Monday, December 21, 2009

From the Intrawebs - December 21

I've decided to move the posting of my From the Intrawebs series from Friday to Monday. A bit of a theme showed up this week around presenting

If you find something that you think belongs on this list, send it to me via @SoftwareMaven on Twitter.


  • Achieving Flow in a Lean Startup: I believe customer development and the lean startup philosophy have value in any organization. This is a great overview of the philosophy and how to implement it for somebody who belongs in both the development world and the customer world. This defines most startup founders and product managers both.

  • Stunningly Awful Demo Evolution - Have You Ever Seen Demos Get Shorter?: Is every moment in your demo reflecting a solution to a known customer need? If not, it is time to cut the cruft and rethink that demo!

  • The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint: Product management is a presentation-heavy profession. The 10/20/30 rule is appropriate here as well as pitching venture capitalists.

  • The Myth of the Page Fold: Evidence From User Testing: I see this as an example of why bringing in usability experts (either on-staff or consultants) is important to building software. It is so easy to believe in usability mythos that are completely inaccurate and scientifically proven as such.

  • A not-so-brief chat with Randall Stephenson of AT&T: Perhaps the best Fake Steve Jobs article I've read. A compelling read on the problems with short-term thinking that had so become so deeply ingrained in the US corporate culture. WARNING: Vulgar language lies herein.



Disclaimer: Unless otherwise noted, I have no affiliation with linked properties other than being an interested reader, a happy user, or a potential customer: Nobody pays to receive a link. Any opinions of linked properties are their, not mine. I may or may not agree, but to be on this list I think their opinion is interesting.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Career Change: Product Management Resources


This is part four in my series on becoming a product manager. It is a list of resources that you, as an aspiring product manager, can reference. Part one discusses the career path to a product manager; part two discusses thinking like a product manager, and part three discusses how to get that all-important experience to become a product manager.

There is a pretty broad sampling of books, web sites, communities, and other resources. Product management is a cross-functional discipline, so many of the resources reflect that cross-functional nature. Product management is also a social discipline. If that doesn't come naturally to you, I doubly encourage you to get involved!

Books


Blogs and Websites

This is not actually a list of blogs; it is a list of lists of blogs. There are some very high caliber product management blogs that provide a lot of real-world information on how to manage products.

Other websites that don't fall into other categories also show up in here.


Twitter

There is a lot of good conversation on Twitter. Worth finding people to follow there.


Communities


Training and Education


Associations


Jobs


What resources did I miss? Add your favorite Product Management resources in the comment. You can even include an ad for your service as long as it is truely valuable for the aspiring product manager!

Disclaimer: I have received no payment for any links on this list. Most of the items on the list I have direct experience with, a few I know only by reputation. Make sure to do your own research before you spend money. YMMV. Blah blah blah.

Photo courtesy of Lin Pernille.


Friday, December 11, 2009

From the Intrawebs - December 11

No surprisingly, with the holiday season on top of us, spare time is at a premium. This week's list is small but great!

If you find something that you think belongs on this list, send it to me via @SoftwareMaven on Twitter.



Disclaimer: Unless otherwise noted, I have no affiliation with linked properties other than being an interested reader, a happy user, or a potential customer: Nobody pays to receive a link. Any opinions of linked properties are their, not mine. I may or may not agree, but to be on this list I think their opinion is interesting.

User Experience and the Product Manager

When I started my software development career, interfaces were designed by the programmers. Over time, we added a graphics designer to make the buttons a little prettier, then an interaction designer to make sure screens flowed well, and now we have user experience (UX) designers, who design the entire experience a user has with the company.

As the person responsible for the product, you are ultimately responsible for is usability as well. This means you need to think about user experience and usability. But how much user experience (UX) and usability knowledge does a product manager need to lead a successful product?

The answer, like so many in product management, is some (where some is dependent on your situation). There are some situations where the product manager is responsible for the entire UX, but we will ignore those cases as degenerate and instead focus on the more idyllic situation where you have at an interaction designer.

You need some UX knowledge because somebody needs to be able to make decisions about trade-offs, and that you are the best informed to make those decisions. How many times have you sat down with engineers and discussed technical trade-offs? Even if you don't understand the deep inner-workings of the product, you know enough to discuss what different options mean and make an informed decision that is best for your customers, right?

You need to understand enough about UX to be able to have the same discussions and make the same informed decisions with your UX team. Without that understanding, your UX designer will be forced to make those decisions based on her understanding of the product.

To get you started, here are some resources. These resources are meant to provide you with the fundamentals, not to turn you into a UX designer.

Armed with this knowledge, you will be in a much better position to understand what is and is not working in your product's user experience.

What are your favorites for user interaction design? Leave a link the comments below!

Friday, December 4, 2009

From the Intrawebs - December 4

It has been a busy couple of weeks for the Software Maven, necessitating a brief reprieve from regular posts, and even regular reading. Things should be back on track now and regular posts will resume.

If you find something that you think belongs on this list, send it to me via @SoftwareMaven on Twitter.



Disclaimer: Unless otherwise noted, I have no affiliation with linked properties other than being an interested reader, a happy user, or a potential customer: Nobody pays to receive a link. Any opinions of linked properties are their, not mine. I may or may not agree, but to be on this list I think their opinion is interesting.