Essential Articles

This page provides you with quick access to some of the key articles Roman has written. They are grouped into seven topics: product leadership, product vision and strategy, product roadmaps, product roles, product management processes, product backlog, and learning and development for product professionals. Happy reading!

Product Leadership

Decoding Product Leadership

Strong product leadership is crucial to offering successful products and enabling product-led growth. Unfortunately, there is disagreement and confusion about what exactly product leadership is and who should exercise it. Is product leadership limited to someone working as a head of product? Or can—and should—others lead in product management too? In this article, I share my advice to help you effectively practise product leadership and become great at leading others.

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What Should a Head of Product Do?

Becoming a head of product is a career aspiration for many product managers and product owners. But what exactly should a head of product do? Which are the responsibilities the individual should fulfil? Read on to find out my answer.

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Leading Through Shared Goals

Ensuring that development teams and stakeholders are moving in the same direction is crucial to achieving product success. But aligning people can sometimes feel like herding cats. In the worst case, they go off in different directions and create work results that don’t fit together. In this article, I describe my framework for setting effective goals to help you guide and align the stakeholders and the development teams.

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Building High-Performing Product Teams

“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team,” Steve Jobs once said. This insight also applies to product management: As product people, we can’t achieve product success on our own . We rely on the support of others including stakeholders and development teams. This article shares my advice on fostering collaboration and forming an effective maximise the chances of offering a great product.

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Tips for Growing a Product Management Team

Growth is something wonderful: It means that individuals, teams, and products prosper. Growing a product management team, however, throws up a number of challenges: How big should the team become? How fast should people be added? And how should the individuals work together? This articles discusses how you can address these challenges and it shares my recommendations for growing in an effective manner.

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Product Vision and Strategy

Six Qualities of a Great Product Vision

The product vision can be a powerful tool to align stakeholders and development teams. When used effectively, it acts as the product’s true north, and it inspires and guides people. This article helps you create such a vision. It describes six essential qualities that a compelling product vision has to have.

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What Exactly is a Product Strategy?

The product strategy is possibly the most important product management plan. But what exactly is it? Which information should it contain? Do you need a strategy for your product? How can you ensure that it is likely to result in a successful product and how do you keep it up to date? These are the questions I am going to answer in this article.

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The Product Vision Board

The vision plays an important role in bringing a new product to life: It acts as the overarching goal guiding everyone involved in the development effort. Equally important is the product strategy, the path chosen to attain the vision. Without a shared vision and an effective strategy, people are likely to pull in different directions, and the chances of creating a successful product are slim. While vision and strategy are key, describing them can be challenging. This post introduces the Product Vision Board, a tool that helps you capture the vision and product strategy.

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How to Choose the Right KPIs for Your Product

A key challenge of working with KPIs is to select the right indicators: There are so many different metrics to choose from including daily active users, net promoter score, and profit, to name just a few. What’s more, senior managers and stakeholders can have strong views on which indicators should be used. This article helps you select the metrics that really matter and are truly helpful for your product.

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Roman’s Product Strategy Model

Making the right strategic decisions is crucial to achieve product success. If it’s not clear, for example, what a product’s value proposition is and what its stand-out features are, then it will be difficult to create the desired business value. But I find that many product teams do not use a systematic approach to create and evolve a product strategy. To put it differently, they lack a product strategy model. In this article, I describe the model that I have developed.

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Product Roadmap

Three Qualities of Great Product Roadmaps

The product roadmap can be an incredibly useful planning tool that aligns the stakeholders and development teams and communicates how a product is likely to evolve. Sadly, that’s not the case for all roadmaps. To ensure that your product roadmap is effective, you should make it goal-oriented or outcome-based, shared, and actionable, as I explain in this article.

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The GO Product Roadmap

The product roadmap is an important product management tool. But effectively applying it can be challenging. Roadmaps are too often focused on features. This can make it hard to achieve agreement and alignment, and it can result in a plan that is too detailed and prone to change. This article introduces a new product roadmap template: the GO product roadmap, a goal-oriented roadmap that combines goals and features in a novel way, making it ideally suited for agile, dynamic environments.

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10 Tips for Creating an Agile Product Roadmap

A product roadmap is a powerful tool to describe how a product is likely to grow, to align the stakeholders, and to acquire a budget for developing the product. But creating an effective roadmap is not easy, particularly in an agile context where changes occur frequently and unexpectedly. This post shares ten practical tips to helps you create an actionable agile product roadmap.

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The Product Roadmap and the Product Backlog

The product backlog is a great tool to capture ideas and requirements. But it is less suited to describe how the product is likely to develop in the longer term. This is where the product roadmap comes in. But how do the product backlog and the product roadmap relate? Is the backlog derived from the roadmap or is it the other way round? Should the product owner be responsible for both artefacts? Read on to find out my recommendations.

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Product Roles

Product Manager vs. Product Owner

For years, people have debated what the difference between the product manager and the product owner role is, if the roles can coexist or not, and which one should be used. This article shares my thoughts on the topic and reflects on the origin of the product owner role.

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Six Types of “Product” Owners

While the product owner role is not new—it emerged in Scrum in the second half of the 1990ies—there is still confusion about what it means to be a product owner. It’s not uncommon for me to meet someone who refers to themself as a product owner, only to discover that they own a product part but not the entire product. Other times, I meet someone who says they are a product owner. But it turns out that the person manages several products, an entire product portfolio. This article helps you reflect on and improve the way the product owner role is applied at your workplace. It describes six common types of “product” owners. It shows how the roles differ and relate to each other, and it explains how you can effectively apply them.

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Scaling the Product Owner Role

In theory, the product owner is one person. But in practice, managing a larger, complex product is usually a shared effort. But how can product ownership be split without resulting in decisions by committee and creating a weak or even inconsistent product? In this post, I discuss different techniques to help you scale the product owner role successfully and I explain when each technique should be applied.

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Product Leadership in Scrum

Product owners can take on too many responsibilities, become too tactical and inward-focused, and lose sight of their main job: maximising the value a product creates. Instead of managing the team or establishing the right process, product owner should manage the product and exercise product leadership, as I explain in this article.

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Product Management Process

A Brief Guide to Product Strategizing

When practiced correctly, product discovery maximises the chances of achieving product success. Unfortunately, I find that it’s not uncommon that companies lack an effective product discovery approach. This article offers help. It explains what product discovery is, why it matters, and how it helps you maximise the chances of creating a successful product. It discusses when, how and by whom product discovery should be carried out. Finally, it describes how product discovery helps you progress existing products.

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Establishing an Effective Product Strategy Process

Developing a successful product is not down to luck or trying hard enough. Instead, product success starts with making the right strategic decisions. But as product people, we are often so preoccupied with the tactics—be it dealing with an urgent support request or writing new user stories—that we sometimes no longer see the wood for the trees. In the worst case, we neglect the strategic work and end up with an unsuccessful product. To avoid this pitfall, you should establish an effective product strategy process, as I discuss in this article.

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Tips for Effective Product Strategy Reviews

The product strategy describes how you plan to achieve product success. It typically covers the product’s value proposition, market, stand-out features, and business goals. While a strategy is key to creating a winning product, it would be a mistake to blindly execute it and assume it will always stay valid. As your product develops and grows, and as the market and the technologies evolve, the product strategy has to change, too. You should therefore regularly review and adjust it. The following tips will help you with this.

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Sprint Planning Tips for Product Owners

As its name suggests, the sprint planning meeting sets up the sprint and establishes what can be done. While it’s an important meeting, I find that some product owners struggle with it. The following tips help you reflect on how you use the meeting and discover how you can get the most out of it.

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Sprint Review Tips for Product Owners

The sprint review meeting is maybe the most important Scrum event for product people—it helps you collect feedback and make the right product decisions thereby increasing the chances of creating a successful product. But I find that product owners are not always clear on who should attend the meeting, how it should be run, and how to collect the relevant feedback. This article answers these questions and shares my tips for getting the most out of the sprint review.

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Product Backlog

Product Goals in Scrum

The 2020 edition of the Scrum Guide introduced a new type of goal, the product goal. This article shares my recommendations to help you as the person in charge of the product set effective product goals.

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10 Tips to Fully Leverage the Product Backlog

Working with the product backlog can be challenging, and many Scrum product owners wrestle with overly long and detailed backlogs. This article shares ten practical tips that help you take full advantage of your product backlog.

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Prioritising a Product Backlog When Everything is Important

The product backlog is an essential product management tool: It captures detailed product decisions and directs the work of the development team. The latter requires it to be prioritised or ordered. But how can you prioritise a product backlog when everything seems equally important? This article shares my answer. It recommends taking four steps to get to an effective, prioritised product backlog.

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When should Product Backlog Refinement Take Place?

A refined product backlog facilitates the development of a successful product: It incorporates new insights and learning, and it provides items that are ready to be implemented. But when should you work on the backlog? Before the new sprint starts or afterwards? And how can you decide which option is appropriate? In this post, I discuss four options with their benefits and drawbacks to help you make the right choice.

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Learning and Development

A Learning Roadmap for Product People

Working in product management can be very rewarding. But it can also be very challenging. One of the reasons is the diverse skills that are needed to succeed as the person in charge of the product. To acquire and deepen them, you will benefit from a focused learning plan. This article discusses such a plan in the form of a learning roadmap. I explain what a learning roadmap is, how you can create one, and how you can effectively put the plan into action and become an even better product professional.

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The T-Shaped Product Professional

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.

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Growth Mindset in Product Management

Learning is crucial for us product people. As our products change and eventually mature, we must change the way we manage them. As our jobs change, and we have to grow into them and acquire new skills. Additionally, product management is a comparatively young profession that is still evolving; new models and techniques emerge. This article discusses how embracing a growth mindset helps you succeed as a product professional.

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