Nov 14

All The Responsibility, None Of The Authority Podcast – A Roll-Your-Own Product Management System of Record

I’ve posted the latest episode from the All The Responsibility, None Of The Authority podcast on how to be an effective product manager. The topic for this episode is something I’ve written about a few times – the product management system of record.

We do a lot of stuff in the course of being product managers, but most of our output – customer interview notes, value propositions, sales support materials – has no defined place to live. This means it’s difficult to collaborate around the information, and it’s difficult to get evergreen value out of it. In this episode I outline a system of record for all this product management output that your product management organization can create out of existing tools, like a wiki. (At least until someone builds a commercial system for us.)

I am presenting a workshop on this topic – Building A Product Management System of Record With Baling Wire and Chewing Gum – at the San Francisco Product Summit later this week. Check it out if you can. Otherwise, I’ll make sure you hear about the recording if there is one, or I’ll do a video of the workshop at a later date and share it to the community.

Episode Topics

  • Why we need a system of record
  • What to put in it
  • How doing a little extra manual work will pay off in making us much more effective
  • How to start creating a system of record for customer interactions using a wiki
  • Potential risks and disadvantages of my proposed wiki-based, “baling wire and chewing gum” system of record

Please let me know what you think in the comments on this post.

Show Notes

  • There are no special notes or links for this episode, but when I get videos and further instructions up, I’ll update this article to link to them.

The feed for the podcast is http://nilsdavis.com/feed/podcast. It should be available on iTunes in a few days, and I will update this article when that happens.

I hope you enjoy this episode! Please let me know what you think, and if you’d like me to cover any particular topics. Feedback is really motivating!

Nov 14

“All The Responsibility, None of The Authority” – A New Podcast

I’d like to welcome you to the first episode of my new podcast – “All The Responsibility, None of The Authority!”

I been a product manager for a long time, and for six years I ran a product for product managers. My big goal in life is to help product managers make better products, both because I love it, and because I benefit when there are better products out there.

I’ll be covering a lot of topics over the course of this podcast but some highlights include:

  • The business value of product management
  • What makes product management different from other business processes
  • The prospects for automating product management effectively
  • And a truly meaningful framework for both understanding product management and for doing product management

I invite you along on this journey to explore this profession, the best job if you’re like me, and most important business activity no matter who you are.

Show Notes

Some of the topics I mention in the podcast are also covered in these essays from the site:


The feed for the podcast is http://nilsdavis.com/feed/podcast/, and it will be available from iTunes in a few days. I’ll update this post with the iTunes information when I get it from Apple.

I hope you enjoy the podcast! Please let me know what you think, and if you’d like me to cover any particular topics. Feedback is really motivating!

Nov 14

A New Product Management Lexicon Opens The Door To A Better System Of Record

Following up on my post yesterday about a new Product Management lexicon, where I said we should lose “requirement” and start saying “feature.” The next question is, what do we call what we used to call “requirements management?” “Feature management” sounds dumb. “Solution management” (referring to the fact that we’re creating solutions to customer problems) already means something else. This is an open question.

But maybe it’s for the best. Thinking about requirements has focused us too much on the solution piece anyway, and leaves out all the other important stuff we do, like:

  • Talking to customers, prospects, and competitors’ customers all the time
  • Discovering and validating market problems
  • Doing competitive analysis and win-loss reports
  • Creating go-to-market materials

If we just think of ourselves as “requirement pushers” then we forget about those other things. More importantly, we let the tool vendors off the hook for our system of record – they just build requirements tools, and forget about all the market information we gather, and the go-to-market materials we create. Those just get to live in Sharepoint (ughh!).