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The Coronavirus pandemic has turned into a global health and humanitarian crisis. But even when we beat it and go back to work things will not be as they were. There are clear signs of a global economic recession, if not a full depression. There’s much uncertainty, but it’s likely that for a number of years markets will cool down, investments will dry up, customers will clamp down on spendings, and lots of people will be unemployed.

What does it mean to you, your job and your company?

A recession is a time of high volatility, uncertainty and risk. For…

Managers and product managers are often frustrated by the apparent lack of care the development team is showing for the needs of the business. The team is forever busy with engineering and design projects (some visible and some well hidden), while business-critical projects are dragging on at a snail’s pace. When a long-awaited product or feature finally launches, it often comes well short of the needs.

It’s tempting to think that the developers — engineers, designers, data engineers, simply don’t care, or lack “right culture”, but that’s actually rarely the case. More often, they’re cut of the planning cycle and…

Here are a few important things to know about product ideas: 1) the vast majority of ideas lead to no measurable improvements in business results or value-to-customer (some actually cause negative results) 2) No one, no matter how senior or experienced, can predict which ideas will work and which won’t — there are just too many unknowns. 3) Most companies use weak heuristics, opinions and archaic decision processes to place bets on a handful of unproven ideas. I’d argue that this is by far the biggest source of waste in the industry.

The alternative is of course evidence-driven product development

Imagine finding yourself in an elevator with your CEO or top investor. After a brief hello she lands the big question on you: “How is the product doing?” You have 30 seconds to answer. A simple “all good” won’t cut it — you need numbers. Your mind runs through your dashboard. Each metric conveys a part of the picture, but in isolation is not meaningful enough and might confuse the exec. If only there was one easy-to-understand metric that would capture it all…

Guess what — it’s not just CEOs and investors that needs this metric. Your team, manager and…

Since their invention at Intel in the late 1970s, Objectives and Key Results have amassed a huge following. It certainly helps that Google, Amazon, Dropbox and other tech super-companies attribute so much of their success to them. John Doerr’s book Measure What Matters is further fueling this fire. Many companies are either implementing or have already implemented OKRs. It’s the tool I get asked about the most.

But here’s the thing — OKRs are just containers for goals. They serve bad goals just as well as they do good goals. In fact, of all the management tools, OKRs are the…

In tech we have huge bias for Execution — building things and launching them fast and with the right quality. A million underwhelming launches later, we now know we should focus on something else: Learning — systematically discovering the right product, market and business model. All execution and no learning exposes you to launching a great product no one needs (we’ve all been there). All learning and no execution gets you stuck in the quagmire of analysis paralysis. How to progress on two different fronts at the same time? What’s the right balance?

I’m going to go over three options…

Ever since I started writing about the GIST framework (Goals, Ideas, Steps, Tasks) and helping teams implement it, the question the comes up the most is “what tool should we use?” While I don’t think tools are are as important as we tend to think, in this post I’ll give you a few options, including a new tool that I think you should know about — the GIST Board.

But first, what is GIST?

GIST is a framework I created for product planning and execution, based on principles of Lean Startup, Growth Marketing, User-centered design, Behavioral Economics and more. It breaks planning into four parts…

And how we usually get value wrong

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.

— Albert Einstein

Value for user (as opposed to value of a user) is a critically important product concept. It’s at the bottom of product/market fit, growth, revenue and basically much more. Few things help products more than injecting them with lots and lots of value. The product can be buggy (Early Microsoft Windows), user experience can suck (early Facebook’s mobile app), your marketing budget may be zero (early Google Search) and yet high-value will attract customers your product and make them use it again and again. …

Moving beyond ToDo lists

Staying productive is as challenging to me as it is for most people. Procrastination, constant feeling of not doing enough, working long hours — I have all the symptoms. However, as I started working with companies and observed their notion of productivity, often keeping everyone busy chasing projects that lead nowhere, I started seeing the flaws in my own perceptions:

  • Like many companies my plans were mostly based on intuition and gut feeling, yet they were not agile enough to cope with uncertainty and not helping me accomplish my goals.
  • Like many teams I measured my productivity by output (number…

Itamar Gilad

Product, strategy and growth consultant and speaker, ex-Google product manager (Gmail, Youtube)

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