Against a grand theory of PM, part 2

[You can find part 1 here.]

Most fields of study start with classification. The important precursor to any theory, middle-range or grand, is putting what you're studying into conceptual buckets that help organize the topic in meaningful ways. That's where the study of product management and product marketing started, and that's where it has stayed for the last several years. (For more discussion on that point, click here.)

Those conceptual buckets are important, for a variety of very practical reasons. For example, any theory of PM needs to exclude things that are not PM-related. As any of us who have been in the PM profession knows, defining the boundaries of PM has been difficult. The specialized consulting firms, such as Pragmatic Marketing and Sequent, have done a good business helping their clients sort out what their PMs should and shouldn't be doing.

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The Heretech, episode 30: Cisco's myPlanNet serious game

Stephen Liu and Petra Neiger of Cisco explain how their serious game, myPlanNet, illustrates Cisco's 25 years in the networking business. And it's an amazingly successful marketing tool. Plus, a quick pointer to a site that suggests how to get lots and lots of user-generated content. (c) 2009 Tom Grant.

Against a grand theory of PM, part 1

When you're start working in an unexplored field of study, such as PM in the technology industry, it's tempting to propose the Grand Theory Of Everything (GTOE). It's also the worst possible time to develop a GTOE.

Opinion is cheap
Two years ago, when I started this job, I knew I'd have a full research agenda. Very few people took on the job of pundit, arguing for a particular vision of how the PM function should work. Even fewer had any hard data on how it actually does work, in practice. Before making any sweeping statements about the profession, I needed to fill in some big empirical holes.

How diverse is the PM job description, across companies? Which sort of requirements do PM teams give priority? Does moving from an on-premise to a SaaS model have an effect on the PM role? Moving at an Agile pace must have some effect on the rest of the company—but what is it? Without answering these questions, it's next to impossible to give advice.

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The Heretech, episode 29: Marie Kalliney on an innovative PM team

Our guest, Marie Kalliney of Ultimate Software, describes their innovative PM team structure that just makes sense. Plus, some quick news about the PM open house and upcoming research. I also ponder a curious omission in some corners of the blogosphere. (c) 2009 Tom Grant

Open house on tech industry Agile adoption this Thursday

Welcome back from your long weekend of tryptophan-induced torpor! This Thursday, December 3, we're hosting our second open house for product managers and product marketers at Forrester's office in Foster City, CA. These are monthly informal discussions in which the usually blabby analysts take more of a supporting role, kicking off the discussion and dropping, where appropriate, insights from our research on the topic du jour.

This month, the topic is Agile adoption in the technology industry. Specifically, we're going to discuss the effect that Agile adoption in the development team has on the rest of the company. A few examples of the questions that we often hear include...

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