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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Originally published on www.Ben-Staples.com

As Product Managers, our job is to maximize the value of the engineering team. We do this by coming up with ideas that have as high of a probability for success as possible.

How do Product Managers do that successfully? We leverage direct customer feedback and any data we have on hand.

Customer feedback can come in many forms. Customers can on one hand, call in screaming to your customer service representatives about a terrible experience they’ve had. Alternatively, customers can send you flowers and a valentine because of how incredible their shopping journey was.

Beyond…


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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Originally published on www.Ben-Staples.com

A few weeks ago, someone reached out to me through the contact form on my website with a Product Management question (which I love by the way, please reach out if you have any questions, want recommendations, etc).

Alissa, an eCommerce Product Manager who is the very first Product Manager at her organization wrote:

“There isn’t much structure surrounding customer feedback right now. What has worked well for you in the past in re: to establishing new processes, customer feedback loops, etc. I don’t just want to rely on jotforms or survey monkeys. Are there any…


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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Originally published on www.Ben-Staples.com

Time is a limited resource for everyone. In this busier than ever world of technological innovation, you need to keep learning to stay relevant. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Software Engineer trying to stay on top of the newest programming language, or a Product Manager trying to understand new concepts for iterative scale, continuous learning is key.

In Product Management, you often hear that our job is to build the right thing and to build it right. …


Thanks for the insights Chris. Two things from your experience really stand out to me:

1. You are totally right, I just finished Radical Candor and boy can not having the fortitude to provide direct feedback when it is really necessary can really be detrimental to not only the team / org, but also the individual

2. Your points are super valid about agile ceremonies and the proliferation of meetings. Video feedback can totally be a supplement and at times even a replacement for some of those unnecessary touch bases.

Wild to hear you're full time in Vietnam! Very cool


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Photo by Melanie Pongratz on Unsplash

Originally published on www.RetroRabbit.io

In the past, I’ve written about how retrospectives are like vegetables for your agile software development team. Oftentimes they are not peoples favorite food, but you need to do them so that your team continues to learn, grow, and get better.

Having the same format, with the same group of people can get repetitive. Discussion points can get stale, like that pain in the butt ongoing dependency that just keeps coming up. …


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Photo by Matthew Waring on Unsplash

Originally published on www.Ben-Staples.com

Last week, I wrote an article about the importance of Servant Leadership and how qualities of servant leadership can really differentiate good Product Managers from great ones.

One topic that is very interconnected with Servant Leadership is Psychological Safety. Servant Leadership is a leadership principle that in a way, drives more empowered employees, and more engaged teams.

On the list of critical soft skills important to Product Management, if Servant Leadership ranks as number one in importance, I would argue that Psychological Safety comes in at a very close second. …


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Photo by David Rotimi on Unsplash

Originally published on www.Ben-Staples.com

Anyone can make a list of potential feature improvements, prioritize between them, and throw them in some fancy roadmap software. Product Managers ARE NOT TICKET MAKERS.

Not just anyone can have the soft skills required to be a great Product Manager. Product Management is a role of leadership, collaboration, and oftentimes influence. While we work with our own engineering partners to bring new features to life, we also very often need to work with other Product Managers, technology teams, or stakeholders to get an idea from inception to live in front of the customer.

There are…


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Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

Originally published on www.Ben-Staples.com

This article might make it sound like I hate OKRs, but I am actually a really big fan. You could call me an OKR nerd, relying on them heavily for work as a Product Manager for Nordstrom’s digital business, AND making them outside of work in an effort to try to corral my hopes and dreams into actionable goals.

So what are OKRs?

OKRs first popped up in the 1970s and Andy Grove at Intel gets the credit for creating the framework.

OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results. They are a goal setting framework that…


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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Originally published on www.RetroRabbit.io

If you’re on an agile software development team, you should be having regular retrospectives. Having retrospectives is like eating your veggies for your scrum team; without them you can’t grow big and strong.

So we are going to assume that you do participate in retrospective meetings. Almost everyone I know who does is constantly complaining about the same recurring problem. They sit down in the retro meeting, go to write out their sticky notes or retro items to talk about, and cant. Think. Of. Anything.

The timer is ticking away, and nothing is coming to mind…


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Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff book cover art

Originally published on www.Ben-Staples.com

**I hope you get as much of a benefit as I did from this book. As a heads up, if you do end up buying Pitch Anything from a link in this article, I may collect a small percentage compensation.

One of my favorite hobbies is reading “Product Management adjacent books” (a book not traditionally seen as something that applies to Product), and then teasing out things that can apply to Product Management. Why? …

Ben Staples

Ben Staples has over 7 years of product management and PMM eCommerce experience from at Nordstrom, Trunk Club, and Vistaprint . Currently based in Chicago IL

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