Month: April 2016

“Adam Reads” Reco: “Philip Glass & Arturo Bejar | Talks at Google”

Note: I’ve heard Philip Glass talk with his music for so many years now.  I think, as with many people of my age, I was first exposed to his music via the film “Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance” and then went on to find more and more of his music.  Now this conversation has me hearing him talk I think for the first time ever with his words.  Arturo Bejar seems like he’s had an interesting participation in the Silicon Valley world too. —- Lecture, conversation, and performance with Philip Glass and Arturo Bejar. Philip Glass is American composer and considered one of the most influential music makers of the late 20th century. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the Juilliard School. In the early 1960s, Glass spent two years of intensive study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and while there, earned money by transcribing Ravi Shankar’s Indian music into Western notation. By 1974, Glass had a number of innovative projects, creating a large collection of new music for The Philip Glass Ensemble, and for the Mabou Mines Theater Company. This period culminated in Music in Twelve Parts, and the landmark opera, Einstein on the Beach for which he collaborated with Robert Wilson. Since Einstein, Glass has expanded his repertoire to include music for opera, dance, theater, chamber ensemble, orchestra, and film. His scores have received...

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“Adam Reads” Reco: “The Value of One-to-One Customer Support for SaaS”

There are few things in the world more frustrating than contacting a general support line or email address and getting a new person each time. Whether you’re calling about cell phone service, auto insurance, or software support, we’ve all experienced the familiar frustration of sitting in a support queue before. This is called the one-to-many… read more → The post The Value of One-to-One Customer Support for SaaS appeared first on Sysomos Blog. —- There are few things in the world more frustrating than contacting a general support line or email address and getting a new person each time. Whether you’re calling about cell phone service, auto insurance, or software support, we’ve all experienced the familiar frustration of sitting in a support queue before. This is called the one-to-many support model and it’s commonly used in the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry. A common alternative to the one-to-many approach is called the one-to-one  model (or dedicated support). This is where you reach out to a known person who you’ve built a relationship with and is familiar with your account history, business needs, usage patterns (and is likely the same person you spoke with last time). The reasons for choosing one model over another are layered and varied, but decisions surrounding which one to choose are centered mostly around scalability, cost, and resources. While the decision can be complex, one-to-one can be quite advantageous...

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Where is the Customer in your project? Still Nowhere? (the Corollary)

In the recent post entitled  “Where is the Customer in your project? Nowhere!”, I shared a video post by Kalpesh Shah about increasing the value of user stories, and shared some thoughts on the problems of excluding the customer. But this topic is a bit of an irritant to me, because it’s one of the key root causes in product failure, or at the least, project entropy. There is an interesting corollary to this question that Kalpesh doesn’t cover extensively, that is one of the main reasons why teams don’t go and get their user stories from customers or potential customers. The corollary of “Where is the Customer in your project” is “The Customer is not interested in your product”. But let’s face it, teams often avoid or downplay direct involvement in customer research for much more pedestrian reasons. Sometimes it’s for the surface reasons that are implied in the video. Or Product Owners may put their faith (often over-emphasised) in their own understanding of the users needs. Frequently, Product Owners rely on easily obtained operational data regarding what the user does online, such as web logs, commonly declaring: “of course I understand our users’ needs: we are a digital product and I can see what they are doing via my analytics tools”. But folks rarely state the real, underlying and compelling reason that customers are not involved directly in...

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Where is the customer in your project? Nowhere!

Principle #2 of the Project Action Principles is stated as “Fulfil Customer Value, Interactively”. As an aside, the only reason it is number 2 and not number 1 (“Achieve Outcomes, Rapidly“), is that we need the motive force of pro-active outcome focus that is outlined in PAP#1 to make PAP#2, and the rest of the Principles, work for us. I found this video (“Beyond User Stories: Taking your Team to Next Level of Awesome !!!” by Kalpesh Shah) in my feedly inbox today, and to be honest I wasn’t that enthused about reading it.  I’d already read and rejected a number of fairly wishy-washy, product-serving or self-serving listicles. But I made myself watch it this morning and I was blown away.  It is really worth the time to go through to the end. If this topic interests you, then the time is well invested. The case study for the presentation looks like so many agile projects I’ve watched or worked in.  (and a lot of projects with other methodology approaches too). I bet it looks a lot like yours. The problem that Kalpesh Shah addresses is where the customer, the actual customer who is the target user for your product, appears in the end-to-end process that delivers the project outcomes. The answer in many projects is “nowhere” – That’s “nowhere” inside the project delivery process.  And even if they are represented somehow,...

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“Adam Reads” Reco: “6 Things Product Managers Should Do Before Building a Roadmap”

The product roadmap is the most essential document that your company can have. It shows what your product aims to achieve; how it will fulfill that achievement; and why your product will impact your company. —- The product roadmap is one of the most essential documents your company creates. It shows what your product aims to achieve, how it will fulfill important goals, and how your product will impact the larger organization. The product roadmap is essentially your ultimate guide to how your company will deliver new products and features. But if you have never built one before, how do you actually create your first product roadmap? Product managers are often tasked with improving an existing roadmap — but sometimes they need to create one from scratch. And that begins with devoting time upfront to defining your strategy at the company and product levels. This process will be challenging. But it does not have to be painful. And if it was easy, everyone would be a product manager. You can set your company and your product up for success by following some of these proven steps first: Understand your company’s strategy There is a crucial — often ignored — first step before you start scoping new products and features for your team to build. You need to start by figuring out why you must come up with new products and features in the first place. What...

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