Sunday, October 26, 2008

World's Best Product Owner: Evil Genius Steve Jobs


A lot of people confuse product vision with strategy vision for the company. Product vision has to do with crafting a product that is so cool that when people see it they don't understand how they ever lived without it. Most senior management teams have no product vision although for some companies like Apple, and several of OpenView Venture Partners startups, the CEO or the CTO is the product visionary.

Levy's article on the birth of the iPod shows how Steve Jobs hovered over every aspect of the iPod during its creation. He added features, removed features, ordered features, committed to the final dates, and showed up to evangelize the product when it was announced. This is what a Chief Product Owner should do and precious few companies have a good Chief Product Owner.

In my Scrum training, I refer to this article as one that aspiring Product Owners should read. So here is a link so everyone can find it. Product Owner Lesson #1.

The Perfect Thing

Five years ago, Apple engineers used foam core and old fishing weights to craft a model of a new MP3 player. The age of the iPod was about to begin.
By Steven Levy - Wired Magazine 14.11 Nov 2006

In mid-October 2001, I received an invitation to one of Steve Jobs' carefully choreographed, exquisitely casual shows. It was to be held at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California, on October 23. The most interesting thing about the invitation was the teasing addendum: "Hint: It's not a Mac." Usually, I would have hopped on a plane to see the latest wrinkle in the consistently fascinating saga of Jobs. His return to Apple was a great business story in itself, but what was novel about his whole career was its unapologetic and unprecedented grafting of 1960s values – everything from rock and roll to cracker-barrel Buddhism – into the corporate world. Jobs was a great salesman, a guy who out-suited the suits when it came to mastering the pulleys and levers of global high tech product development and manufacturing, a chief executive of two companies traded on the Nasdaq (Apple and Pixar Entertainment). But I'd also seen him stroll into his boardroom wearing scissor-cut shorts almost up to his balls and a pair of flip-flops. All of this – the austere authority of a Zen poet, the playfulness of Mick Jagger, and the showmanship of David Copperfield – would be on display at this event. And if history was any guide, the product he unveiled would be worth writing about.

No comments: