Thanks to those who joined us for the second session in our enterprise SaaS Product Power Breakfast series, Thursdays at 8AM. The link to our third session is here.
- Dave shouldn’t use airpods (and won’t henceforth). And we need to follow mute/unmute protocol better as these devices pick up the slightest noise and jam the audio of the speaker.
- We covered what I see as the number one risk in product management as expressed by the all too frequent epitaph: “they weren’t strategic.” That is, in their quest to keep everyone happy too many PM leaders end up steadily advancing in small increments across a broad front. In their effort to keep everyone happy, they make no one happy.
- We discussed the bicycle wheel problem in PM: the PM sits at the center of a wheel with lots of spokes and hardest part of the job is managing the pull from each of them. Spokes, e.g., include: sales/AEs, sales/SEs, product marketing, analyst relations, customer success, customer support, professional services, existing customers, prospective customers, the CTO, engineering (e.g., technical debt), and more.
- We had a great discussion of technical debt and types of it: platform-driven (e.g., built on an outdated one), shortcut-driven (e.g., deliberately took shortcuts), architectural (e.g., designed it the wrong way, overlooked redundancy), and execution-driven (e.g., wrote bad code).
- We touched on the notion of internal platform, a topic worth a session in its own right.
- We discussed technical debt vs. legacy code. (See this for a great discussion of the latter.) We discussed legacy org vs. legacy code (i.e., with a legacy org there’s little point in refactoring legacy code as you’re likely to repeat the same mistakes).
- We touched on Trust Releases as a great strategy for managing technical debt, and the role of architects in them.
- We talked a bit about the challenges involved in adding a second product — a topic large enough to warrant a future session on the transition and associated pitfalls, or as Thomas calls it, the (perilous) second album problem.
- We discussed the difference between existing core product, new potential core product and bright shiny object (BSO) product/features designed to keep the company at the front of the industry conversation.
- We discussed strategic vs. opportunistic customers and the CEO’s ability to force sales to “sell what’s on the truck,” particularly to opportunistic customers — if it’s a clearly expressed and enforced ground rule.
- We (barely) touched on the concept of “holistic PM” and why/how PMs should avoid becoming feature addicts and think of themselves more as GMs, even if the company is years away from having an actual GM structure.
We hope to see you on session 3, Thursday, April 8th, and 8AM Pacific.