05006 Testing the Waters: The Product Quality Stream

It is with some apprehension that I launch myself upon a discussion of product quality and QA testing. While product quality is promoted by Marketing and management, people rarely want to see and touch the distasteful details of the QA testing that helps improve software quality. I suppose an outstanding quality effort flows like a stream, ...

04007 How Can Product Managers Help Development?

Product Managers are in the unique position of having dual citizenship, with passports for both Marketing land and Development land. In fact, you find you can’t predict whether a company will have its Product Manager positions reporting into Marketing or Development.
It’s a sign that companies have a difficult time figuring out where product management fits. The truth is that a fully mature product management function is independent of both, while being knee-deep in both Marketing and Development activities.
Regardless of where Product Managers are placed in the organization, they can provide vital assistance to Development in its goal of building a great software product. They provide an outside, business-focused perspective, but in a level of detail that reflects an interest in and understanding of the technology that is used to build the product.
Read below for some ideas on how a Product Manager can help Development do the best job it can.

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.

03005 Tips for Delivering Consistent Services

The services you deliver with your software -- implementation consulting, installation, and training -- aren't accessories to your product, they are an integral part of the product and its success. Software plus services plus customer effort equals success. Because of this, it's critical to take steps to make each service you deliver predictable, complete, and consistent ...