Giant reptile striving to give product management a good name. Strives for improvement with occasional tangents of mass destruction. Made in Silicon Alley.

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Agile Suicide

Here's something that doesn't occur often in project management blogs: exploring the potential pitfalls of Agile.

Agile itself is not inherently a flawed methodology... that much should be consensus amongst self-respecting product and project managers alike. In fact, Agile's greatest drawback may be its own success. Because the benefits are (supposedly) painfully obvious, some organizations find themselves looking to adopt Agile with blind faith, perhaps while lacking the reasoning behind it.

While the intentions behind adopting Agile and Scrum methodologies may be admirable, a poor understanding of why these philosophies work can cause the unspeakable: death by Agile.

Circumstances for Failure

The success of any project is dependent on the balance of the big three. Of course, this is referring

Defining Your Product's Issue Scheme

If there is a single qualification in becoming a PM, it would probably be knowing the meaning of "As a ______, I would like to _______, so that I may ________." By now we're all painfully with familiar the standard issue types used in Trello and JIRA boards across the world.

User stories, tasks, and bugs. Boom, Easy. Ship it. While the most common set of issues covers many needs, this industry standard set should really only be used as a guideline on how to define your product.

It's surprisingly common for PMs to stick to the norm when it comes to defining issue schemes... or worse yet, force issues schemes on projects where they are hardly applicable. As a problem

The Personality Professional

Articles covering product management remain a scare breed. We're familiar with the cliché “qualities of a good PM" articles which recycle themselves on the front page of HackerNews once every few weeks. These seem to provide great advice at first glance, mostly because they closely mimic much of our society's golden rules.

Consensus amongst vocal product managers is that being a good PM isn't too far off from simply being a good person. The mantra of leading by example and turning the other cheek has somehow made its way into my own professional psyche for the last 8 years.

After thoroughly testing this mindset in the field, I'd argue that this mindset under the following circumstances:

  1. You're a PM

Documentation as Holy Scripture

Product managers love their jobs. There's nothing like powering through with a team of brilliant minds, through good times and bad, to come out of a project knowing you've all made a difference.

Most time spent being a PM isn't that moment, however. A lot of our time goes in to thinking through complex problems but the vast majority of our efforts are spent turning ideas into things that work. It's not so much our ideas that consume us, rather the ability to explain those ideas to entire teams of people... in excruciating detail.

The best way to learn is to teach, and the finest way to define a full product is by dictating it to others. Explanation is an

The Ruin of Feeling Powerless

I woke up one August morning to find a letter waiting on my dining room table. The only words were "I love you. I believe."

It was from my girlfriend. It had been a long few months of tireless work for the both of us, and we often found ourselves wondering if things would ever get better. It seemed like a hopeful low point in our lives as we were both consumed by timelines and obligations.

Little did we know that August was just the beginning of a 6 month stretch that would slowly take its toll on our lives.

Burning Out

Everything is Fine

A while back Kieran Tie struck a chord with me in an article he wrote about