04016 The Sport of Support

Of the many activities at a software company, customer support or customer care is one of the toughest to provide. Sometimes I think that to avoid burnout, you need to approach the whole business the way an athlete deals with a sport. Realize that it's a team effort, and that you will win some and ...

04006 Knowledge Transfer: Starting It Out Right

When a new version of the product is in the works, and the Product Manager and the rest of the team is making the checklist of everything that needs completing for the product launch, it’s easy to remember some things. Usually documentation and online help get done on time, as do press releases, maybe some sales training, and perhaps updates to collateral. But there’s one important thing that companies forget to build into their plan time and time again: knowledge transfer.
It seems like a basic thing that after a whole lot of work is done to build great capabilities into the software, there will be an organized and thorough effort to roll out an understanding of those new capabilities to the entire organization. Yet I have rarely seen this to be the case.
It’s as if Development was focusing on existing and future external customers as the only customer, when a major group of customers are those people at your company who serve its external customers: trainers, consultants, custom programmers, customer care reps, and sales engineers.
Read on for tips on putting together an effective knowledge transfer effort for each new release of your software.

04001 Influence: It’s Under Your Control

It seems that one of the quintessential traits of most Product Manager positions is that you are required to manage by influence. You're trying to make things happen through people who don't report to you and don't have to do what you want. Product Managers end up using a combination of charm, psychology and prodding to ...

03010 Pitfalls of the Paper Document Culture

We're all familiar with the problems that come from not documenting requirements, designs, plans, and expectations. You wind up with slipped deadlines and disappointment. Most of us have learned the hard way that we're better off writing down important agreements and plans. In fact, so much of product management depends upon written documents to spell out ...