So, as most of you know, I have recently accepted the position of Product Manager for FICO. Whoopee! But, what I'm wondering is this: What exactly does a PM do for a company? Managing a product is like (but not like) managing people; the big difference is that you have to determine the path of a product so that people WANT to use your product and enjoy using it.
Much as the iPhone was more than just a phone, had Apple followed conventional wisdom they would have just improved on the many cellular phones that were already on the market. They didn't do that. They invented a whole new product and culture - one that could accept additions gracefully, upgrade easily and something that people (especially their target audience) totally enjoyed having. And, as a side benefit, it was a bit of a status symbol. Their only stumble along the way was tieing it so closely to an old-fashioned, slowly changing company; AT&T. To their credit, they still control the add-on market so that you don't get garbage for add-ons, whether free or $20. Developers hate the control but the public loves that what they get will work.
That being said, back to being a PM. I think that what I need is to find out what people, the users, really want. Not feedback from salesmen and consultants who leave out the warts and pimples so that the feedback is pretty and acceptable, but things that will, in the long-run, make the product something that everyone WANTS to use in their daily work. Not just financial people and stock marketeers, but the ordinary joe, the engineers, psychologists, chemists, doctors, warehouse managers, etc. Something that they can "show off" to their friends and neighbors as the latest and greatest thing in the industry. Something really cool.
The problem is that I don't know, at this point, what that magical combination of attributes and benefits would be. I've been chatting with the OMG people all week and they either don't know anything about a rulebase OR they know all about LISP and OPS5. I'm moving from group to group to hear what each one needs and there isn't one yet that could not use a rulebase of some kind to work out their problems and express them in a declarative manner rather than the monotonic, procedural manner and process that they have always used in the past in conjunction with IT.
OK, enough on that. Next blog will be a return to conflict resolution in rulebased systems. Promise. :-)
Who stole my spring?? - After a nice 20C degrees day yesterday, I woke up this morning to this:
3 years ago