November 3

Product Planning — Getting Perspective, Holding Steady and Staying Competitive

The Thirty Year Plan. At INDUSTRY, Ken Norton delivered a talk that got everyone in the room talking. In it, he urged the audience to imagine what their product might look like in 30 years. Yes, 30 years. Norton assured us that in doing so, you can avoid being bedeviled with details of little consequence and instead come to terms with rapid technological change. Smart product people will ultimately then be able to take immediate advantage of this new perspective in their shorter-term planning.

Building Data-Driven Product Roadmaps. We know that there’s power in data. It’s our greatest weapon against random subjectivity from multiple stakeholders in a project. But where do you get this data? Michael Peach describes several places from where data can be sourced, including iterative experiments, user behavior, and business goals.

A Competition-Minded Roadmap. There’s nothing like a competitor announcing a ground-breaking new product to scupper your own product roadmap. With executives getting antsy, it’s easy to be distracted and possibly even pushed in directions where you had no intention of going. Mike Belsito believes there are ways to keep on track and to maintain ownership of your roadmap by better knowing your customer and how you are positioned in relation to them. By being confident of your competitive advantage you’ll be less likely to make knee-jerk reactions and instead hold a steady course.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Product Planning. Perhaps pre-echoing Shark Tank’s Mr. Wonderful’s comments that weak products should be brought out the back of a barn and shot, Marty Cagan wrote this enlightening post about why weak products are kept alive in 2009. According to Cagan, product planning is primarily about deciding which projects to invest in. So it’s crucial that you are aware of some of the reasons why projects may continue despite not being a worthwhile investment, including pride, denial, and hubris.

Paul McAvinchey

About the author

For over 20 years, Paul has been building and collaborating on digital products with fast-growing startups and global brands, including AOL and WMS Gaming. Currently, he's a co-founder of Product Collective, a worldwide community of product people. Members collaborate on in the exclusive Member Hub, meet at INDUSTRY: The Product Conference, listen to, learn at Product Interviews and get a weekly newsletters that includes best practices in product management. In recent years he led business development at DXY, a leading product design firm in the Midwest, and product innovation at MedCity Media, a publishing startup acquired by Breaking Media in 2015.


You may also like