Thursday, February 22, 2007


"Growing is mandatory. But, growing up is optional."

What does it really mean to be an adult? The best thing I read was - "to be adult is to constantly remember that we have a choice for most of the things in our life. To be adult is to be responsible for the outcomes which result from choices  we make."

Note that it does not say choices are easy and can be easily exercised. But, if we do not want to be in some situation, we can certainly choose to not be  in that situation. As long as we understand the outcome of our choice and be responsible, we will be ok.

However, many times choices that we have are not really good for us compared to small predicaments that we face. So, we choose to put up with the situation than walking out of it. It is funny that we have done cost-benefit analysis and only then chosen to live the way we are living. But, this analysis is all done so naturally and correctly that it is not evident to external mind at all. So, we despair over our situation and feel helpless. Not the case at all. You were in charge, you are still in-charge and you will continue to be in-charge all along. Just make use of that understanding and be happy.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Software Product Management Essentials

Software Product Management Essentials (Paperback)
by Alyssa S. Dver

Nice little book on software product management. Since the book aims to cover only essentials, look for other books for detailed treatment on any specific topic of interest.

At a high level, this book does a good job of covering almost all and in some cases more (such as going international) topics that should be of interest to the reader.

The book also has some templates to get started with. You can also buy templates for a price. Templates should be available from many other resources as well.

Book touches upon requirements (collecting, analyzing, prioritization), provides basics of software development to those product managers who may be transitioning from other areas, takes thru product development and delivery process and ends with taking product global.

The book is written in a simple and sensible style. If not for that, it would have been difficult to cover so many topics in a such small book. Taking a software product is a very complex activity and this book does good job of opening one's eyes to all sorts of issues and sheds some light on how to go about addressing those issues. That is best part of the book even for an experienced software professional as many of us are not exposed to that yet.

Pricing and product marketing are also very important functions of a product manager but many times hijacked by sales and other departments. This books explains clearly where are the boundaries and what product managers are expected to do. Pricing has been dealt in good detail using 4Cs as the framework for pricing (Cost, Competition, Customers, Change).

Over all a good book for introduction. There is nice appendix for suggested reading and list of references for additional reading. That is something a small book like this should always do to point readers hungry for additional material and this book does it.


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Sunday, February 11, 2007

More Random Reflections about job search

Follow up to my recent post.

1) Use job boards with discretion. Posting your resume on job board is easy and simple. But, in the interest of your time and energy, do not make your contact info available. Better take control of your job search and send resumes to only those companies that interest you. It certainly can be a little bit of extra work but sifting thru tonnes of e-mails most of which are irrelevant wastes far more time.

2) Searching for a job while working full time can be a very difficult task. It is like working one more job-- at least part of another job. One approach that can work well if you have a lot of vacation time left is to take every Friday or Monday off and put as many phone interviews or other interviews for that day. That day rest of the week you can do justice to your job. Weekends can be spent preparing for the job.

3) Do not underestimate the preparation required. On an average you need to allocate at least 2 hours per interview. More the better. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. It is not easy but required. Tape your answers and listen back till you can perfect your answers to key questions. There are no fixed key questions -- you need to find out based on the job you are applying for and other things. Preparing well for at least few key questions puts in you in a better position to answer any related questions better than not preparing for any key questions at all.

4) Use recruiters well. Recruiters are getting very busy due to hot job market. That's the reason to develop, maintain and strengthen relationships with top recruiters in your area and specialty. Recruiters can open up opportunities where none exist because of their contacts, they can tell about you to a hiring manger and he/she can create a specific opening if they like what recruiter has to say about you.

5) Do not burn any bridges. Once you know someone, it is better to be in their good books. "Say nothing if you have nothing good to say about someone." Although this is good, it is better to have something good to say about everyone and every company you have worked in the past. If you take sometime, good things will come out of every experience and interaction you have had. More senior the position you apply for people look for maturity and bad mouthing some or some company is a sure turn off  from that angle. What you feel about something in private be private and public.

6) Contrary to what  many books on job search say, it is just not possible to defer salary related discussions too far. Like everyone else, people want to know if the job they are considering you for pays what you are looking for. If you have done your home work well, you should not be talking to people with jobs which are not in the salary range you are looking for. So, do a lot of research about the salary and compensation etc. is one good source.

More later.

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