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VP Engineering has a mandate. You need one too.

Tonight I met up for dinner with Paul Melmon, an old friend who has been around the block more than a few times. He initially gained notoriety as CIO at pets.com, and has since cycled successfully through several startups in the SF bay area, mostly as VP Engineering.

Paul shared something with me: The products are interesting, but really for him the job boils down to a few things that need to be done:

  • speed delivery
  • improve testing
  • improve the UI
  • scale the product.

Now of course a VP can't simply show up and ask people to work harder, design better, and release with fewer bugs. Improving team performance requires a great deal of skill and experience, and a steady hand. But still, you have to like the simplicity of the mandate. Everything on the list can be measured, managed, and improved.

A Mandate for Product Management?

We need a similar mandate for Product Management. What should it be?

The list shouldn't be long. Here's an attempt in one sentence:

  • Align company investments with the needs of the market and the business objectives of the product line.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure how to measure, manage, or improve alignment without a LOT of hand-waving.

Go ahead, tell me what your list would look like.

- Alan

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