Recently I gave a keynote address to the Mind The Product Conference in London, and in that talk I wanted to illustrate, by example, the essential role that very strong product managers play for their team and their company. Most people noticed that all six of my examples were female. I didn’t call that out explicitly during my talk because my view is their performance speaks for itself. But many people did ask me about the gender aspect afterwards (If you haven’t yet read that article, I hope you read it first as this article will make much more sense if you know just what traits are necessary for strong product managers).
Most people by now have read Marc Andreessen’s Why Software Is Eating The World. This was written back in 2011, and I’ve been watching his predictions play out in companies all around the world. While my focus is primarily on technology-powered software products, services and devices, I’m also very interested to find other industries where the techniques of modern product are used to disrupt their spaces.
This has been a tough year for the technology industry. In March we lost Andy Grove, and in April we lost Bill Campbell. Sadly, in May we lost Bruce Williams. Bruce had been fighting Pancreatic Cancer for the past year and a half. He had been in an experimental program at UCSF, which extended his life at least a year.
There is a very common fallacy about developers in our industry, and I think it hurts countless companies.
Exactly a year ago I was invited to give a keynote at the Craft Conference in Budapest and I discussed the 10 biggest reasons why product teams fail. You can watch that talk here, or read the narrative article here.
Note 1: I’m focusing in this article on women, however, my points here are intended to apply to all under-represented groups.
In my last article on Discovery Sprints I mentioned the concept of Discovery Coaches and several people asked me about that, so I thought I’d describe more about what this role is and when it’s helpful.