Cranky Cartoon: Product Roadmap Fail

Some Laughs for Product Managers

You might not know this, but the Cranky Product Manager has special abilities.  Ones that go beyond her prowess with requirements documents, her ability to read customers’ minds, and the way she can get developers to actually do what she asks without offering bribes or sexual favors.

Deanna_Troi_Season_3_smCan’t guess what these abilities are?  Well, the Cranky Product Manager is an “empath” (sorta). Kind of like Deanna Troi. But without the skin-tight, low-cut lavender jumpsuits and penchant for stating the blindingly obvious.

As an empath, the Cranky Product Manager can sense how all of you — the Product Management Crankerati — are feeling at this very moment.

She’s sensing that you are feeling frustrated and that you have too much to do. That your days are filled with hundreds of emails, dozens of meetings, tons of documents and reading, customer visits, travel, presentations, strategic planning and and more and more and more. The onslaught  just won’t let up, and you are feeling just a little overwhelmed (although you won’t admit it).  As such, you’ve lost a bit of your sense of humor.

So, the Cranky Product Manager is here to help.  Maybe give you a smile or even a few chuckles.

First, re-live your daily conference call hell with the video “A Conference Call in Real Life“:


Second, the next time you have to deal with that caustic-yet-brilliant CTO, remember this Dilbert:

Third, check out the Cranky Product Manager’s Pinterest board, for EVEN MORE cartoons on product management, software, and Silicon Valley (mixed with a dash of working-mom humor).

And fourth, try to get a bit more sleep, rein in your inner control freak, and remember that you just LOVE product management! It’s WICKED AWESOME.


The Brain of a Sales Droid – A Visual Guide

Behold, a visual guide to the inside of a Sales Droid’s brain!  Or more specifically, an Enterprise Software Sales Droid’s brain, as viewed from Product Management.

Please do not show to any sales people unless you are sure they have a sense of humor. (Fortunately, most sales people have better senses of humor than product managers, so you are probably good).



No Excuses Product Management (Part 4) – Do Yer Damn Product Strategy Already

LAME-ASS PRODUCT MANAGEMENT EXCUSE #3: “I’m too busy to work on product strategy.”

The one REALLY gets the Cranky PM’s scowl going, enough that she’s considering Botox simply to appear more slightly more pleasant and plastic and less sarcastic and cranky.  Too bad there are no injections to prevent eye rolling.

Grrr. Too busy to NOT work on product strategy, is more like it.

Sure, as a product manager you’re fighting fires and constantly bombarded with emails and phone calls and meetings and X and Y and … That’s life in the big city.

Whatev, we all deal with it. Rumor is that Product Management is a leading cause of Adult ADD.

The simple fact, though, is that if the Product Manager doesn’t do the product strategy, well, WHO THE HELL DOES?  Perhaps you are expecting a visit from the Product Strategy Fairy – expecting her to leave some market trend analysis under your pillow?

Ok, ok, if you’re at a release 1.0 startup, the Cranky Product Manager will give you a pass on this one, because often the founder knows the problem space.

Seriously, the job of Product Management is to make sure the team is scaling the right freakin’ mountain. You might be a demo genius, ..



This is what happens when you write a PRD while watching tabloid TV

Common Product Management Fuck-Ups That Strike Even the Experienced

Common Product Management Fuck-Ups That Strike Even the Experienced

  1. Acting like a Requirements Monkey.
  2. Punting on strategy.
  3. Not focusing on a particular target market.
  4. Not meeting with enough customers often enough.
  5. Not meeting with prospects and non-customers often enough.
  6. Not truly understanding the real problems faced by your target market.
  7. Hearing only what you want to hear.
  8. Being afraid to draw pictures.
  9. Writing a Magnum Opus of a requirements doc or strategy doc, primarily to cover your ass.
  10. Forgetting to incorporate features into your product that help you measure success or failure, and thereby improve over time.
  11. Going along with a development process that can't adjust when faced with negative market feedback
  12. Becoming Development's Co-Dependent, and having them come to you about the placement of every freakin' pixel.
  13. Allowing a piece of shit to ship.
  14. Making the product hard to buy or up-edition.
  15. Thinking that landing reference customers for a new product/release is someone else's job.
  16. Letting the release treadmill create a "boat anchor" editioning and pricing situation.
  17. Assuming that everyone that stands in your way is an asshole or a political player.
  18. Neglecting to spend the time building rapport and credibility with engineers.

Market Interviews Gone Bad #5: Stymied!

And now a market interview where the product manager hasn’t done anything wrong (yet).
Esteemed Crankerati, what’s your advice about what a PM can do to salvage this interview?
Product Management: Market Interviews

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Market Interviews Gone Bad #4: Too Creepy

This is a two-panel comic, so make sure you scroll down.

Maybe you should leave these personal questions until the end, along with an explanation as to why you are asking. Better yet, try to find out via natural, non-creepy conversation that comes up in the course of the interview by being a nice, friendly person. Finally, better to not find out than to be creepy or pushy. Remember, you might want to contact this person again for more insight.

(Note: If you are receiving this post via email, you probably can’t see the embedded image. Click on the link to view the comic on the website.)

Market Interviews Gone Bad #3: Dumb Ass Questions

Market Interviews Gone Bad #2: Too Defensive