Posts Tagged ‘Product Management’

Yet another new role

July 8, 2011

You know it is embarrassing that I post so infrequently here. Most days I do think of something I would like to post – but the twin ties of a hectic work life and a busy family life – food to cook, dogs to walk, kids to play with and wife to talk with – combine to eliminate any spare time. And since I last posted here about becoming Product Manager for WebSphere Message Broker, my role in IBM has changed again. I was asked – around the end of April 2011 – to take on the challenge of being the Product Manager for WebSphere MQ – and the other related MQ products. While it was sad to move on from WebSphere Message Broker I was very happy to be given the key role for WMQ, which has been so successful for so many years.

I immediate had to get involved in many key decisions and activities both tactical and strategic, as well as having to build strong relationships with many of the key players in the WMQ space. It has been a wild ride for the last couple of months and it continues to this day.

Hopefully I will have time to do some externally focused activities. Earlier this year I did a series of ‘podcasts’ or recordings with Andy Piper – a highly skilled colleague – and it would be nice to be able to do a few more of those as time and resources permit. Funnily enough we recorded them in the stable in my garden which is converted to a home office, so I have suggested we call them “from the horse’s mouth” – but as yet no one lese agrees. I also attended the Gartner AADI Summit in London in June. I think that was my 4th year in a row. As good as ever to talk with Gartner Analysts, attend some sessions and chat with customers.

Obviously there are many things that occupy my day to day task that I can’t share yet. However watch this space. Recent announcements include a new release of WebSphere MQ File Transfer Edition and also a new offering WebSphere MQ Hypervisor Edition. Our development teams remain busy!

When I get a few days off I will be finishing the latest book I am reading – The Bible of the Dead by Tom Knox. Then on to Spook Country by William Gibson. Looking forward to it.

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Product Management and the plots in novels

September 1, 2010

This being summer I have been having vacation or holiday for those of us in the UK. And this is pretty much the only time in the year I get to read books – something I used to have much more time for in my past life. But no matter. Oh and by the way they are real books on paper. Not ebooks – not that there is anything wrong with that – I just have not got a reader device yet – I still have too many actual books to read – why can’t there be some sort of license transfer – in the same way I can rip my CDs to MP3?

So anyway – books. On the whole I have enjoyed the books I have read – mostly gripping, and entertaining. Well thought out – etc. Worthwhile purchase and a good read. Just one niggle with most of the books is the ending is generally unsatisfying. The rest of the book has been really good – lots of plot twists, characters to believe in and sympathize with, but then the ending always seems unsatisfying and rushed. Surely there should be more attention paid to this part of the book – and not rush it to actually bring the story to an end – any end?

Maybe it is just me – but I would like a bit more exposition to bring the story to a more satisfying conclusion. I understand the dichotomy of building up the excitement of the plot and not dragging out the conclusion – reaching a crescendo and then ending on a high – but what if it is not satisfying – after the initial rush of finishing you get a slightly bad taste in the mouth.

So what does this have to do with product management – and maybe specifically WebSphere Message Broker? Well as a product that has been out and evolving for 10 years it is fair to say that there is plenty of function in the product – but we continue to add content and function. But what can we learn from novels and plots? I think we need to think more of our ‘readers’ or users – and the uses to which they put our offering. In the same way that novel writers need to think about their plot and how to satisfy their readers, we need to think more of our customers and how they are going to use our products. In that way we can ensure that the products don’t just satisfy the customers with core functionality but deliver more of what the customers will find enduringly useful as time goes on.

For anyone interested – here are the books I have read recently

Tom Knox – The Genesis Secret; The Marks of Cain – both interesting and entertaining – and well researched – if gory but with endings that seem to be rushed. I really enjoyed both books but felt the ending was perhaps unsatisfying after reading – in the sense the the excitement that built up was not quite fulfilled. I will however be looking forward to his next book – The Severed Men

Vernor Vinge – Rainbows End – a really interesting book with some great concepts – but the whole plot was perhaps a MacGuffin. there was all sorts of technology forward thinking – with localization and augmented reality – and perhaps plot had maybe less thought than the technology. And I just also got frustrated with wanting more about Mr Rabbit….

Dan Simmons – The Terror – Maybe this book is the equivalent of WebSphere Message Broker – incredibly detailed – I learned a lot about the Franklin Expedition to find the Northwest Passage and the ending of the book had a lot of detail to it – delivering a satisfying conclusion.

New post, new job role, long time passed

August 20, 2010

So just a quick note here. I changed roles earlier this year to move back into Product Management for WebSphere Message Broker after a number of years in Marketing. It is funny how both roles have similarities but also substantial differences. I am getting a lot more visibility to customers and sales reps in the new role which is really good, but am continuing to work closely with marketing to make sure we get the right material produced. Keeps me busy – and apologies to those who I respond to later than I should.

Was good talking a bit with Gartner earlier in the year on a couple of occasions – and hearing all the customer interest in cloud – not an area that will be going away in a hurry I think.

It has been very stimulating to work on strategy for both extending current offerings and looking at the opportunity in new segments. Lots I could say here but clearly not going to in public!

I plan to talk to some customers in Istanbul next month as part of a Hursley Comes to you event and there will also be more customer interactions in 4Q which i am looking forward to. All this while trying to get through all the Product Management day to day pieces of work – which I had better get back to.

Focus and prioritization are becoming the watchword….will try to write something more soon