How an ISV uses "inbound" social media

 In this week's Heretech podcast, I spoke with Alex Bender of Archer Technologies about the role the Archer community plays in the development process, all the way through the release. If you click the thumbnail shown below, you'll see their process in graphic detail. While Alex and I didn't get into all the specifics of how they do it, we did cover most of their "social product management" approach in the podcast. 

Among other interesting aspects of how they use their community as a resource for innovation and adoption, the role of partners really stands out. Of course, in the governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) space, you have an ecology of partners who are experts in things like Sarbanes-Oxley and risk management best practices. They'll tell you in plenty of detail why your product isn't really doing the job it should as a GRC tool.

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The Heretech, episode 22: Alex Bender on inbound social media

This week, our guest is a prime example of "inbound" social media, used to make smarter product decisions. Alex Bender of Archer Technologies describes how their community helps with the entire release cycle, from starting with the generation of good ideas. And whaddaya know, there's another research document, by Yours Truly, about this topic in the Forrester publication queue. Finally, if you're looking for a primer on Lean approaches to development and delivery, look no further than this week's review. Copyright (c) Tom Grant.

The PM playlist

Forrester colleague Oliver Young left last week to join Jive as a product manager. Oliver is a big music fan with eclectic tastes, so I thought I'd put together, in his honor, the product management/marketing playlist. If you were to make a musical version of what it's like to be a tech PM, here's what you'd put into the soundtrack. (Suggestions for additions welcome.)

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Adobe's Omniture acquisition: a TI perspective

While other Forrester analysts will pronounce judgment on Adobe's acquisition of Omniture, I'll give a quick bit of perspective from the Technology Industry (TI) Client Group's side of Forrester. From this angle, the acquisition is a very interesting case study in how a company that has mastered working with a very technical audience feels the need to address the needs of business users, too, in their product portfolio.

Adobe has done a great job of addressing the needs of their two core audiences, graphic designers and web developers/web designers. These two groups are technical in different ways. Photoshop and Illustrator are highly specialized tools for people with highly specialized tools. "The suits" might approve their work, but they're not deeply involved in it.

Web developers—the target audience for Dreamweaver, ColdFusion, Flex, and the like—are technical professionals of a different sort. However, their work isn't nearly as divorced from business users as the graphic arts people. The web site is where marketers launch campaigns, track visitors, and repurpose the same content for different contexts (languages, regions, media, etc.).

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Hot off the presses: wargames, PM in the recession

Two of my research documents just went live on the Forrester web site:

  • Wargaming for business leaders. Not the same as the kind of serious gaming that colleague TJ Keitt and I have discussed before, wargames are a more structured exercise that try to simulate possible business outcomes. The output is different than serious games, role-playing exercises, and other game-like tools. For example, in many cases, the goal is to help make smarter company-level decisions, not just product-level ones.

  • Product management/marketing during the recession. A very short document that points to other research that we've done about the recesssion, and then puts it into context for PMs. What changes do PMs need to make in product strategy and positioning? Which markets are likely to bounce back first, and what do you need to know about them?

The Heretech, episode 21: Steven Haines on PM as a profession

This week, Steven Haines, author of The Product Manager's Desk Reference, discusses the growth of PM as a profession, and the harmonic convergence that led him to found Sequent Learning. Plus, if you don't know who Karl Popper is, maybe you're in the wrong job. (c) 2009 Tom Grant

The Heretech, episode 20: Luke Hohmann on serious gaming

This week, Luke Hohmann of Enthiosys tells us why people in the tech industry should take games seriously as a way of generating ideas and understanding customers. Or would you rather roll the dice and hope you're building the product that people want to use and buy? Copyright (c) 2009 Tom Grant.

The Agile regime change

Thoughts on Agile 2009 by Tom Grant and Dave West


Agile is dead, Long live agile.

That’s how the Agile 2009 conference in Chicago opened. In the keynote, Alistair Cockburn cleverly paraphrased Marc Antony’s funeral oration from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: “I come to bury Agile, not to praise him.”

A very narrow definition of Agile has passed away, to be replaced by a mature, expansive version that has now joined the mainstream of development methodologies. Agile with a capital “A,” with its vision limited to the development team, died of natural causes. Its successor still worries about build scripts, daily Scrum meetings, and IDE plug-ins, but it recognizes the sovereignty of business objectives, and governs jointly with other methodologies. While we might talk more about agile with a small “a,” the significance of this change is big.

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Workshop on social media for development teams

In October, I'm doing a workshop in the Foster City office about social media for product teams. How can social media fill in the gaps left by traditional requirements? Which social media outlets should you use to answer particular questions? What skills and investments are required? What's the tangible business benefit?

A big part of the workshop is hands-on experience with the questions your team faces. Bring an example of a burning question that the product team needs to answer (e.g., What's the impact of dropping this feature? Is our product a good fit for similar business problems in other markets?), and we'll explore how to use social media to find substantive, useful answers quickly.

For more details, click here. Also, in a couple of weeks, colleague Laura Ramos is doing a workshop, "Making B2B Marketing Work," that chock full of useful content.

[Cross-posted at The Heretech.]


The Heretech, episode 19: Steve Johnson on PM, pre- and post-Agile

Hot on the heels of Agile 2009, I talk with Steve Johnson of Pragmatic Marketing, who has been training PMs for over a decade. Steve gives his overview of the PM track at Agile 2009, and I give a quick review of the event. (c) 2009 Tom Grant