Leadership and People Skills

5 Tips for Building Empathy with Users

Being able to empathise with the users and understand their feelings and thoughts is key to offer a successful product. This article shares five tips to help you develop empathy for your users and create a deeper understanding of their needs.

Dealing with Difficult Stakeholders and Team Members

Experiencing disagreement and conflict is part of our job as product managers and product owners. We work with a broad range of people from different departments, and it’s only natural that we don’t always agree and sometimes clash. But constructively navigating conflict can be challenging. This article shares my recommendations for dealing with difficult people and successfully addressing conflict.

The T-Shaped Product Manager

Product management is a multi-faceted discipline. This makes our work interesting and varied. But it can also make it hard to see which skills we need to develop so we can do an even better job or take on more responsibility. In this post, I discuss balancing product-specific skills with generic product management capabilities. I suggest developing a t-shaped skills profile that ensures that you have the necessary deep skills to progress your product, as well as the broad skills required to systematically deal with common, recurring product management challenges.

Boost Your Product Leadership Power

As product people—product managers and product owners—we usually don’t hold any positional power. Unlike a line manager, we cannot reward people by offering a pay rise or bonus, for instance. We cannot tell people what to do either, as the development team members and stakeholders don’t report to us. This puts us in a challenging position: We must lead others to achieve product success but we cannot leverage traditional management instruments. Luckily, there are other power sources you can tap into to boost your leadership, as I explain in this article.

Making Unanimous Product Decisions

Unanimity is a powerful approach to take advantage of the collective wisdom of the stakeholders and development team members and generate strong buy-in and shared ownership of a decision. But it can be challenging to apply, and if used incorrectly, it can create mediocre results. This post helps you leverage unanimity to make successful product decisions. It explains when and how to use it, and it discusses common traps and how to avoid them.

Use Decision Rules to Make Better Product Decisions

As product managers and product owners, we make a myriad of decisions—from shaping the product strategy and determining the product roadmap to deciding the detailed functionality of our products. But do we make all these decisions effectively? And do we always secure the necessary buy-in? This post helps you make better decisions. It discusses five common decision rules and explains when to apply them.

Should Product Owners be Servant-Leaders?

Being an effective product owner or product manager requires leadership: the development team and stakeholders need guidance and direction to collaborate and achieve product success. But as product people, we usually don’t have any authority over the individuals; we can’t tell people what to do. Can servant-leadership—leading others by serving them—help product owners and product managers guide and direct people?

Mindfulness Tips for Product Managers and Product Owners

As product managers and product owners, we are busy people with a diverse range of responsibilities. This makes it all too easy to hurry from one meeting to the next, to try to accomplish several things at once, and to get lost in the busyness of our work. Unfortunately, this approach is not only unproductive, it also affects our wellbeing. Mindfulness offers a different path: becoming more aware of what we do and how we do it so we can make better decisions and be more creative. This post shares six practical mindfulness tips to help you work better and feel happier.

8 Tips for Collaborating with Development Teams

The development team is a key partner for every product manager and product owner: the team designs and builds the actual product. But it’s not always easy to effectively guide and work with the team. This post shares eight tips to make your collaboration with the development team even more effective, thereby increasing the chances of creating a successful product.

Five Tips for Introducing Product Management to Your Company

Product management plays a vital role in the digital age: it enables innovation and growth. It’s therefore not surprising that more and more companies establish product management groups—including retailers, publishers, and banks that traditionally don’t employ product managers. But successfully introducing product management is not easy: I have seen a number of businesses struggle with this challenge. This post provides five tips to help you succeed with introducing product management to your company.