Stepping Stones: The product blog by Obo

4 min read

When "Is it ready?" Is a Hard Question

By Jackie Holen on Jun 10, 2020 10:25:50 AM

Product Managers, you spend a ton of time reporting to your stakeholders on progress toward milestones like major releases. But answering seemingly simple questions like "is it ready yet?" and "will it be done on time?" can be really hard. So what can you do to make it easier?

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4 min read

Tips for Saying No When Something's Gotta Go

By Jackie Holen on Apr 17, 2020 1:33:24 PM

Product managers have to say no—a lot! When there are more must-haves, great ideas, and defect fixes than can possibly be done, something’s gotta go. Follow these 5 tips to make it a lot easier to say no, and maybe even say yes more often.

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5 min read

Mixed Signals? Market Signals that Matter

By Jackie Holen on Mar 13, 2020 11:46:57 AM

Before a product launch, you make countless, critical decisions, each of which can bring you closer to – or further from – market success. It's easy to get overwhelmed, so respond to the market signals that matter most.

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5 min read

Are Idea Portals a Bad Idea?

By Jackie Holen on Feb 3, 2020 6:13:00 PM

In theory, idea portals are great. Your customers (and others) can enter and vote on ideas for your products, and voilà—you’re customer-centric! What could possibly go wrong?

If you’re not careful, your idea portal will miss the mark and steer your product roadmap off track.

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3 min read

Bridge short- and long-term planning

By Jackie Holen on Aug 1, 2019 6:27:51 PM

Product managers must constantly navigate the gap between planning for longer-term business strategy while planning for shorter-term sprints—without falling into the abyss between them. It's not easy!

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4 min read

Validate for product success

By Jackie Holen on Jun 19, 2019 1:50:24 PM

No one likes the idea of pouring precious time and effort into creating a product or product functionality that bombs in market.

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6 min read

5 steps to sell your product plan to your stakeholders

By Jackie Holen on May 31, 2019 11:29:01 AM

Getting agreement on your product plans can be an uphill, bloody battle. As a product manager, you’re likely more immersed in your product and have the closest thing to a 360-degree view than nearly anyone else in your company. You know your customers. You know the market and what’s needed to sell and support your product. You know what engineering can, wants, and needs to do to keep things running. But you need stakeholder buy in, and, sometimes, formal approval.

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7 min read

Lies, damned lies, and the 4 levels of validation

By Julie Gibbs on May 21, 2019 5:19:46 PM

Dante’s Inferno has nine circles of Hell. Fortunately, product teams don’t have to navigate them all to address their planning challenges without getting burned. The main goal of product planning is to identify and prioritize candidate features most likely to succeed in the market given resource and time constraints. How do you know what’s most likely to succeed? Validation.

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3 min read

More buy-in, fewer meetings with Obo

By Jackie Holen on May 8, 2019 4:52:02 PM

Product leaders: Ever been stuck in endless meetings trying to get your stakeholders to agree on priorities and feature ideas? It’s not our idea of fun either. We built stakeholder surveys in Obo so you can get more buy-in and more input with far fewer meetings.

Our customers love that they can use stakeholder surveys to quickly get input and buy-in to business and product priorities, feature value, and cost estimates -- all without long, contentious meetings. Your stakeholders will thank you, too.

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4 min read

M.R. asks Pete Sinclair, CEO of Obo, 3 questions

By Obo on Apr 26, 2019 11:08:32 AM

M.R Rangaswami, co-founder of Sand Hill Group, sat with Obo CEO and founder, Pete Sinclair, to discuss the problems that Obo is trying to solve, whether or not NPS should be used to measure product success, and ways to improve alignment between executives and product teams. 

Topics: Strategy
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2 min read

We love user feedback -- see what’s changed in Obo!

By Jackie Holen on Apr 18, 2019 12:42:22 PM

Here at Obo, we’re all about product success. Since our beta launch, we’ve been gathering feedback from our users. We also use Obo ourselves, and we don’t hold back our opinions. As a result, we’re introducing some exciting changes starting this week.

Topics: Obo
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3 min read

Having a product plan isn't enough

By Obo on Apr 8, 2019 9:26:26 AM

Lou Hayes, Jr. is not a software guy. He’s a self-described “Police Officer/Detective/Sergeant for a suburban Chicago police department” whose assignments include: Patrol, Field Training Officer, Criminal Investigations, Firearms & Tactics Training Unit, Crisis Intervention Team, and Tactical (SWAT + medical). Yeah, he’s impressive.

In the world of software and technology, we of course think we are the center of the universe. Spoiler alert - we’re not. I’ve followed Lou for years on Twitter because his world is so different from mine, and his insights always make me think. More often than not, they seem super applicable to tech.

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3 min read

3 things you must do before your next product release

By Jackie Holen on Apr 3, 2019 9:00:00 AM

You might think planning is the first part of getting ready for your next major release, but there are three important activities you need to complete before you start planning. Skip them and you risk building new features nobody wants or uses.

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5 min read

Product planning systems: What happened to Google Glass?

By Obo on Feb 12, 2019 4:15:44 PM

Revolutionizing the way we connect to each other through technology is a gargantuan task.[1] But that's the goal of Google X's projects, including its 2013 flop, Google Glass. How did Google, a company known to be quantitative and data-driven, invest so much into a product that failed? They probably didn't have an adequate product planning system in place.

Topics: Strategy
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2 min read

Product management: What we can learn from Qwikster

By Obo on Feb 7, 2019 5:00:28 PM

It’s hard enough to change your business model without upsetting customers, but changing your business model by dividing the services you offer and requiring customers to make an additional account and pay an additional fee to access previously inclusive services without upsetting them is… downright impossible, as Netflix learned back in 2011 through the flop known as Qwikster.

Topics: Strategy
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4 min read

A look back on Facebook Home

By Obo on Feb 5, 2019 4:15:57 PM

You might not remember this one because Facebook has had bigger headlines recently, but back in April of 2013 Facebook announced Facebook Home, a version of Facebook as your phone’s home screen. Despite the time, money, and resources that went into this first-to-market "phone home" initiative, the product flopped. Why?

Topics: Strategy
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3 min read

60 minutes to a better plan with Obo

By Jackie Holen on Jan 23, 2019 12:45:06 PM

What can you do to improve your product plan in just 60 minutes? A lot, actually. Plus, you’ll learn some great “pro tips” along the way.

Topics: Obo Strategy
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3 min read

Product validation to put our best product forward

By Jackie Holen on Jan 23, 2019 7:33:56 AM

The beta data is in! We recently ran Obo’s beta program with a range of tech companies for the sake of our own product validation. We needed data to prove that the Obo product decision system helps product teams to manage their Feature Funnel™, validate assumptions with data, prioritize features, and model “what if” product plan scenarios.

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2 min read

When good companies make bad products

By Julie Gibbs on Jan 18, 2019 10:00:03 AM

Google Glass. Facebook Home. Netflix Qwikster. What do these three things have in common? They're all on the list of worst product flops of all time, according to 24/7 Wall Street.

Topics: Strategy
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5 min read

Feature scoring: Using Drivers to make data-driven decisions

By Jackie Holen on Jan 17, 2019 1:39:43 PM

The method you use to evaluate potential features is critical to your product’s success. Done well, you identify and deliver the gems, those features most likely to boost product success in the market. Done poorly, your product releases fall short – which, from the point of view of your financial investment in product, is the same as leaving money on the table.

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