Our top 12 product management blog posts from 2019
It’s hard to believe that 2019 (and the decade) is almost over. And my, has it been eventful for the productboard team. This year, we celebrated a new product launch, grew to 100 employees across Prague and San Francisco, and enjoyed a memorable team retreat in Barcelona.
On the content side, we’ve worked hard to consistently deliver valuable resources to our PM community. From strategy and guides to interviews with industry thought leaders, we’ve covered everything product managers need to succeed.
To recap, and to help PMs start their 2020 strong, here are our 12 top-performing blog posts of 2019 — one for every month.
1. A step-by-step guide for conducting better product discovery
“The goal of product discovery is not necessarily to ship features. Rather, it’s to promote an environment of learning that will help you improve your product incrementally and consistently.”
Product discovery helps product teams refine their ideas by deeply understanding real user problems and needs. Martin Felcman, product manager at productboard, outlines a step-by-step discovery process that any product team can learn from.
2. Making a dent in the universe… when your awesome new feature is already “so three months ago”
“When focused on a compelling product vision, we become less reactive and caught up in the day-to-day sentiments of our users. We manage less, lead more, and give ourselves a shot at delivering something truly excellent.”
It’s only a matter of time before excitement cools over even the most earth-shattering of innovations. What does this mean for our work on the products of tomorrow?
This post focuses on what it is like to manage products amidst high expectations and rapid change, and what product managers must do in order to deliver a truly excellent product.
3. Why top product organizations are adopting dedicated product management systems
“The biggest challenge for product managers goes beyond creating and sharing a product roadmap. It starts with figuring out what makes it onto the roadmap in the first place.”
A dedicated product management system may be the missing PM tool you didn’t even know you needed. Here’s how productboard can help you with all product-related activities — from product discovery and prioritization to planning and roadmapping — all in one place.
4. The past, present, and future of FYI: How Hiten Shah turned an obsession with customers into Product Excellence
“From the beginning, we’ve been obsessed with the journey our customers go through. Our laser-focus on customers, their feedback, and behavior helps us make better-informed product decisions at every touchpoint.”
We caught up with product thought leader Hiten Shah to learn about his latest venture, FYI. Read on to learn more about how product-led growth plays into the future of FYI, the way Hiten approaches customer research and competitive analysis, and how customer obsession is the core of FYI’s product experience.
5. The five stages of product strategy
“Product teams stand to benefit greatly from opening up the black box of product management, no longer making decisions in isolation but sharing the rationale with colleagues who become true partners in the process.”
Picture this: Your product team boasts a clear 2-5 year product vision and your entire organization is rallied around it. These five stages of product strategy will help get you there.
6. Fostering better collaboration within product teams: An interview with John Cutler
“My interpretation of product management tools is that they are catalysts for conversations and help product teams develop a shared language. Essentially, these tools help create a coherent story about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.”
Product thinker John Cutler shares insights about his role at Amplitude, the evolving product management discipline, and how to foster better collaboration within product teams.
7. How user research has always driven product decision-making
“The goal of the newspaper is to fit itself as closely as it can to the needs of the reading public… specifically, its problem is to get itself read.” — George Gallup
User research has always been central to building the right products.
In this piece, Product Marketing Manager Winston Christie-Blick gives readers a history lesson on George Gallup, a 1920s newspaper pioneer who studied users closely to develop a better product. He points out many valuable lessons for product managers in Gallup’s thinking and process, making the argument that Gallup’s contributions to the field of product design are considerable, even if he’s not credited for it.
8. What makes a product truly excellent? Team productboard chimes in
“Excellent products 1. solve real problems for real people, and improve upon past status quos, 2. are simple and straightforward to use, even for people who aren’t especially tech-savvy, and 3. spark delight.”
Which products are considered truly excellent by their users, and what are their defining characteristics? In the kickoff post of our Age of Product Excellence series, the productboard team shares their favorite digital products and why they love them.
9. How product managers can identify what customers really need
“When customers ask us for [a feature], they envision the ideal solution for their own needs. Perhaps because we humans tend to assume our own needs represent objective, universal problems, we overestimate the ability of others to understand them.”
What do users really need? Hint: It’s often not what they ask for. We illustrate how product managers can get to the bottom of user problems by dissecting a real-life example from productboard.
10. Certify Inc./Chrome River’s Co-CPO on leading a product organization spanning multiple brands
“I’ve learned the most in terms of taking the nugget of an idea that comes through the sales process and going directly to real customers for research. Because if you just build a feature that a salesperson puts on your spreadsheet, nine times out of ten it’s not the right thing.”
Claire Milligan, former Co-CPO and current General Manager of Certify Inc./Chrome River, is a product powerhouse. We sat down with her early this year for a discussion on leading a multi-brand product organization.
Dive in for her comprehensive prioritization process, the philosophy behind her human and data-driven product strategy, and her view on what it takes to achieve business transformation.
11. Defining objectives and key results for your product team
“If everything is important. Nothing is important.”
OKRs provide a flexible hierarchy of objectives that cascade down through every team and individual. Everyone knows what to focus on. Everyone’s objectives are aligned. Here’s how product teams can leverage this framework.
12. How to improve your product with customer feedback you already have
“If it were as simple as listening to and acting on every single piece of feedback, there would be no function of product management.”
What are the challenges of modern product management? How do you improve products with customer feedback that is already being collected? When shouldn’t you take customer feedback at face value? Andrej Danko, VP of Product at productboard, and Travis Kaufman, VP Product Growth at Gainsight, tackle these important questions.
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productboard is a product management system that enables teams to get the right products to market faster. Built on top of the Product Excellence framework, productboard serves as the dedicated system of record for product managers and aligns everyone on the right features to build next. Access a free trial of productboard today.