In September 2009, AOP inaugurated its Product Development Committee, which brings together a range of Product Managers and Heads of Product Development from publisher member businesses to share tips and best practice. The topics covered initially included mobile, implementing agile in large media organisations, attracting the right talent and skills for product teams, the mechanics of paid content, analytics and building data teams and developing global products.
Below is some of the content that I wrote, edited or published during my time at AOP. At the time, the discipline was quite new to many UK publishers, so through events, articles and videos, I sought to make accessible what was then a vital new area for media businesses to adopt in order to succeed in digital:
- What do Product Managers do? - In this video, BBC Head of Product Chris Russell explains: 'The metaphor we’re now using is that it’s like the conductor of an orchestra: In the same way that each orchestra has different parts and the first violins come in, and the various other instruments come in at different times, and make the sweet music: each product is a bit like that, and the Product Manager, if they’re fulfilling one role, they are the conductor, knowing when to bring in talents and how to produce a great experience.'
- Why Product Managers are important for publishers - Nic Newman says: 'For me the future of many media companies depends on their ability to build digital media products that consumers love and want to come back to again and again... Increasingly these products are more complex to put together and require a mix of technical, editorial, design and marketing skills - and all of that needs to be orchestrated and co-ordinated with the needs of the audience in mind. That's why product managers are going to be increasingly important figures in the media industry' - read more.
- 'Why is Product Development all the rage for media owners?' - 'Publishers are looking to product managers to balance and bring together expertise from across the business to continually hone their sites, apps and services over a rapidly increasing number of platforms. Crucially, they must develop these in line with what users want and value, and balance those requirements with the needs of the business'
- Product Managers a ‘must have’ resource, says ITV Online MD - this summary of a ProductTank meetup at the BBC demonstrates how senior figures such as BBC Head of Digital Media Ralph Rivera and ITV Online MD Robin Pembrooke are big advocates of product management
- How a print editor became a product manager: From marketing to QA testing or even business development, the career paths into product are many, though editorial rarely seems to be one of them. One exception is Alex Watson, who went from editor of Custom PC Magazine at Dennis, to a mobile product manager working on the Viz iPhone app and more recently the Week on iPad.
- "We should think of ads as products" - A summary and video of the Product for Profit Panel at AOP Summit, October 2011 - featuring Google, Facebook, Pearson, Dennis and Pichler Consulting: “There’s a way of making advertising better. With the example of Trueview, you can actually… make an ad that users like. After 6 months, the RPM for those ads is better than the non-skippable ads. It’s a virtuous circle, if you think of ads as products.”
- BraveNewTalent Head of Product Janna Bastow's useful list of tools for product managers
How the Telegraph developed its paid iPad app (case study)
Ten reasons publishers should adopt agile, by Kelly Waters
Product Development pivotal to shaping the future of “what you should do, not what you could do” a summary of another AOP event, which includes Dennis CTO Paul Lomax's top tips for product success.
- Channel 4 Head of Online Richard Davidson-Houston on how it views the role of Product Manager, Nov 2010
- Spotify's Jon Mitchell on paid content & building products people love
- Guardian Tech Strategy Head Stephen Dunn on Product Development