Leadership vs. Management

Posted by marty cagan on June 27, 2015

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I would argue that two of the most importance competencies in building great product organizations, indeed nearly any significant organizational undertaking, are leadership and management.  Yet so few people actually consider what each of these really means.  Many people just lump the two together.  Some think this is what’s taught in MBA programs (it’s not).  And sadly there are many that have never experienced strong leaders or strong managers.

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Product Fail

Posted by marty cagan on June 5, 2015

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NOTE: This article is a narrative version of a talk I’ve given for developers at the Craft Conference and for product managers and designers at Mind The Product.  

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Autonomy vs. Initiatives

Posted by marty cagan on May 8, 2015

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To continue on the series on team autonomy (see autonomy vs. leverage, autonomy vs. mission and autonomy vs. ownership), I wanted to add one more important dimension to this discussion which concerns the practical implications of working on large, multi-team initiatives.  

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Autonomy vs. Ownership

Posted by marty cagan on April 14, 2015

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In my recent articles I have been exploring the critically important but complex topic of autonomy of product teams.  First we discussed the trade-offs between autonomy and leverage, and then we discussed the trade-offs between autonomy and mission.  From your feedback I know this is a subject that is important to many of you, and I realized there was one more dimension to this discussion that I should also put out there, and that has to do with the trade-offs between autonomy and the concept of ownership, especially code ownership.

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Autonomy vs. Mission

Posted by marty cagan on April 6, 2015

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In my last article I discussed the trade-offs between the sometimes conflicting goals of team autonomy versus leverage.  Quite a few of you wrote to me and said this was a hot topic at your company, and several asked about the same basic topic, but less from an engineering perspective and more from a product and design perspective.  This issue comes up enough in different forms that I thought it was worth elaborating on.

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Autonomy vs. Leverage

Posted by marty cagan on March 10, 2015

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Virtually every leading tech company has jumped on the empowered, dedicated/durable, cross-functional, collaborative product team bandwagon, and I think things are much better for it.  I don’t see very many companies that are still using the old models (primarily the pool model).

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The Power of Customer Misbehavior

Posted by marty cagan on January 20, 2015

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There are of course many ways to come up with significant new product ideas.  Historically, the two main approaches have been: 1) to try to assess the market opportunities and pick potentially lucrative areas where significant pain exists; and 2) to look at what the technology or data enables – what’s just now possible – and match that up with the significant pain.   You can think of the first as following the market, and the second as following the technology.  Either way can get you to product market fit.

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Shared Learning

Posted by marty cagan on December 12, 2014

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One of the tenets of Product Discovery, Lean UX and Lean Startup methodology in general, is to try and avoid or reduce waste.  Mostly that means tackling the situation where we design, build, test and deploy a solution that fails to meet its objectives.  However, in this article I wanted to focus on another form of waste, one I find particularly frustrating, one that I’ve seen in countless teams, and one that I believe is completely avoidable.

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Establishing a True Product Culture

Posted by marty cagan on October 28, 2014

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In my last article I discussed the differences between an IT Mindset and a Product Mindset.  I must have struck a chord because I heard from so many people, from all over the world, that they were stuck in an “IT Mindset” organization.  Unsurprisingly, their next question was how do they change their organization, or in some cases, their question was around whether it’s possible to change an IT Mindset organization, or do they need to just leave and move to a startup?

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Product vs. IT Mindset

Posted by marty cagan on October 14, 2014

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The role of the product organization is to consistently deliver significant new value to the business through continuous product innovation.  At a startup, the product team either innovates and provides real value or the startup dies.  However, in larger, more established companies, product teams very often lose their ability to deliver that ongoing value. They just make minor optimizations to existing products. Or they continue to turn out more features that don’t make a difference.

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