2013/Product Management in the Open -Source- - community and direction

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Product Management is a generally well defined discipline inside large corporate organizations. But how does it work in the open source world? Do we need it? How does product consensus happen in open source?

Speaker: Larissa Shapiro

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Product Management in the Open (Source) - community and direction - Larissa Shapiro

http://opensourcebridge.org/sessions/1085

@larissashapiro twitter

Classic def: "Product management is discovering, documenting, and prioritizing user stories with the objective of maximizing some combination of users, sales revenue, and profit." uuuuh…

[like "product owner?"]

What do they do?

Listen to all stakeholders, esp users. A LOT. THIS IS JOB ONE.

Get ALL the data Market data, community data, user data, sales data!

Be the "voice of the user"

Define the roadmap, collaboratives.

Write produce "requirements" collaboratively.

Are these jobs different, in open source? needed?

If developers don't understand what you are doing, roadmap won't work. Need to be engaged with users to build a good product. Various stakeholders have various priorities.

How to do that prioritization in an open way?

Writing product requirements. Sometimes user stories, other times highly technical.

Defining a product - confluence of problem statements

Scrum Product Owner training - individual needs categories, "mandatory", "linear" more is better e.g. battery, "exciters/delighters" never would have thought you wanted.

'firefox user study' from Mozilla

git vs mercurial Facebook switch - mercurial has a product manager they can work with! [e.g. Git handling pair programming] [can say, github provide this?]

engineers want to make products that users want! If you can come up with data about what they are getting and not getting, structures a more fruitful discussion.

How do you get around the Heny Ford "faster horse" problem, just using data?

Users won't tell you next big idea, but they will tell you when you got it wrong and when you fixed it.

Checking in with users often through project.

What does a Product Manager NOT do?

Product manager does not equal project or program manager, except when it does (PM)

Product manager does not equal developer or architect, except when it does.

Product manager does not always mean product "owner" in the Agile/Scrum sense either, but sometimes it does.

[What is differentiation between Product Manager/Product owner?]

Have seen wonderful people do both, or switch between.

Benefit to having people in Product management both with and without developer background. "changed brain" different kind of Product Manager, from Dev perspective

PO is Scrum thing, the difference - owner expect to OWN everything about that specific product bubble, sometimes take on… product owner has everything to do with one product. Product manager may be in that structure, or may be focused on more conceptual slice, e.g "everything to do with media" but 4 products. PO model more in open source.

Difficult to do more than one of these things. Sometimes can't avoid it. Much easier to be product person and thinking about direction when you aren't also thinking about the 18 bugs that need moved from P2 to P3

Real asset in Open source - the community

Often stated goal of product management: to solve real user problems under real scenarios

How better than with true community engagement. What does that look like, for a product manager?

Used to go out to community and survey blindly. Online surveying. Got some useful information. Very hard to understand full context. More in person things, going to conferences, hacker night, talk to people. "what do you like about it? hate about it?" they'll tell you.

Sometimes people are just using your product and don't know you exist. The more we're out there and writing it down. Not truly scalable, but collecting in the small, and validating in the larger surveys.

Market research is different from user in that, market research - overall trends, who uses which product. vs individual experiences with your product.

"that's great, but no one in my community can do this" -> grants are great for this. Money into user or market research, product management. What DO our users want? What are our strengths? People do respond to a strong, collaboratively made vision. Wikimedia is issuing grants for this purpose.

PMs in Open source can create a space, a vision, a plan. Get community participation.

How does YOUR project do it?

I want to do know if folks have (or are) 'volunteer' product managers and how that's going?

Not much formal training (some short courses). If you are doing risk management, you might be a Product Manager. Lots of informal into the role (e.g. technical writer)

Big picture thinking.

Diaspora project - difference between people working on the product and expected end users. Most people don't know about it at this point. Not much voice for final user set. (this is so much the job of a Product Manager)

Wikimedia foundation - defining user types - agreeing on rough types, where to concentrate, and what is out of scope. When people go "this works for me" you can redirect to type of user, vs where you are focusing. Bit of fiction to help empathize. (aside - how to name user types? real names? e.g. Dave/Sandra. Roles? e.g. Busy Bee)

Lots of projects are benevolent dictator. Project Management has similarities. Have to set some of that aside, listen carefully to users. That balance is hard, lots of tension. esp when people see it as "my project"

Can't say enough times in enough ways "I want feedback, input", always have to seek it out.

Devs often think about 'project' and 'codebase' and not about how users actually use it. Metrics can help, e.g. what users/useages.

Wikimedia - volunteer project manager or project advisor. Different levels of involvement. e.g. "tech ambassador" be a liaison to your community. Matching up with developers that want guidance on what to build, how to build it.

Important for this role to acknowledge people, make them feel like they have contributed, they are important. A "goodie bag" simple trouble to sent to a package, follow up. People that contribute need to be acknowledged.

Every code push, go through every patch, explain to users this is important. Here is a problem that got fixed etc. Gets feedback, kudos from users. Especially someones first patch "that was awesome, thanks" will bring them back.