Product Management :: Enterprise-style
After WisePatient was acquired by a larger company (~10 to > ~175 employees), I’ve been very interested in learning how the largest of companies (think Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo) deliver software/web products to the market. Especially after reading articles about Facebook pushing to production twice per day, without test team, with a very large number of engineers.
I’ve done a fair bit of research over the last year and a few notes, SlideShares, and blog posts later I’ve found some simple and powerful concepts around the Product Management process.
Product Management Ideas
- Accept Ideas From Everywhere - Collaboration across the organization with ideas coming from everywhere (not just “product people”);
- Prioritization, Make a List - Compile all new and ongoing (maintenance) efforts into a list and rank from 1 to 5. (think about: How useful will it be to existing/new users, will it aid client/user retention (decrease churn), what is chance for success (level of risk internal and external), does it diversify/complement revenue streams(s), what is level of effort required relative to impact, etc.) Note: Make sure the decision makers prioritizing truly understand the product/market - otherwise, expect failure;
- Small, Agile Engineering Teams - Do not document yourself to death! Engineering teams of 3 for small projects and teams of multiples of 3 for larger projects. Engineers work on project for 3-4 months, then transition to next project (give the guys some love!);
- Organization - Start a launch calendar, review weekly - don’t BS status updates, keep it real;
- Product/Market Fit + the User - User-centered design means building products that people really want and start with user’s needs and desires for designing products and services. Talk to and know your user well and know your market - big differences between B>C, B>B, and B>B>C products;
- Goal Alignment + Accountable Distributed Decision Making - With multiple products and the need for quick decision making, aligning company goals from the CEO to the 1st year engineer is critical. It’s as simple as: 1) What do I want to accomplish? 2) How will success be measured?
This is a compilation of notes from various sources. Any other ideas? Great websites to better understand enterprise product management?
Emerging Fund Managers :: Brand
During business school my friend Aziz and I collaborated on a white paper with the goal of better understanding institutional investor perspectives of emerging fund managers. In order to best capture the motivations and objectives, interviews with various institutional investors were conducted to delve deeper into: the motivations to make commitments to first time fund managers, the evaluation criteria, specific requirements unique to first time fund managers, and return expectations.
Since business school I’ve had many conversations friends & acquaintances involved in principal investing (both GPs and LPs) and I continue to see the importance of one key recurring theme - brand. Specifically, the importance of the brand of a firms key personnel (within an industry, with successful entrepreneurs, etc) and it’s correlation to deal flow/access - the lifeblood of an alternative investment firm.
In the past I’ve always been a bit of naysayer when it comes to brand-building, PR, etc. However, after skimming back through the paper, and reflecting on my experiences, rising above the noise is critical.
Any other thoughts on the importane of brand amongst investors (GPs/LPs)? Does brand really drive deal flow and increase returns? Send me a message if you’d like the paper.