• Well this is disturbing… we desperately need rigorous laws to protect personal privacy

    (b-ark.ca/0sAK6O)
  • Five years in Product - Leadership

    Continuing my little retrospective writing exercise on my journey in product management, in this part I wanted to talk a bit about my (bumpy) path to better understanding the nature of leadership. #prodmgmt (b-ark.ca/6IkGIY)

    This is part two on a series of posts on my transition to Product Management. If you’d like to see where this series began, feel free to checkout part one.

    As I’ve gone back and looked over some of the email traffic from my first couple of years in my role as Product Manager, one of the most obvious things that stands out is just how much was going on at the time (and how little I’ve apparently retained)!

    The backdrop of this period was a parallel effort in the company to:

    1. Modernize our software development practices by moving to a process built on Agile Scrum, and
    2. Shift way from our custom, consultative software development model to a product-centered approach focused on broader market needs.

    Either one of these would be a large, challenging transition. Looking back, attempting to tackle both at the same time was borderline insanity!

    Looking more closely at the transition to Product-oriented development, this is also seems to be a pretty common phase in the startup life-cycle.

    As I’ve talked to other folks in the industry, I’ve noticed that many startups, particularly those in the B2B space, initially succeed by developing a solution for a couple of “whales” that serve as an essential lifeline that keeps the company operating. Over time, as those successes beget more successes, the company can step back and focus more on the market than individual opportunities, and at that point, a pivot to a Product-centric development process makes a lot of sense.

    The trouble is, this is often not an easy transition. Ignoring the challenges in shifting the entire mindset and culture of an organization, there’s the basic politics of handing off responsibility for feature selection and prioritization from technology leadership to product leadership. As you can imagine, this transition can be very difficult if not handled delicately.

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