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OnPM in 2008 – Personas, Tom Grant, Roadmaps, Product Design, Bob Dylan and lots of Agile

by Saeed Khan

This is the second in a series of retrospective articles looking back at 10 years on this blog. #onpm10

Do you remember 2008?

We had the Beijing Olympics, the Great Recession and financial crisis was sinking in, and Fidel Castro stepped down as leader of Cuba. Rolling Stone (and MANY other reviewers) named Dear Science by the group TV on the Radio as the best Album of the Year, and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight was the top grossing movie of the year.

And on the blog….

2008 continued where 2007 left of with the completion of the Product Manager vs. Product Management series, comparing the role of PM with the overall function of Product Management and how they need to develop.

Personas were an emerging topic of interest for Product Managers in 2008.   Saeed gave his take on the topic and also looked at persona focused articles by the CrankyPM (remember her?!), Adele Revella, Bonnie Rind, Kim Goodwin and of course, the originator of the concept Alan Cooper. What’s the deal with Personas?

Forrester Research hired Tom Grant as their first analyst covering Product Management. This was a welcome bit of news, and Tom became a clear and insightful voice advocating for the role in companies. Tom even interviewed Saeed on his podcast – The Heretech – Episode 12 – The role of Product Management.

Ethan moves to the Valley

Ethan made both a career change and a location change, and moved himself and his family down to Sunnyvale California and went to work for Google as a Technical Product Manager.  In his first post as a “sales guy”, he saw Product Management from a very different and slightly uncomfortable perspective.

Saeed wrote a couple more “What’s the deal” posts on Product Roadmaps and Software Product Management. In the latter he asks:

What have we [Product Managers] done in the last 10 years to make our lot better? And I don’t just mean incrementally better. I mean significantly better.

This is a question as relevant today as it was back in 2008. Would love to hear you thoughts on this.

Alan continued his blogging with various thoughts on sales and customer service (they’re not the same) and Win/Loss analysis.

It’s an honour to be nominated….

June 2008 marked our first anniversary, and our first award nomination. 🙂 We were nominated for the ComputerWeekly IT Blog Awards though we didn’t win.

Children will be children, but so will some adults

Saeed’s (then) 2 year old son inspired a blog post about poor design in a UPS. Not only did this receive a lot of reader comments, but also set off a bit of an online feud with someone at APC, the manufacturer of the UPS. You can see the whole story in these posts:

Agile starts a turf war with Product Management

Agile was starting to take hold and becoming an issue for Product Managers. Curse you Product Owner. :-).  A number of blog posts focused on this Agile and Scrum in 2008.

The first one advocates for  something a necessary 5th element to the Agile Manifesto:

Business alignment over Engineering efficiency.

A 5th element for the Agile Manifesto

And given all the pushback from Agilists about how Product Management needed to change, Saeed wrote this missive arguing the Product Management was always Agile and used the Manifesto itself to prove it.

Is Product Management Agile?

And for those who like a long read, here is a 5 part (part 3 had 2 parts!), on a number of issues related to Agile and Product Managmeent.


I got the Product Management Blues

Bob Dylan’s song Subterranean Homesick Blues was adapted to Product Management by Saeed. This was the first of several such adaptations. It includes a link to the original Dylan video of the song. Hey maybe OnPM can adapt the video as well!! I mean now that he’s a Nobel Laureate, we should be able to get some additional leverage. Here’s the first stanza, just to tease you…

Developers in the office
Fixing up the code base
Marketing is wondering
How to deal with branding
A buyer with the budget
won’t sign the PO
Salesrep far from quota
Can’t give out a discount

And here’s the video of Dylan’s actual song for those needing a daily shot of Dylan.


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