Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Everything you wanted to KNOL about Software Manifestos!

I collected over 25 different software development related manifestos and placed them into Google's Knol platform to encourage discussion between developers, designers, product managers, and marketers. 

My process was first to capture their relationships in a mindmap and try to standardize the format to make it easier to compare them.  It was similar to researching a competitive space for a product and then attempting to organize the information in order to make valid observations and identify challenges and opportunities.  The information, since it was text based with more than 7 levels of detail, became too unwieldy to share in a graphical form.  Google Knol provided a great platform to share all of the manifestos and encourage discussion.  A cross between a blog and wiki, Knol was very easy to set up and use.

Join the conversation, contribute your insights - what do manifestos reveal about the nature of software product development?

What do you KNOL about Software Manifestos? Contribute your perspective http://bit.ly/bepUOT

I will return to develop a taxonomy to further the discussion of the manifestos.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What is XAuth?

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Note: the acronymns should be capitalized as follows: XAuth, OAuth, OpenID

Friday, April 16, 2010

Who Cares? Guiding Products to Greatness: SVPMA April meeting report

On April 7, 2010, roughly 50 Silicon Valley Product Management Association members were treated to a presentation entitled Who Cares? Guiding Products to Greatness with Kimberly Wiefling of Wiefling Consulting. I was not prepared to be entertained, to learn how to ROAR with laughter, and to have things tossed out into the audience, both figuratively and literally.

Weifling is a physicist by education, who spent 10 years at Hewlett Packard in product development program management and engineering leadership. She served as VP of Program Management at a Xerox Parc spinoff. Kimberly has helped to start, run and grow a dozen small businesses. She’s the co-founder of the Open Kilowatt Institute (OKI) and the co-chair of the SDForum Engineering Leadership Special Interest Group (EL SIG). She currently spends about half of her time traveling in Japan facilitating leadership, innovation and execution workshops to help Japanese companies solve global problems profitably. She is the author of “Scrappy Project Management - The 12 Predictable and Avoidable Pitfalls Every Project Faces”, recently published in Japanese. Explaining Japanese companies’ appreciation of her emphatic personal style and approach, she pointed to Japanese popular culture that embraces game shows that are “wild, messy, noisy and too energetic.”

Wiefling is a walking resource regarding customer-centric project leadership, timeline risk analysis, portfolio management, risk assessment and mitigation, and all the tools necessary to develop products more predictably, which she doesn’t hesitate to share. What is uniquely delightful is how Wiefling communicates the essential aspects of successful product management leadership – with humor and audience involvement, memorable sayings and acronymns. She doesn’t just talk about great leadership tactics, she demonstrates every communication skill from using powerful visuals, to intriguing the audience with questions designed to draw upon relevant experiences, involving the audience in small groups to interact in response to a challenge, rewarding the teams with pertinent giveaways (buttons & stretch toys), and generously sharing her own business and personal experiences.

Wiefling demonstrated techniques for effective meetings that ROAR – Roles are clear, Objectives are clarified and kept foremost in the minds of the participants throughout the event, Agendas serve as a flexible framework for the creativity of the group and are used to keep the group on track and build momentum for achieving the required results, Rules of engagement enable everyone to participate in a respectful and productive way that builds commitment to results beyond the event conclusion.

Wiefling is clearly passionate about business leadership via product and project management. She discussed the benefits of concurrent engineering and integrated product development that results in less development time, fewer engineering changes, less time to market, higher quality and worker productivity. She identified key product engineering difficulties and dismantled the root causes of project failures. She touched on how email is the illusion of communication, and discussed the PRONG way to managing and influencing stakeholders. (Prioritize stakeholder interests, Relationship building, Open two-way feedback mechanisms, Needs and wants – know them, Goals – establish shared goals.)

She repeatedly emphasized her essential point – recognizing who cares – who is going to use it, what are their needs, who are the stakeholders and how do they measure success. The persistent question is, “who is majoring it?” She implored product managers to be completely and unrepentantly obsessed with the customer – and to determine who the customer is in every situation. She shared an example of a stakeholder analysis using a communication map that portrays each of the stakeholders, how they relate to other members of the team, what they need from you and what you need from them, how they could enable or hinder success, and how you will manage communication with each. This provides a helicopter view of the team relationships, dynamics, resource needs, requirements and feedback and enables you to tune into the “WIIFM” channel for each stakeholder. (What’s In It For Me)

She talked at length about managing and influencing stakeholders’ expectations for a product from the beginning by setting expectations using a one-page document. Identify what the product is AND isn’t, the definition of success, how success will be measured, who will work on it, critical success factors, assumptions, major risks and mitigation plans, relative priority of schedule, scope, budget, quality and other factors, target audience, distribution channels, roadmap of business driven milestones, rough budget and anything else that you recognize must not be left to chance. She suggested that if you can’t fit the intent of the product on one page, then it’s probably too complicated. Create a visual indicator of the route to success that indicates progress to inspire the team.

Wiefling insists that “impossible is in the eye of the beholders”. The root cause of project failures is a failure to include the perspectives of the critical stakeholders at the appropriate times. Recognize that smart people love complicated solutions even when a simple solution would work better. Smart people learn from experience, wise people learn from the experience of others. Common sense is not common practice. Product management is a high risk profession – you have to do the right thing for your customer and product and some days you’ll be a hero, some days you’ll be a zero. If you’re going to be a great product manager, you’d better keep your backbone intact, be prepared to be respected but not necessarily liked, and keep your resume updated!

Friday, April 9, 2010

I am a PM cross-certification Agnostic!

I proudly proclaim my status as a Certified Product Manager and Certified Product Marketing Manager.  I have also been through the training for the Agile Certification but have yet to sit for the test.  I chose to be certified by the Association of International Product Marketing and Management because the certification was developed in Silicon Valley by people who worked in the trenches of software technology companies, and they spoke my language and understood my pain.  It is not based on a specific framework or philosophy, nor limited by a focus on a specific industry or type of product per se, and covers the full extent of best practices, methodologies, analysis and everything that I had encountered working with medium sized, enterprise, small businesses and start-ups.

I had been entrenched in website product development from early on, so weekly updates, continuous iterations, short launch cycles and cross functional collaboration had to be incorporated from the get go.  I found the AIPMM Certification training and testing to cover all of my experience, as well as enhance my appreciation for the trials and tribulations I encountered in being responsible for leading the product marketing at 2 different start-ups, transforming the culture at a database software company, and dealing with the customer and partner community when an off-the-shelf web authoring software company transitioned into a service model.

I am proud to be on the AIPMM Ambassadors Council and will gladly speak about the program.  However, I do that out of service to professional standards and to forward recognition of product management in technology driven companies.  I highly recommend attending an AIPMM Product Managers Education Conference, product camp and participating in the online communities because I have found them to be valuable, educational, healing and validating.

Ultimately, I am an agnostic in that I support product management certification, regardless of which certification training path you choose.  I would gladly obtain all of the certifications available, as any professional committed to excellence would desire to continue their education and expand their expertise in their field.  The Pragmatic Marketing framework is an excellent tool for visually identifying the various functional demarcations in an organization.  The PDMA NPDP focuses on new product development principles and strategies.  All of the certifications are valuable, exciting, and provide a foundation for talking about complex issues and considerations necessary to survive high pressure situations when you are responsible for making decisions that will affect the product profitability and ultimate job security of your team.

So I say, choose whichever you want, but Get Certified!


Because there is not yet a Masters of Product Management degree,
Because it is still a young profession that requires persistence, passion and willingness to fail, and to go right back to another start-up, another product launch, another customer segmentation or competitive market analysis,
Because I don't know if people choose to be a product manager, or if they find themselves elbow deep in giving birth to a product and wrestling with feature trade-offs before they discover there is a method to their madness that is called product management,
Because we need to support each other to generate respect from the people who want to build products without considering the implications and consequences of the market feasibility,
Because if we're doing our job right, we may be out of work in a reorganization or because we were willing to do and say the right thing for the product rather than to protect our own selfish interests,
Because every other profession has a career path and we are carving out the road map for product management as a profession of choice and distinction in a constantly changing economic and tech landscape.

I would proudly teach, promote and evangelize the Pragmatic Marketing Framework as well as AIPMM membership.  To me there is no conflict as I have not been entrenched in the behind the scenes political struggles that always exist between organizations with different approaches to solving similar problems.

If there are different options for certification, they must have originated in response to distinct needs in different types of organizations.  I don't believe that membership or association with one certification requires exclusivity.  Different certifications are similar to different degree specializations, or the same degrees acquired from different universities.  It is ALL GOOD!  I am delighted there are choices and options.

I say GET CERTIFIED and let me know which you chose.

The more certified Product Managers, the better for the profession, the companies, the products, the market and the customers!

Thank you to both Brian Lawley of 280 Group and the Cranky Product Manager for constantly and blatantly forwarding the profession by transparently communicating your passionate commitment to quality product management!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Self notes - replicating using Googlewave for project management

Notes to myself:

DONE: coin the term "biztegrity" and explain its relevance
Check out this SlideShare presentation : What Is Biztegrity?http://slidesha.re/b2vCLR

blog agnostic position re: PM certifications
DONE: I am a PM cross certification agnostic! http://bit.ly/dA88op @crankypm @280group #prodmgmt #prodmktg
report on last night's Silicon Valley Product Management Association event
DONE: http://bit.ly/dftQ3s
UPDATE: waiting for slides and attendance report
UPDATE: received slides, thanks Grace and Helene!

use prezi to showcase history of software development manifestos
UPDATE:  Created Knol collection of more 27 Software Development Manifestos http://bit.ly/cgEqI3
UPDATE: spent some time utilizing tool
UPDATE: shared mindmap of 22 manifestos http://bit.ly/c3kZxw

prepare FAQs for tomorrow's webinar participants
UPDATE: uploaded video to show at beginning
DONE: First webinar a success!  Small learning curve for participants.
NEXT STEPs: create webinar schedule and launch plan