Product Pondering

John Peltier brings innovative products to market at high growth SaaS companies.

These are his writings.

Read this first

My Guest Post on the Aha! Blog

Once upon a time, I wrote a thing.

In the early 2010s, I was an active blogger on the topic of product management. As part of my process of learning my craft, I participated in a loud debate among the online product management community which was trying to define the difference between the agile product owner role and true business product management.


My thinking at the time, partly shaped by the organization I was in, led me to advocate a top-down approach where a product manager drives the roadmap and outward facing activities, in partnership with a product owner who is more focused on development activities and backlog management.

I was invited to share a post on the blog of Aha!, a provider of product management roadmapping software. I found out a few years later from Aha!‘s CEO, Brian De Haff, that this post was among the top performing posts on the Aha! blog.

And here it...

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Rich Mironov Interview from December 2011

Earlier in my product career, I developed a blog called ‘The PM Vision’ that I recently shuttered.

One of the most valuable pieces of content on that blog is an interview I conducted of Rich Mironov. We discussed ProductCamp as well as Rich’s thoughts on roles in product management.


Rich was a great sport while I fumbled through the questions here, providing helpful information for product practitioners. Rather than keep this buried on my Google Drive, I decided it’s time to share this with the public once again.


Image source: Pixabay

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Product Management Certification and Training

I recently wrote a thing.

I’ve been at the product management game since 2007, when I started my product career as a product analyst / product owner for what was then called Kodak Dental Systems.

In the twelve years since, much of which I’ve been involved with the ProductCamp unconference movement, I have learned a ton about product management, and about the ways other product people come up to speed.


My post is an attempt to catalog and summarize the many different ways product managers can learn more about their craft; and the value to be found in each approach.

So without further adieu, here is the Brief Guide to Product Management Certification and Training!

Image source: Pixabay

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How to Conduct a Product Opportunity Assessment

Originally published on The PM Vision [now defunct].

Product teams exist to assess opportunity and capitalize.


Product managers are tasked with finding market problems that are urgent, pervasive within a certain target market, and that people are willing to pay to remedy. Once found, product owners guide the development of a profitable solution to those problems. (at smaller organizations, or for new product initiatives, those duties may be owned by the same person)

Market problems can be solved with new service offerings; new features; new partnerships; or new products. Given limited resources, however, product teams can’t pursue every opportunity. They must prioritize.

In traditional corporate environments, teams conducted extensive research prior to starting a product effort. The business case served to document the context, rationale and revenue potential of a business...

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From Scrum to Scrumban: An Agile Journey

In June of 2012, I gave a presentation to the PMI Agile Interest Group in Atlanta about my team’s journey from using the Scrum methodology to more of a Scrumban process.

Why move to scrumban?


Anecdotally, Scrum is the most popular agile methodology, however kanban and variants have grown in popularity over the years. In 2012, my team ran into frustrations that drove us to adapt. In the years since, I’ve recognized that some teams start with scrum and then adapt as they mature; but at the time, this was a novel discovery.

Back then, three items emerged in repeated retrospectives that led us to shift gears:

  • First, the additional stress around completing stories on the scrum board by the last day to avoid “failure.” Along with the pressure of solving new problems in the course of true R&D style development, the team felt pressured to (1) take shortcuts to complete work early...

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Dual-Track Agile: Better Products Faster

Originally posted on The PM Vision (now defunct). This version has been edited for clarity.

The Perils of Short-Term Vision

Product managers have access to limited development capacity but infinite requests for features.

It’s important to solve the most important problems first; once priority is established, it becomes critical to understand the problem and then deliver a solution.

Too many teams struggle to build effective solutions once the next “most important” item is chosen. They solve the wrong problem. They address the correct problem with an ineffective solution. The solution requires rework once the next need is considered.

Dual-track Agile is a way to solve those problems.


Which of the following problems have you encountered?

  • Agile product teams don’t think beyond the next couple of features.
  • Agile development teams think one feature at a time, and do extensive rework...

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Thoughts on Innovation

I recently engaged in a discussion about innovation, which provoked me to share a few thoughts:

There is no single, “complete” definition of innovation in my view. With that said…


Innovation is situational. Improvement within a single product is innovative to that product’s users; it’s innovative in the market if no-one else has done it; and it’s table stakes once everyone has done it.

Innovation is for business value; otherwise it’s just an invention. As a VP of Development I worked with once expressed, “we’re not running a research project!”

I strongly believe that product managers lead business model innovation just as much as they do product innovation. Business model innovation tends to be disruptive by nature.

It’s my view that we are living in a golden age of product management; SaaS is disrupting all forms of enterprise software at the business model level, and...

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