As 2016 comes to an end, we’ve looked back and reviewed over 70 product management articles that we’ve written and published on our blog this year. Most of our topics covered product strategy, entrepreneurship, product management, roadmaps, marketing, agile development, and product management career recommendations. Our articles triggered some great conversations with fellow product managers on our blog and on social media. Here are our five most popular articles of 2016. Enjoy!
#1: Roadmap Examples
Our three blog posts detailing example roadmaps for product management, marketing and IT teams were by far our most read articles of 2016.
“Roadmaps were the most popular product management topic of 2016.”
Example Product Roadmaps
Product roadmaps come in all shapes and sizes, and of course there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all roadmap template. Your strategic plan, and the roadmap that represents it, will depend on many factors, including the stage of your product, the size of your company, the stage of your company, and the nature of your industry — just to name a few.
However, there are some things that all good roadmaps have in common. Read this article to find out what they are, plus see three example product roadmaps to get your creative juices flowing.
Example Marketing Roadmaps
Roadmaps aren’t just for product managers. Marketing teams can also benefit from a high-level strategic plan. After all, how many times have you sat in a marketing meeting, listened as the discussion jumped randomly from topic to topic, and wondered: “Can we take a step back? Can we first discuss how all of these details are related, and why we’re talking about them?”
In this post, we walk you through an example marketing plan, an example product launch plan, and an example digital marketing roadmap. These marketing-oriented roadmaps can help you create a strategic framework for otherwise disparate initiatives.
Example Technology Roadmaps
Roadmaps can also be invaluable tools for teams working on complex IT initiatives, such as upgrading a company’s technology infrastructure, for example. The key to a successful technology roadmap — as with any type of roadmap — is its ability to quickly and effectively communicate the strategic plan to the right constituents. The audience for a technology roadmap will often be stakeholders looking to the IT team for delivering internal-facing systems and solutions.
In this post, we share an example technology roadmap, an architecture roadmap, and an enterprise IT roadmap.
And we have plenty more examples; check out our entire library of 18 example roadmaps to kick-start 2017.
#2: 5 Lies Product Managers Tell Themselves
Do you call yourself the CEO of your product? Do you believe all product decisions must go through product management? Well, you’re wrong, but at least you’re not alone.
Don’t take the “Product CEO” moniker too seriously. At the end of the day, you don’t get to boss around your CTO or Ops VP. And even though, as a product manager, you are ultimately responsible for your product’s successes and failures, you are not — and should not be — the sole decision-maker. It’s important to remember that a key ingredient in successful product management is team-building — creating an atmosphere of camaraderie among your colleagues and a common sense of purpose.
This post highlights common (yet misguided) refrains in our product management community. Be sure to read up on these 5 lies so that we can all please stop telling them in 2017.
#3: Lean Market Validation — 10 Ways to Rapidly Test Your Startup Idea
In this article, Jim emphasizes the importance of questioning your assumptions, interviewing users, and shifting the focus away from features and toward your product’s value proposition.
Read the full post to see Jim’s widely circulated 10-step formula for getting your product from concept to market, and ensuring its success by validating it with real prospects at every step of the way. Bonus: The article includes a slide deck from Jim’s presentation.
#4: 7 Ways to Build an Awful Product
This 7-step formula for building a terrible product was another hit. Every product manager feels the pressure to develop her category’s leading product. But here’s something you’ve probably never considered: Nobody’s competing for the middle slots in their product category. Or the bottom. So without much effort at all, you can own those positions. In this article, we explain how.
Some of our tips include designing by committee, including every feature you can think of, and blindly copying your competitors. What the world needs are more awful products. So if you’re looking to launch a dud next year, be sure to do your homework.
#5: Help! I’ve Been Handed a Bad Product Strategy
What happens when the product management challenge you face is that you have poor strategic direction to begin with? This happens all too often. And it happened to a product manager who attended a recent Pragmatic Marketing webinar on thought leadership.
In this post, Jim Semick shares how to fix a poor a product strategy, and explains some of the factors that can cause you to get stuck with a bad strategy in the first place. These factors could include:
- Software companies wanting to deliver new features.
- Executives working on assumptions — not always grounded in fact.
- Growing companies feeling the need to keep their developers busy.
- Product owners becoming information silos.
Read on to learn more about common challenges, and more importantly, how to course correct.
Developing and executing your product strategy was a focal point in 2016. From defining your product strategy, to lean market validation, to dealing with an inherited poor product strategy, product managers at companies of all stages are looking for ways to improve their strategic plans.
“Developing and executing your product strategy was a focal point in 2016.”
That’s why it isn’t surprising that example roadmaps were our most popular topics this year — after all, the purpose of a roadmap is to communicate your product strategy and keep your organization aligned on the big picture goals. The right product roadmap software can go a long way towards helping you achieve these goals in 2017.
Happy New Year from all of us here at ProductPlan!