Month: November 2008

If Steve can do it…

Well if Steve can blog from his iPhone then I can blog from my new G1. Unfortunately, even the best phone in the world doesn’t give you anything meaningful to talk about.

Vote for us! (once again)

canblogawardsOnce again, we’ve been nominated for an award.

Last time it was for Best UK Project Management blog. Remember that? Given that we’re neither UK based, nor focused on Project Management, we didn’t expect to win.

This time, both the geography and the category fit us well. We are nominated for the Canadian Blog Awards under the heading of Best Professional/Career Blog.

So, we’ll keep it short.

VOTE FOR US!<<– Click here

Vote now. Don’t delay. Really, click that link now and vote.

PM mind trick coming… This is the blog you want to vote for….

Show all those other bloggers that Product Managers support their own. Doesn’t matter if you live in Canada or not, vote for us. We’ll share the glory of winning with all of you. We promise.

Saeed, Alan, Ethan

Working with Sales and Marketing

A common question for Product Managers, is how to work effectively with other teams; in particular, Sales and Marketing.

Over the coming months, I’m going to spend more time on this subject. When Product Management, Marketing and Sales work together effectively, great things can happen. This is what happens in successful startups, but somehow usually gets lost as the company grows and silos and politics sinks in.

Do you have any questions on the topic that you’d like to see answered on the blog? Leave a comment and let me know and I’ll try to answer in the weeks ahead.


Trialware in a virtual world

My Windows world is totally virtual. My company Eigenworks runs mostly Macs, but we have VMWare Fusion Virtual Machines for various purposes. Just the other day, for instance, I needed to do some detailed pipeline analysis for a Win/Loss client, and needed to fire up a Windows-only app.

I now keep a few VMs on my machine for different purposes. I have one small, bare-bones VM, one VM with essential apps installed, and one huge VM that has a lot of stuff installed … I don’t restrict what I install there. Then I keep “virgin” copies of the VMs on a backup drive, and if something goes wrong, I simply blow away the wonky VM and restore it to its virgin state.

Something about having Windows run in a “window” is very satisfying. I sometimes wish I could virtualize other things in my life, like some of the people. But I digress.

What about licensing? Vendors who write software that is commonly run in virtual machines have a tough challenge, and there are various solutions for that. (A decent article about the issue is here.)

But my question is more about trialware for single end-users. Once upon a time I managed a product line (which we created here, then rebranded here, until it was acquired), that ran mostly on developer workstations on Windows. We had 30-day trial licenses, which could be managed easily because we were able to place a marker on the computer to disallow a user from reinstalling a trial.

That was in the days of physical machines running Windows. What happens now when anyone can simply clone a VM and start again?

Are you dealing with this problem? What do you do about it? Does it really matter, since most individual users don’t know what a VM is yet? Share your experience in the comments below.


The Agile Disease…

Having written a fair bit recently about Agile/Scrum, I found the following post provided an interesting perspective.

The Agile Disease by Luke Halliwell

I don’t agree with everything the Luke wrote, but a lot of his points make sense.

A lot of the benefit of Scrum is handled if people simply use common sense with whatever process they use. I’m happy to say that at my current company, we just put out a major release of our product, included a lot new functionality and platform support, as well as renamed, rebranded and repackaged how we will sell the product, all in a 4 1/2 month development and test cycle, and all WITHOUT using Agile.

That team will be moving to Scrum very soon (corporate mandate), and I’m interested in seeing what, if any, efficiencies they’ll gain. I think the best way to make that team more effective is give them more developers. 🙂 We have a big backlog!

The one point that Luke made that particularly caught my eye — and I’m surprised I didn’t realize it before is the following:

“Individuals and interactions over processes and tools” I couldn’t agree more with, but strangely, Agile is all about following processes and rarely mentions that having top people is the best thing you can ever do for a project (you could say your hiring process is more important than your development process!).

The irony of the first element of the Agile Manifesto and the fact that Scrum imposes quite a bit of process on people — Scrum Master, Product Owner, backlog management, daily standup etc. — should be noted.