Top 4 traits a Product Leader should NOT have


A lot has been said about qualities that product leaders must possess. Let’s spin it around a bit and look at the topic from the opposite direction, and crack down the top traits a product leader should NOT possess.

Here’s my top 4.

1. NOT having a vision

Knowing where we are heading to is a fundamental know-how a product leader must obviously be aware of. Product leaders are required to inspire their teams, they can’t inspire if they don’t have a vision.

Not having a vision leads to loss in focus, lost focus leads to nothing but a me-too product.

2. NOT having a strategy

It’s not sufficient to just have a vision and not know how to get there. Strategy is the chosen path to achieve the vision and make it a reality.

Product Strategy has to be crafted meticulously to ensure it aligns with the organization’s values, capabilities, and resources with the opportunities in the external environment.

3. NOT innovating consistently

Every competitive advantage has a lifespan, so consistent innovation is the key to stay relevant in the market.

4. Aspiring for more followers

What are you going to do with more followers, anyway? As someone put it “the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not followers“. A leader’s job is to groom his subordinates to become leaders in their respective area of ownership. Product leaders must focus on the success of the product and eventually the business, and not aspire to have more followers.

Hope you liked the post, please do comment on what you think!

 

Top 9 differences between Terrific Companies & Terrible Companies


Sometimes the difference between success and failure is the result of how some companies approach their business and the values they stick to.

Here’s a list of differences between Terrific Companies & Terrible Companies, at least how I perceive them. Whilst the list could be long, I’ve trimmed it to the important ones.

This is a topic that is close to my heart, and has been sitting in the drafts for a while.

Hope you enjoy the list.

Terrific Companies Vs. Terrible Companies

Please do share your thoughts!

Backlog Prioritization *Further Refined*


continuous-improvement.png

A few months ago I shared a blog post on updated prioritization of software backlog. This has been further refined to simplify the field values and effectively signify the cumulative effect of various parameters.

Check out the new framework here.

For more details on the prioritization approach and right mix of features, see the original post here.

Cheers!

Innovation at the Speed of Thought!


Innovation Definition

Few expert quotes to kick off:

There’s a way to do it better – find it. — Thomas Edison

Innovation is seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.  — Dr. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Discovered Vitamin C

According to a 2016 survey on innovation, it’s only 20% who perceive the definition to be concrete.

Survey

Innovation is one of the most misconstrued terms in modern day information technology (IT) industry, a truly confusing buzzword yet many people love to use it.

Let’s take a step back and approach it bottom-up. The word innovation comes from the Latin root innovatus, which means ‘to renew or to change’. In general, innovation refers to the creation of better and more effective ideas, products, and processes that solve problems and/or enrich people’s lives, and accepted by members of a social system.

Why Innovate?

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. — Steve Jobs, Apple

The day I took on my new role I said that our industry does not respect tradition, it only respects innovation. — Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft

Why Innovate

The underlying message is that businesses have to innovate more often to consistently delight their customers and be relevant to them, make it part of their culture, else companies and brands will become obsolete and irrelevant to their target customers

It’s a challenge to both businesses and individuals, and that leads to the next section which is about achieving faster product-market fit.

Being First To Market Is Not Important, Achieving Faster Product-Market Fit Is

Remember, it’s not innovation until it gets built. — Garry Tan, co-founder Posterous

Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall. — Ray Bradbury, American author and screenwriter

Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress. — Seth Godin, author and former dot com business executive

If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late. — Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder and venture capitalist

The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing. — Walt Disney, Disney co-founder

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. — Thomas Edison, GE

Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough. — Elon Musk, CEO Tesla

Why Innovate2

 

In today’s highly competitive world, especially in the IT industry, being first to market is not important at all, competition will catch up fast and we will become irrelevant if we are not innovating.

Instead, being first in achieving product-market fit is supremely important. A faster fit means the product will enjoy maximum differentiation for long and that is the key to long-term business success and market leadership.

There is no dearth of ideas. Ideas are everywhere. Ideas are useless if they are not useful and are not usable. For a faster product-market fit, Execution Loop and its velocity are of paramount significance.

Execution Loop is about doing whatever it takes to win and doing it fast, really fast, at the speed of thought. Typically, it is about:

  • Defining your hypotheses
  • Validating each of them
  • Favoring decisions today over tomorrow
  • Iterating based on learning and decisions

Execution Loop.png

Innovation Myths

Whilst there are many myths on innovation, a few important ones are worth discussing here:

Myth 1: Innovation is about building new products

New products are important, but it’s not all about new products alone. Innovation can beArrow with word  Fact breaks word Myth. Concept 3D illustration. in functions, business models, and processes. Some examples include Toyota’s Global Production System, Dell’s SCM, and even Starbucks’ perception of the coffee shop.

Myth 2: Innovation is for geniuses

The very essence of innovation gets defeated with this myth, especially in the IT industry. Companies waiting for ‘eureka’ moments from geniuses may well die waiting. It is worth that founders of WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter were not geniuses prior to their respective innovations.

Myth 3: Innovations happen in R&D labs

Well, not exactly true, Anyone can contribute to solving problems in new ways.

Hope you enjoyed the read!

Everyone has an opinion!!


Everyone in an organization, especially in a consumer product development company, has an opinion on what new features should be implemented in the next update to the product. When given an opportunity people come up with all kinds of weird asks with the punch line ‘that’ll be cool‘.

Right to opinion3Okay, it’ll be cool to them and may appear great with its face-value, but may not be appropriate to the targeted market segment and may even go in the direction of derailing the product strategy. It is true that everyone has the right to provide feedback and have opinions but that does not mean every opinion will be correct and will add value to the product.

So who decides what matters the most — and how to justify the same. Winnowing out opinions from true ‘stories & facts’ and justifying the same with a great deal of detailed explanations and debates is an ongoing challenge product managers live with.

When everyone has an opinion and if Product Managers go towards the direction of ‘data’ and ‘market trends’ to look for usage patterns and market direction, where will innovative ideas come from? In my opinion, looking at data is more of a reactive approach, but what can companies do to be more proactive and innovative? How do organizations ‘innovate’; what should be the organizational culture to inculcate innovation?…

Would love to hear your experiences and thoughts.