thoughts

A product is more than Its features — it’s the entire experience

December 15, 2016

As a product manager, it’s difficult to think about aspects of your product outside of features. You probably spend the majority of your time defining what should be built and working closely with engineering to determine how things should be built. You’re a product manager, that’s what you do. But there’s more to building valuable products than delivering features. There’s numerous touch points, outside of your features, that impact the value and usefulness of your product. If you want to become a better product manager, you need to look beyond the features on your roadmap and start understanding the entire experience your product creates.

Typically, the areas that create the interactions that make the product experience what it is aren’t your responsibility. Areas such as your product’s website, customer support, knowledge base communities, product videos and others. Some of these areas are usually handled by the product marketing team. Which makes sense, that’s what product marketing does — create the content that turns the website into a slick selling machine (among other things, of course!). And that’s how it should be, right? Each role has their own distinct responsibility:

Product managers define what should be built, rally a team behind why it should be built and validate things with real users.
Product marketers tell the world stories through messaging development, content creation and launch strategies.

Whether you’re on the management side or marketing side, a successful product requires both — product management and product marketing. There should be collaboration between both sides and an understanding and awareness about what’s happening on each team. The sweet spot of a great product is when everything, all interactions and touchpoints, come together in one harmonious experience

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THE RIGHT INPUTS—HOW SUCCESSFUL PRODUCT TEAMS MAINTAIN STRATEGIC INTEGRITY

September 16, 2016

When you’re a product manager building a platform that involves a mix of enterprise B2B and also B2BC products, the number of opinions you receive — whether you want them or not — can be overwhelming.

We don’t always hear directly from end-users, but we do hear from the businesses, or clients, who purchase our products. Often, clients present us with a smattering of feature requests that represent a portion of their end-users’ pain points. These requests also include their own ideas and features they see from competitors. The ideas coming from clients is only a portion of the forces at play. Product teams also face internal pressure from sales, operations and engineering. It’s the job of the product manager to assess all these inputs and find the greatest good.

With a continuous funnel of opinions, how do product teams ensure they prioritize what’s next to work on and not simply react to the latest, or loudest, request?

Product teams who create the most impact do so by understanding the right inputs.

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Attracting millennials requires slick tools

January 5, 2016

On the Banno team at Jack Henry & Associates, we’re building a modern platform for financial institutions (banks and credit unions). It’s a single system that lets financial institutions serve the complete needs of their digital users.

One portion of our platform is focused on the needs of our customer’s end-users (consumers). This software aims to help people with their financial goals and bank the way they want to bank. This is where our native mobile banking app comes into play.
Another focus of our platform are admin tools. The often neglected…back office…enterprise software that allows banks and credit unions to work smarter and provide better customer service.

I think about the admin side (enterprise software) a lot. It’s the sole focus for myself, a product manager, and my product design partner, Josh Sadler. Together, we define and design the enterprise software that financial institutions need in order to provide exceptional customer service. Whether it’s increasing an end-user’s remote deposit capture limit, deactivating a lost device, responding to a help desk ticket, or opening a new account… everything we think about revolves around empowering financial institutions to help people faster, better and with more empathy.

In fintech (financial technology), the media loves to write about B2C software. From the latest mobile banking apps to a new channel for P2P payments. This type of software typically follows the latest design trends and makes it easy for a bank to say “my customers would love this.” In some ways, consumer products tend to get all the love and B2B software is an afterthought. Well, no more. Banks shouldn’t be left behind and they deserve useful, usable and desirable software, too!

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Three reasons product managers should deliver the why

August 27, 2015

You’re a product manager. For the past three months you’ve conducted opportunity assessments, discovered possibilities, and defined solutions. Things went from whiteboard sketches to Invision comps to code-based prototypes. You validated assumptions by testing early and often. You even cut features that brought little value. You’ve written detailed technial docs and defined every possible requirement. The visual design is complete, you’ve defined the right product and clearly articulated exactly what needed to be built.

Now it’s up to engineering to figure out how to build it, right?

Wrong.

You forgot one of the most important aspects of collaborating with engineers and building meaningful products: delivering the why.

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Invisible Work: In the trenches with process and operations

November 5, 2014

Sometimes, the work we do is never seen by the client. And that’s okay. I’m not talking about the visual concepts that get cut due to budget or scale. I’m talking about the operational and process type work that is done behind the scenes and in the trenches. This type of work, invisible work, often goes unnoticed… and that’s the point.

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Digital Project Management: It's more than just getting things done

October 11, 2014

PM. Digital project manager. Digital PM. Digital strategist. Producer. Interactive project manager. Digital producer. Scrum master. Lead producer.

The list goes on and on.

Regardless of what our email signature say, we’re all rooted in project management. And I’m convinced that it’s time to level up. Not only in our craft, but in the pride we show for being PMs. The PM role is difficult to describe. If you search for PM jobs, you’ll find a little bit of everything; from social media and email marketing to trafficking banner ads and content updates to managing multilingual website overhauls and native app development. Plus, there’s something about being a Scrum Master…

Continue reading on Medium → 3 min read