Building and Managing a World Class Product Management Discipline

My Guest

Rich Mironov is one of North America’s preeminent Product Management thought leaders. He has spent 40 years in the software industry in numerous capacities, and currently acts as a Coach, Consultant, and Interim Executive for CEOs and Heads of Product across Canada and the United States, advising them on a diverse range of issues spanning product, marketing, engineering, and sales.

Rich has led Product Management at six start-ups, and has now consulted for more than 170 technology companies of all sizes, including (among others) Yahoo!, Wealthfront, WhiteHat Security, Wind River, Euclid Analytics, Pushpay and Strategyzer.

He is the author of “Product Bytes“, a hugely popular and long-running blog on software, start-ups, product strategies, Silicon Valley, and the inner life of product managers. Rich is also the author of the book, “The Art of Product Management”.

Rich has a BS (Physics) from Yale, and an MBA from Stanford University.

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Specific Questions and When They’re Asked

Introduction

  • (3:10) Can you describe “The 4 Laws of Software Economics”, the speech and blog post that has become so popular and widely read within the Product Management ecosystem?

Prioritization of Products, Features & Functions

  • (8:10) How would you advise a CEO where a large sales opportunity is contingent on a new feature being added to the product, but that feature isn’t on the roadmap?
  • (13:20) Is there a way to better align the respective incentives of the Sales and Product Management groups, which regularly seem to be at odds?
  • (18:20) What are some best practices that Product teams everywhere should start implementing into their feature/function prioritization process?
  • (24:00) Should internal stakeholders “vote” on features/functions to be prioritized?

Hiring a Head of Product Management

  • (28:45) What should CEOs look for when hiring their Product Management leader, and what should they ask in the interview?
  • (34:55) How do you weigh industry experience vs. general Product Management experience, assuming that it’s hard/rare to find somebody who has both?
  • (37:20) How involved should a Head of Product be in the day-to-day of Product Management (gathering requirements, writing user stories, etc.)?

Product Management 101

  • (41:30) How involved should a CEO be in Product Management? Why?
  • (46:05) How long into the future should a roadmap go out? Why?
  • (50:40) What are some key questions that CEOs should ask when contemplating a “buy” vs. “build” vs. “partner” decision on a new feature, function or product?
  • (57:10) How do you diagnose problems when ship dates/commitments are missed when Engineering often blames Product, and Product often blames Engineering?

Conclusion

  • (1:00:35) If you could scream one thing from the proverbial mountaintops, and every SMB CEO would hear and fully digest your message, what would you say?

Links to All Resources Discussed

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