Blog – I Manage Products

I Manage Products is Jock Busuttil’s blog for product managers and marketers to learn about product management from the ground up.

You can find the blog at imanageproducts.uk.

Q&A: Interview for Working Products conference
Here are my answers to three questions I was asked recently during an interview for the forthcoming Working Products 2019 conference in Hamburg. I'll be speaking and running a workshop there in June.Do get in touch if you'd like me speak at your event.What exactly is a “Freelance Head of Product”?What is a great product?What are the key criteria for a great team?Read on for my replies.1: What exactly is a “Freelance Head of Product”?I [...]

I'm asked questions about product management from time to time. Here's one I've answered recently:Hi Jock,Based on your experience, what makes a good UX Designer from the perspective of a product manager? Cheers,SRead on for my reply.Hi S,Ooh – a tricky question :-)In no particular order:Experienced in their own discipline but still keen to learn moreWilling to share their knowledge with others (so everyone gets to know the principles of good UX / design)Open to [...]

Speaking at DevTalks Romania 2019
My next speaking engagement is at DevTalks Romania in Cluj on 16 May 2019. I'll be talking about product management ethics, almost certainly with some kind of classical mythology thrown in for good measure.As a special bonus, there are also five free tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis – when they're gone, they're gone. Use code E2E962 when registering for any type of ticket at DevTalks Romania for the Cluj event. See you there! [...]

I'm asked questions about product management from time to time. Here's one I've answered recently:Hey Jock,I would love to pick your brain about roadmaps.To give more clarity to my team (which is working on two mandates/sub-projects), I would like to empower them with a roadmap/timeline of the project. We already have one, on Confluence that I've printed next to our whiteboard. But it's not “ours”.Any recommendation in terms of shape/content? Should it be extremely detailed [...]

65: The secrets of meaningful product roadmaps (redux)
Product managers often struggle to keep on top of their product roadmap. I recently gave this talk at Landing Festival Berlin to explain where people often get lost and show you how to make your product roadmaps more meaningful, user-centric and measurable.I've spoken and written about this before, but this talk goes into more detail. Transcript of the talk to follow, but if you're impatient, there's a summary of the key points. [...]

Meet me at Landing Festival Berlin 2019
I'll be giving a talk at Landing Festival Berlin spilling the secrets behind meaningful product roadmaps on April 4th. See you there! [...]

People sometimes ask me for career advice. Here's a recent question:Hi Jock,I'm an entrepreneur, product/program manager and hardcore gamer. I'm facing a dilemma in my career's direction. I'm split between my love for the game industry (dreaming of launching a game with a team), and my passion for product management (I would love to be a PM for a tech company).I've applied to both the game industry for producer positions (no PM there), and to [...]

I returned to Bristol recently to guest host the Threads meetup. Clearly I didn't put them off the first time. Threads is a monthly roundtable discussion for entrepreneurs and founders of technology scale-up businesses based in the South West of England.This month's topic was on the practicalities of building successful product teams.If you're also interested in learning about building successful product teams, I can come to your company and speak about it in more detail.Contact [...]

If you're in or around Bristol and are a tech founder or leader, I'll be hosting the February Threads meetup again. Like you, I have no idea why they invited me back.We'll be talking about when and how to build a product team on Wednesday 6th February from 18:00 at Ashfords LLC, Tower Wharf, Cheese Lane, Bristol, BS2 0JJ.Sign up to attend on Meetup. [...]

I'll have the pleasure of visiting L'viv in Ukraine again this Saturday to give a talk on ethics in product management. Hope to see you there 🙂 [...]

I popped over to Bristol recently to guest host the Threads meetup. Threads is a monthly roundtable discussion for entrepreneurs and founders of technology scale-up businesses based in the South West of England.This month's topic was on product management in general. For most around the table, it was a completely or relatively new concept, so our lively discussion started with the fundamentals.If you're also interested in learning about the fundamentals of product management, handily I [...]

People ask me from time to time about how they can get into freelance product management. Here's a recent question:Hi Jock,I've been working as a product manager for 5 years now. I worked in different industries (financial, loyalty, media, fintech) and now I am starting to manage a team of product managers and setting up a product team as a senior product manager, as well as managing my own product.I was thinking about starting consulting [...]

64: Good product management
Good Product Management from Jock BusuttilWhat does it mean to be a good product manager in 2018?For a while now it has no longer been solely about participating in the time-honoured rituals of whatever agile methodology your team happens to use. Nor is it only about creating products your users need.We know that product managers have always needed to stay abreast of the advances in technology that could potentially revolutionise their products or render [...]

Hello!I've not published a great deal on the blog recently. In my defence, I've been doing a fair amount of paid writing work and my brain has run out of words temporarily.If you're interested, I'm writing (then delivering) a new training workshop on metrics and analytics for the lovely Mind The Product folks for their 2018 London conference; and I'm in the midst of writing a new talk on ethics in product management for DevTalks [...]

Here's a question I've been asked recently:Hi Jock,I'd appreciate your advice on working for the GDS and different ministries. I have recently applied for senior positions (Deputy Director and Head of Product) at GDS and another UK government department.On both occasions I was told that while I had the skills, my previous products had not been used by the millions of users, rather the hundreds of thousands, and therefore I was not considered the right [...]

Dear Jock, I need a product manager with specific experience in machine learning and AI, can you help? Yours, CHi C, If you're looking for a product manager to join your team, I'd like to offer some advice: Good product managers are agnostic of technologies (and markets); they're more bothered about what user/customer problem they're trying to solve. Only then do they determine (with their team) what technology will solve that problem most effectively. If the product you're building incorporates machine [...]

63: The whole agile thing
Lovely Wife announced the other day that she is now an agile worker. I'll not lie: my eyebrow involuntarily rose an inch or two. I wasn't aware such a product development methodology had reached the legal profession.Office musical chairs She clarified: ‘agile' is the new business buzzword for ‘hot-desking', which itself was the updated term for ‘office musical chairs'. In other words, there are more people than desks at her office, so each morning everyone needs to [...]

Hi Jock, I've been happily looking after my product (buying and selling cars online) for the last couple of years. I still think product management is a complete mystery to me, but my boss thinks I'm doing fine. In fact, at the end of this week she will be announcing internally that I will be product managing a second product, which will put me across the entire post-login customer journey! I am freaking out about how on [...]

62: How to measure product manager performance
Early on in my blog, I wrote one of my most popular posts – 4 key ways to spot a successful product manager – about measuring the performance of product managers. The problem is that a lot – and I mean a huge amount – has changed in product management, and my own approach, since I wrote it. I found myself describing to Martin Eriksson at his recent book launch some work I did at the [...]

In addition to the ‘soft' skills I discussed in the last post, a good product manager also needs ‘hard' skills (product management techniques). Read on for my list of the 16 most important technical skills a product manager needs. (There is a point to these two listicles. It's coming next post.)Defining product vision – being able to describe clearly, concisely and memorably how your product will make life better for people Managing stakeholders – working with the broad [...]