There's an interesting discussion about personas at the On Product Management and Cranky Product Manager blogs. While I agree, personas should zoom into the important details, and ignore the fluff, I wonder how many development teams actually use personas at all when making design decisions.
That's not a knock on personas as a requirements tool. Quite the opposite: Know thy end user better than thyself should be the motto of product management. However, I'm not convinced that a lot of development teams have seen the value in this tool.
It's a hard cultural or mental change for some development teams to make, something I've witnessed first-hand. How many development teams have crossed this particular chasm? And are there tips of the trade about making this transition to be learned? I have no idea. (Potential research topic?)
First, thanks to everyone who volunteered to be part of the PM-focused surveys. The door is always open for new people to join, so tell a friend! And a special thanks to the Product Management View, who kindly posted a notice about the survey on their blog.
For those who haven't read this blog before, I'll extend the invitation again to tell us about the topics in product management that are important to you. Product managers are busy people--so busy that it's hard to find the time to investigate how to do the job better or more easily. If you have a topic that's important for you, please post it in the comments, or drop me a line.
Traditional direct marketing has faced a range of hurdles over the last several years from Do Not Call lists, budgets shifting to online, spam complaints, etc. Where’s the latest challenge coming from? It appears to be the green movement. Advocacy groups and consumers are shining the light on the practices of direct mailers and catalogers – and their impact on the environment. Some states are proposing Do Not Mail lists, organizations like the DMA, CatalogChoice, and GreenDimes allow consumers to register to cut back on the catalogs they receive, while the whole subject of Greenness gets brighter.
With Google, IBM, Microsoft, VeriSign, and Yahoo! joining the OpenID Foundation, we may actually feel that something in federated access management is going to change. It is finally not the case of a vendor proposing a new standard – and adding to the cacophony of federation standards – but a set of moves towards a simple technology that today can alleviate password management woes at service providers.
Technology aside, OpenID will greatly help with reducing and removing the legal obstacles in the way of identity federation’s proliferation. When payment-grade, commercial, and trusted identity provider service becomes a reality – VeriSign’s joining the OpenID camp clearly points in that direction – and software-as-a-service companies (like salesforce.com), accept OpenID authentication from these trusted identity providers, then enterprises can truly start thinking about outsourcing password management identity management processes. When required, strong authentication integration with OpenID can rely on VerSign’s VIP or other vendors’ strong authentication acceptance network.
Whenever the economy takes a down turn, marketers will inevitably ask the question, "How would a recession impact my budget?" This worry is especially true for more experimental forms of marketing, such as certain forms of interactive marketing and social media.
At Forrester in recent weeks, we on the Interactive Marketing team have asked this question too -- of our analysts and a handful of interactive marketers. The results of this analysis -- and our tips for how interactive marketers can protect their budgets and survive (even thrive) in a downturn -- are in a new piece "Strategies For Interactive Marketing In A Recession."
We're gearing up for our first survey to product managers. The topic for this round is product management tools: What do you use? What do you find most effective?
The results should be very interesting. I can offer a lot of advice about tools, having done a lot of experimentation over the years. However valuable my own hard-won experience (a lot of trial and error) might be, it's even more useful to get a view across the technology industry. Frequent challenges, best practices, and trends will be a lot more visible from high above Silicon Valley and beyond.
What's in it for you to join the survey? You get a copy of the research paper based on the survey data, gratis, with our heartfelt thanks for contributing.
If you're interested in participating in any of our product management surveys, just drop me a line.
1) Google gets the best and the brightest from Yahoo. Why? Compensation. Microsoft, in a titanic mistake, eliminated stock options as an employee incentive early in the decade, replacing them with much less lucrative and leveraged restricted stock. If you're a hot programmer at Yahoo, you'll get options at Google -- not at Microsoft. Aside from compensation, Google's culture, speed, lack of bureaucracy, location, lack of legacy will be big attractors of talent.
2) The confusion factor. Microsoft has never acquired or absorbed anything as large as Yahoo -- unlike Cisco it has no culture or processes around large-scale integration. Microsoft's tight programming ethic will be naturally suspicious of Yahoo and its culture of media and advertising. When the inevitable integration plans are drafted, MSN and the search gurus at Microsoft will defend turf. In a market defined by a quick pace, Microsoft will take years to get this integration right.
Earlier this week, Sun Microsystems announced that its Project Blackbox was now a commercially shipping product. I have to confess that when they first told me about this effort I saw it as a nice showcase innovation — something they could use to demonstrate how densely racks could be configured and how energy efficient their products were. They could drive it from city to city for in-person demonstrations. Nice marketing idea. But I didn’t see the practicality to real enterprise data centers. Who’d be willing to buy a container and park it outside their data center? Yeah, that’s secure.