Sunday, July 19, 2015

How To Build An Accordian Menu In @AxureRP Prototyping Tool

The accordian menu is a very useful component for web products. I recently build a prototype for a data driven product and used this component. Here is a very useful tutorial on how to build it. You can download the project file for this from the Axure website.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Execution, People, Design

When a senior leader joins a company they are sometimes asked to outline a 90 day plan. It is good to have one even if you are not asked.

At Castlight Health, I am focusing initially on execution, product goals, training and development for my colleagues and product design in that order.

I find that looking at simple foundational things that need to be done is an important first step. If there is a lack of ability to execute, that area needs to be attended to first. This usually boils down to everyone knowing their goals and knowing who does what when to accomplish those goals.

The next things I am focusing on is to find out if the right people are on the right job and if they needs any specific skills. Putting the right people on the right job and getting them the necessary training is the important next step. This includes hiring.

Product Design
The next area is the design of the products that I and my team are responsible for. Even though this is what I love to do, this cannot be done if the first two things are not taken care of.

You might be wondering why I did not mention the word strategy anywhere. I believe that it is hard to change the strategy of a product area until you have gained the trust of your colleagues. I plan to focus on that after the first 90 days. Also, I believe that it is harder to execute on a strategy than to come up with one.

Product Expert to General Manager

To progress in your career, you may have to play the role of a general manager rather than that of a product expert. Product managers who are expected to play the role of a general manager of their product may be wondering what that means.

It is generally easier to play the role of an expert in a product area where you have a lot of experience, education and exposure. However, as you progress in your career, you will have to influence, hire, manage and motivate experts who are more experienced that you in their functional areas. For example a CEO may have to hire and manage HR, sales, engineering, design, finance and marketing experts. No CEO can be an expert in all areas.

Learning how to gain the respect and trust of experts who know more than you and are more experienced than you in their functional areas is a key skill to have to progress in your career. This is when you realize the role of a manager is not to tell people how to do their job but to paint the big picture, articulate the goals, get them the necessary resources, remove hurdles and let them execute towards those goals. It goes without saying that you need to convince those experts that the goal you are setting is worth pursuing.

Good product managers learn to do this at an early stage in their career. Some of them go on to become CEOs.

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