The Prodify Blog

Applying Vision-Led Product Management in the real world.

Contactually Case Study: The Power of Focus

The following is adapted from Build What Matters. Initially, Contactually was a customer relationship management (CRM) tool for the long tail, allowing small businesses in virtually any industry to manage customer relationships and communications with easy-to-understand, web-based software. The product team had been receiving input from all directions. Customers requested additional features, sales wanted new demo capabilities, customer support identified bugs to fix, and engineering felt an urgency in addressing overdue technical debt. Internal stakeholders became disconnected and frustrated with the product team, yet further trade-offs still needed to be made.
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Advisor Case Study: Assuming What Users Want

The following is adapted from Build What Matters. Spring 2014 was an exciting time for me. Not only was our first son due, but I also saw two exits from the startups I worked for. Opower went public in April, and HelloWallet was acquired by a strategic investor, Morningstar, in May. Nervous about working for a “big” enterprise like Morningstar, I immediately decided to launch a dating app my buddy and I had been talking about for years. The idea was simple: matching people based on the actual places they go, because people are more likely to be interested in someone who goes to the same bars, restaurants, parks, museums, and ball parks. Location-based check-ins on Facebook and Foursquare (Swarm) were rising, so we pulled data from those platforms. I called the app Wentroductions, and to this day, I cringe at the awkward name choice.
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3 Tips for Product - Design Collaboration in a Remote Work Environment

The collaboration between Product and Design is critical to the success of the end product. (read up on best practices at The 10 commandments of Product-UX ). In order to be truly collaborative, the relationship between the 2 teams is essential. Building trust with your designer by making sure they know their voice is being heard, their expertise is being leveraged, and you are true partners is imperative.  Communication is a big step to build that trust and relationship. 
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The Top 3 Product Lessons Learned from eBay

on April 21 2020 By | Ben Foster | Speaking
eBay was in direct competition with Amazon in the early 2000's, but they had very different methodologies when approaching the market. The mistakes that eBay made during this time ultimately led to a huge difference in the trajectory of where these companies are today. On another episode of the Rocketship.fm podcast, I discuss my time at eBay from 2001-2005. 
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The Top 3 Product Lessons Learned from Webvan

on April 21 2020 By | Ben Foster | Speaking
The story of Webvan's rush to go public features prime examples of what not to do when trying to scale. I recently joined this episode of the Rockship.fm podcast to talk about three critical but often overlooked mistakes the company made when trying to revolutionize home grocery deliveries. 
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Wartime Product Leadership

on April 9 2020 By | Ben Foster | Executing Coaching Training
An Unprecedented Situation The COVID-19 outbreak and associated response have staggering immediate ramifications for many technology companies. Nearly everyone has closed their offices and plenty of thought leaders have shared best practices for delivering software in a 100% remote work environment. However, the far more important product leadership challenge today is the need to quickly switch gears based on new business priorities and to become more dynamic at the senior-most levels given unpredictable and rapidly evolving market conditions.
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3 Reasons to Stop Solving Problems and Start Delivering Outcomes

A few years ago there was a new phrase that made its rounds through the product management community:  “love the problem, not the solution.”  That is, make sure you’re solving a problem for customers, and have a deep understanding of that problem.  Focus on the problem over your product (the solution).  All great advice.  But I’ve seen teams struggle when applying it.  In this post, I’ll talk about 3 common issues I see with this concept.
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A Product Manager's Guide to the Kano Model

on September 26 2019 By | Rajesh Nerlikar | Strategic Planning Market Research
Kano Model Overview The Kano Model is a theory developed in the 1980s by Professor Noriaki Kano to categorize customer satisfaction of product benefits into different categories.  The key concepts include:
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3 Tips That Will Make You a Great B2B2C Product Leader

Many businesses operate under a B2B2C model, with business customers who are disparate from end consumers. They facilitate key outcomes for a set of business partners (such as revenue, distribution, consumer behavior change) in a way that leads to a valuable offering for consumers (such as selection, convenience, consolidated services). Common examples include e-commerce companies, reviews sites and food delivery services In B2B2C companies, a “one size fits all” approach to your product team and process won’t serve your customers and business optimally. Instead, you should organize in a way that accounts for the unique needs of each part of your business. Some quick tips to navigate your team through this:
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3 Tips That Will Make You The Sales Team's Favorite Product Manager

Collaboration is a critical skill for product managers, and in this post, I interviewed Juan Thurman, a fellow Austinite who has held leadership positions in sales, marketing and customer success at the likes of of B2B giants Twilio and IBM.  He offered 3 tips for product managers as they think about working with their sales teams:  
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