Essential Articles

This page provides you with quick access to some of the key articles Roman has written on product leadership, product vision, strategy and roadmaps, product roles, product management process, and product backlog. Happy reading!

Product Leadership

How to Choose the Right Product Management Leadership Styles

Originally published on 12 Jan 2016

Being a successful product manager or product owner requires more than product management know-how. While being able to create a valid product strategy, develop an actionable product roadmap, and prioritise the product backlog are undoubtedly important, these skills are not enough. You also have to be able to lead others and apply the right leadership styles, as I explain in this article.

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Tips for Becoming a Head of Product

Originally published on 6 Jul 2021

Becoming a head of product and managing a group of product people is a significant career step. In this article, I share my recommendations to help you get ready for the new job and be off to a great start.

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Leading Through Shared Goals

Originally published on 6 Feb 2018

As a product manager or product owner, you guide and lead the development team and stakeholders. But you usually don’t have the authority to tell people what to do. Creating alignment and ensuring that everybody is moving in the same direction can consequently feel like herding cats. Luckily, there is a solution: working with shared, connected goals, as I explain in this article.

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Making Effective Product Decisions: Tips for Deciding with Stakeholders and Dev Teams

Originally published on 7 Jun 2021

I am a big fan of involving the stakeholders and dev teams in important product decisions. But deciding together can be challenging: The most senior stakeholder might try to dictate the decision, the group might shy away from difficult conversations, or people might get stuck in endless debates. This article shares eight practical tips to help you avoid these pitfalls and harness the full power of collaborative decision-making.

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Tips for Growing a Product Management Team

Originally published on 9 Jul 2019

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

Originally published on 9 Mar 2022

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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Elements of an Effective Product Strategy

Originally published on 19 May 2015

Creating a successful product requires attention to the details, from getting the user interaction and the visual design right to providing the right functionality and using the right technologies. With so much focus on the nitty-gritty, it’s easy to no longer see the wood for the trees. This is where the product strategy comes in. It helps you manage your product proactively and it prevents you from getting lost in the details. This post discusses what an effective product strategy is and how it benefits you.

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The Product Vision Board

Originally published on 10 May 2011

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

Originally published on 13 Apr 2021

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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The Product Strategy Cycle

Originally published on 3 Nov 2020

Despite its importance, product strategy is not always effectively practiced. One of the key issues I encounter in my work is that strategy and execution are not aligned but rather disjointed. To address this issue, I have developed an iterative process called the product strategy cycle. The cycle systematically connects strategy and execution so that the former guides the latter and insights gained from the tactical work help evolve the product strategy. In this article, I explain how you can use the cycle to join up product strategy, product roadmap, KPIs, product backlog, and development work, and I discuss the role stakeholders and development team members play in making effective strategic product decisions.

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Product Roadmap

Three Qualities of Great Product Roadmaps

Originally published on 7 Sep 2021

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

Originally published on 25 Nov 2013

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

Originally published on 20 Jul 2016

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

Originally published on 9 Sep 2014

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

Originally published on 14 Mar 2017

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

Originally published on 5 May 2020

Nearly 20 years after the publication of the first Scrum book, the product owner role is still riddled with misunderstandings. It’s not uncommon for me to meet someone who refers to her- or himself as a product owner, only to discover that the person owns a feature or the product details but not the entire product. Other times, I meet people who say they are product owners but who manage a whole 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

Originally published on 28 Jun 2016

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

Originally published on 8 May 2018

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 Teams in Scrum

Originally published on 4 May 2022

Scrum is a powerful framework that connects the person in charge of the product with the individuals designing and building it. But it offers limited advice on how to collaborate with the stakeholders and involve them in important product decisions. This issue can be addressed by forming a product team that extends the traditional Scrum team, as I explain in this article.

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Product Management Process

A Brief Guide to Product Discovery

Originally published on 6 Oct 2020

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

Originally published on 2 Oct 2018

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

Originally published on 3 Dec 2019

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

Originally published on 4 Sep 2018

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

Originally published on 15 Nov 2017

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

Originally published on 9 Mar 2021

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

Originally published on 2 Nov 2016

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

Originally published on 2 Sep 2020

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?

Originally published on 25 Jan 2017

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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