Understanding Your Product-Market Fit

Interview Last 5–10 Lost Sales Prospects

Ask your sales reps to give you a list of customers that fit your target profile, but for some reason the deal was lost. Send a quick email and ask them to spend 15 min of their time to understand why they went the other way. If needed, give them a $20 Starbucks gift card. The goal here is to … [ Read more ]

Develop a Feedback River and System of Record

One of the first things I always do when joining a product team is to setup a feedback river — an open channel for anyone who is interested to get direct access to primary feedback on the product from across various channels. This has typically taken the form of an internal company mailing list in Gmail or Outlook, but I’ve also seen it as a feedback channel … [ Read more ]

Kill Your Darlings

If your organization is suffering from a plague of projects, stopping a few of them only fixes the symptoms of the plague. Your first step should be to change the way projects are started. One of the best tips is to make sure all projects are launched with a kill switch of some kind—that is, tangible metrics and milestones defining when the project should be … [ Read more ]

Project Management Index

Measuring recurring work like processing transactions or manufacturing parts is different than measuring projects where each one is somewhat different. Sometimes, everything an organization does would be classified as a project. Because each project is slightly different, some organizations have developed a Project Management Index that includes the following submeasures: budget/cost performance, schedule/milestones met, quality/performance and innovation. At the start of each project, the four … [ Read more ]

Climate Safety is an Important Factor in an Innovative Climate

A fearless workplace frees people to take the risks innovation requires. At W.L. Gore, the Delaware chemical products company famous for Gore-Tex and other high-performance products, mistakes made in the pursuit of novel solutions are accepted as part of the creative process. When a project is killed, staff members celebrate its passing with beer and champagne. When a project fails, a post-mortem is conducted. Flawed … [ Read more ]

“Triage” Project Work to Maximize Expert’s Time

A leading company in the area of project management employs a “triage” system to maximize the effectiveness of its key engineers. Moderately-skilled workers assess the work to quickly identify work that less-skilled workers or novices can perform and free up experts to handle the more challenging, complex work (see fgure).

A Horizontal Process for Managing Projects

A “horizontal” focus is evolving as leading companies stress the importance of cross-project capabilities. For example, one leading company established a central program management group to oversee functional areas across the organization—including procurement and finance—and deliver projects across business units. Projects are put through a cross-functional approval process to ensure they meet all designated criteria and leverage existing knowledge and scale. The group also monitors … [ Read more ]