deeper understanding of our customers and market problems give us new awareness. New platforms and tools make it possible to design and plan to do so much more. Equally important, we have an opportunity to close the gaps and fix the problems we that are nagging us up our most recent release.

This is our hope for this new platform; to share with product executives and product managers the insights from the vantage point of new tools and lessons learned.

This begs the question---what is the angle of this blog?

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What is Product Management 2.0?

We launched this blog from the insight gained from conversations with friends and colleagues in the community. The 2.0 experience is about contribution, participation and collaboration. The 2.0 release of a product is recognition of the success of the initial release. We could not have foreseen these new requirements in the initial release, but now we can leverage what we learned from the first release. Now we can deliver a better experience and give our customers better value.

The purpose of this blog is to establish an open forum for those interested in building the next version of the product management practice.

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