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Software Management Archives

Too Big To Fail
When a company piles resources on a new product idea, it doesn’t have room to fail. That keeps it from succeeding.
April 9, 2024 - 256 words

Go small
The strengths of a large organization are the opposite of what makes innovation work. Starting something new requires that you start with a small team.
April 4, 2024 - 484 words

Start with a Belief
You can’t use data to build products unless you start with a hypothesis.
April 1, 2024 - 242 words

Reframe How You Think About Users of your Internal Platform
Changing from "Customers" to "Partners" will give you a better perspective on internal product development.
November 13, 2023 - 891 words

Measuring Feature success
You’re building features to solve problems. If you don’t know what success looks like, how did you decide on that feature at all?
October 17, 2023 - 325 words

Build the whole product
Your code is only part of the product
October 6, 2023 - 367 words

Lagging Outcomes
Long-term things often end up off a team’s goals because they can’t see how to define measurable outcomes for them. Here’s how to solve that.
August 22, 2023 - 576 words

Tyranny of Outcomes
An extreme focus on outcomes can have an undesired effect on product teams.
August 19, 2023 - 391 words

The Trap of The Sales-Led Product
It’s not a winning way to build a product company.
December 10, 2020 - 2018 words

The Hidden Cost of Custom Customer Features
One-off features will cost you more than you think and make your customers unhappy.
December 7, 2020 - 976 words

Domain expertise in Product Management
When you’re hiring software product managers, hire for product management skills. Looking for domain experts will reduce the pool of people you can hire and might just be worse for your product.
November 16, 2020 - 645 words

How to advance your Product Market Fit KPI
Finding the gaps in your product that will unlock the next round of growth.
October 21, 2020 - 603 words

The KPI that measures Product-Market Fit
If you ask this question to a different small group of your users every week, you can measure trends over time to determine if you’re moving toward product-market fit.
September 9, 2020 - 217 words

Don't use NPS to measure user happiness for enterprise software
Measuring the satisfaction and enjoyment of end users is a key to unlocking product-led growth. Net Promoter Score is the wrong tool for this.
September 7, 2020 - 712 words

Ask One Question To Help You Reach Product-Market Fit
Learn what adjacent problems you need to solve to become twice as valuable to your customers.
September 3, 2020 - 628 words

How to scale your product team from one product manager to an entire organization
As your product management team scales, you’ll have issues around redundancy, communication, and consistency. Here’s now you might solve those.
August 25, 2020 - 1371 words

Software engineering manager interview questions
Here are some questions I like to use to get a sense of who an engineering manager is and how they work.
August 6, 2020 - 709 words

A framework for onboarding new employees
There’s no single good way to onboard an employee that works for every role. Here’s a framework for creating a process that you can adapt to each situation.
May 15, 2020 - 1293 words

TV hosts as a guide for software managers
Software managers can learn a lot from journalists or late night TV hosts and how they interview people.
May 10, 2020 - 731 words

The Improvement Flywheel
An incredible flywheel for the improvement of a development team. Fix a few things, and everything starts getting better.
April 29, 2020 - 471 words

Managers and technical ability
In technical fields, the closer you are to the actual work being done, the closer your skills need to resemble those of the people doing the work.
December 26, 2019 - 614 words

Dysfunctions of output-oriented software teams
Whatever you call it, the symptom is that you’re measuring your progress by how much you build and deliver instead of measuring success by the amount of customer value you create.
September 17, 2019 - 478 words

Evaluative and generative product development
Customers never even talk to the companies that don’t fit their needs at all. If the only product ideas you’re considering are those that meet the needs of your current customers, then you’re only going to find new customers that look exactly like your current customers.
August 30, 2019 - 428 words

Product Manager Career Ladder
What are the steps along the product management career path?
August 19, 2019 - 650 words

Building the Customer-Informed Product
Strong products aren’t composed of a list of features dictated by customers. They are guided by strong visions, and the execution of that vision is the primary focus of product development.
August 15, 2019 - 405 words

Assumptions and project planning
When your assumptions change, it’s reasonable that your project plans and needs change as well. But too many managers are afraid to go back and re-work a plan that they’ve already agreed to.
February 18, 2019 - 527 words

Feature Voting Is Harmful To Your Product
There are a lot of problems with using feature voting to drive your product.
February 7, 2019 - 1331 words

Encouraging 1:1s from other managers in your organization
If you’re managing other managers, encourage them to hold their own 1:1s. It’s such an important tool for managing and leading that everyone needs to be holding them.
January 4, 2019 - 224 words

One on One Meetings - a collection of posts about 1:1s
A collection of all my writing on 1:1s
January 2, 2019 - 275 words

Are 1:1s confidential?
Is the discussion that occurs in a 1:1 confidential, even if no agreed in the meeting to keep it so?
January 2, 2019 - 400 words

Versioning REST
Ideas on how to version a REST interface and examples of this implementation in Tagyu.
February 16, 2006 - 327 words, 2 comments

The danger of doing too much
Developers don’t think in terms of simplicity.
December 15, 2005 - 363 words, 2 comments

Test data mishap
Sometimes test data can sneak onto your web site with embarassing results like in this example from
November 25, 2004 - 160 words, 5 comments

Why I don't recommend Firefox
Why Firefox isn’t ready for an aggressive marketing campaign.
September 6, 2004 - 1710 words, 317 comments

Customer reference questions.
Sample questions to ask customer references when choosing a software vendor.
June 10, 2004 - 633 words, 12 comments

Symantec Spoofing
Some email viruses trick mail systems into thinking the virus was sent by someone else. Antivirus tools are falling for it.
September 3, 2003 - 123 words, 5 comments

Projects need leadership
Being a leader is hard. Not everyone will like you if you stand up for your principles. But people don’t lead because they want to be popular.
July 3, 2003 - 529 words, 8 comments

No error at all
Apparently my software is trying to tell me something. If only I knew what that was.
July 2, 2003 - 45 words, 3 comments

More useless error messages
User frustration rides high when a program gives a useless error message.
July 1, 2003 - 66 words, 3 comments

Donations and open source teams
Many open source projects accept donations as a way of funding their development efforts and I’m wondering how these donations are typically distributed among team members.
June 23, 2003 - 146 words, 4 comments

DevShed's intro to Functional Specs
DevShed’s introduction to writing functional specifications doesn’t have any new insight for experienced analysts.
April 25, 2003 - 55 words

A case for product testing
Make sure your product has the expected results when used in non-standard ways.
April 19, 2003 - 53 words

Opinion tracking
If you want to know what people think about your products, don’t ask them to tell you. Listen to what they tell others.
April 19, 2003 - 154 words

Sorting Amazon
Amazon’s backend is showing and they are revealing some interesting flaws in their system.
October 10, 2002 - 286 words

Agile requirements
How to use solid requirements management principles in an agile environment.
September 19, 2002 - 187 words

GPL restricts innovation?
LawMeme looks at government-sponsored open source software.
September 17, 2002 - 32 words

Agile gloss
Can agile methodolgies work on large-scale projects? This New Architect article promises to tell us, but it doesn’t quite make it.
September 13, 2002 - 246 words, 5 comments

KM Myths
These seven Knowledge Management mistakes happen in a variety of software implementations.
September 3, 2002 - 73 words

CVS for Web devlopers
How to use CVS for Web site development.
July 30, 2002 - 57 words

Anthology of Requirements quotations
Requirements Engineering Proverbs, Maxims, Sayings, Quotations and Urban Wisdom is a list of quotations that...
June 30, 2002 - 47 words

Unit Testing
Sticky Minds has a series of Word documents on Unit Testing Guidelines. A lot of...
May 7, 2002 - 60 words

Process Chain
SPC E-ssentials provides a list of activites neccessary to manage software projects. "Meeting [software] delivery...
April 20, 2002 - 38 words

AOL product not good enough for employees
Some time back AOL Time Warner dictated that all employees would use a custom version...
March 23, 2002 - 71 words, 1 comment

Warships and software
What does the accidental sinking of a 17th century warship have to do with software...
March 21, 2002 - 40 words

Software Lemons
Most product manufacturers are held responsible for ensuring their products work as advertised. Software companies...
March 21, 2002 - 37 words

Criteria for success
The Rational Edge | Understanding the Elephant: "I once refactored some badly written code and...
March 16, 2002 - 71 words

Newsletter quality
At some point I must have given my email address to Classmates. I don’t remember...
February 20, 2002 - 317 words, 4 comments

The Art of Use Cases
Software Productivity Center E-ssentials | The Art of Use Cases: "In order to create a...
February 20, 2002 - 51 words

Requirements Tools
StickyMinds also has a list of requirements tools, although many of the tools are more...
February 20, 2002 - 21 words

Bug categorization | Categorizing Defects by Eliminating "Severity" and "Priority": "I recommend eliminating the Severity and...
February 20, 2002 - 80 words

Secure by design
The Register | 'Penetrate and patch' e-business security is grim: "Application security flaws introduced early...
February 20, 2002 - 50 words

Measuring Success
The Rational Edge | Success Criteria Breed Success: "Ill-defined, unrealistic, or poorly communicated success criteria...
February 16, 2002 - 41 words

Process for one
The Rational Edge | A Software Development Process for a Team of One: "Who said...
February 16, 2002 - 45 words

Bug Costs
Billion Dollar Bugs: "Your bugs, design flaws, and security holes could cost your customers billions...
February 15, 2002 - 46 words

What Clients Want (part2)’s Zimran Ahmed disagrees with Joel Spolsky’s article "The solution is not to pander to...
February 15, 2002 - 238 words

What Clients Want
Joel on Software | The Iceberg Secret, Revealed: "Assume that your customers don’t know what...
February 15, 2002 - 60 words

Customer testing
The Archives page at ClickZ has an interesting problem. There are duplicate titles listed in...
February 13, 2002 - 58 words

Risky Business
Does innovation always provide a competetive advantage?
January 23, 2002 - 203 words, 3 comments

Inside the Wayback Machine
When the Internet Archive needed massive amounts of storage and processing power, they turned to arrays of inexpensive machines.
January 22, 2002 - 93 words

Discover your inner hamster
Inefficient, manual processes make life difficult for your customers.
January 20, 2002 - 120 words

Make it simple
Business Week has an interview with Dennis Boyle from IDEO. He says, "People don’t want...
January 18, 2002 - 96 words

Maniacal Focus
If your company has a competitive weakness, you should make it your number one priority to overcome that weakness. Even better is to turn it around and make it a strength.
January 17, 2002 - 298 words, 1 comment

Cover Fire
Joel On Software: "The companies that do well are the ones who rely least on...
January 7, 2002 - 63 words

Intro to XP
If your current development process has you bogged down in bureaucracy, you may want to...
October 9, 2001 - 40 words

Gartner foolishness
Joel on Software "Gartner seems to suffer the common but moronic falacy that new or...
September 25, 2001 - 25 words

Elegant Hack: "Know your audience. Know your business. Know your technology. Build."...
September 25, 2001 - 12 words


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