Product Management

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I have worked as a product manager for 3 different division at HP, each time moving to extend my knowledge and experience as a product manager. In reverse chronological order:

UNIX Product Manager
I moved to the UNIX team as a product manager to give me time to learn the product, establish myself with and to get to know the team. After 4 months I was promoted to manager of the product management team. Below is shown a few of the major tasks and successes I had.

Product Management I managed the product management team with responsibilities that included: forecasting, product structure, product packaging, product pricing, product documentation e.g. configuration guide, product bundling, 3rd components, Product POR, discontinuance planning, release schedule, licensing and product packaging. 
10.20 Obsolescence Plan Obsolescence Announcement
Processor Support   Licensing Terms Statement
Product Extended Support Statement Product Update Statement
Product Naming 11.0 Discontinuance Plan Discontinuance Statement
Strategic Planning and POR The POR was an "ad hoc" process where the R&D lab built enhancements and releases for the produced based on their perception of the engineering/product needs and availability resources. This caused chaos and the product roadmap was constantly in crisis. In conjunction with R&D management I formalized the process for enhancements and release planning, and documented this via a formal POR. 
UX Road Map Features UX Features by Version UX Roadmap Discussion

I assigned and coached resources from product management team to maintain the documentation and relationship with the R&D planning team, and provide executive level support for this effort when problem resolution was needed. I was intimately involve with the decision making on the POR and built and excellent working relationship with R&D management team to the point of "co-opting" their resources to help with "technical collateral" and "customer engagements".

Forecasting and Profitability HP-UX had no 5 year forecast for sales, revenue or attrition. I worked directly with the finance folks and personally "ripped down" 10 years of order data to developed the the spreadsheets below. These forecasts were socialized with all of the stakeholder and constituents so they could "buy into" them.  I produced the forecast and the finance folks validated the assumption and data. This work was important because it formed the basis for the value and investment in the product line:
UX Merchant OEM revenue UX OE Portfolio Forecast - Migration 
UX Revenue Summary UX OE Portfolio Forecast - Technical
Summary Report Consolidated  UX OE Portfolio Forecast 
UX Revenue Summary based on Server Forecast UX vPars Revenue
Pricing When I arrive in HP-UX there was a shift underway to move to virtual servers using partitioning. This caused a disjoint in pricing because customers wanted to use "portions" of a server rather than the whole server. In conjunction with finance, R&D and the other software groups we redesigned the pricing model and I believe "invent PPL" pricing. PPL pricing was deployed after much consideration and I then spent the next 12 months defending and discounting it to customers, sales reps and industry analyst alike. Because of my work on PPL I also invited work on the pricing model for HPs e.g. ICOD, PAYGO and several other projects where pricing was an issue or the model was changing. Examples of the pricing work I did is 
Ongoing Tiered Pricing Support IPF Pricing
Customer Escalation Almost all customer escalations that could not be resolved at regional level came to me. The range of items varied from pricing, discounts, press release clarification, early release information, commitment letter etc..

Most of the time the resolution to issues was knowing who to call and setting up follow-on conference calls.

Merchandizing HP-UX was ordered via dozens and dozens of items. This made it almost impossible to get a clean order "right first time". I change the product structure to be 4 items, each being a super-sets of the previous set. They offering were called Operating Environments and they were integration tested by R&D. The OEs were "tuned" for specific customers. I worked with finance to make the changes were almost revenue neutral for HP and customers. An added benefit of this approach was that customer started using component they'd not used because they'd never ordered them. Again I spent the next 12 month defending the change until the "penny dropped for customers". We knew the OE approach was successful when Sun copied what we'd done and them Microsoft a little later.

 

CPD Product Manager
I moved to the CPD to work in the 3rd party product incubator team.

The mode was to evaluate products that could be sold via HP, where HP would take responsibility for the product structure, packaging, support and sales. Product were proposed almost weekly and need to be evaluated quickly as to whether the product was suitable for the program. I developed a financial model and induction process for products as I evaluated them. and became Responsible for evaluation of all complex 3rd party technologies for suitability as the basis for HP product or business. Example included:

Products:

Small Office Windows Server telephone exchange base on Nortel Hardware and Software
VoIP by Cisco Software
Follow-me call services byStarvox technology

I was also product manager for one of the major products that had a "strategic acceptance" just before I arrived i.e Small Office Windows Server telephone exchange from Nortel.      

Challenges:

To quickly test product ideas and make recommendations.
Quickly becoming an expert on a new technology, market and product category.
Several of the offerings had fairly high-level support within HP.

ASAP Product Manager - Software Engineering Services
I was invited to take the position as ASAP product manager because I'd worked as a technical consultant and had written many software programs for customers as part of consulting engagements. I'd also had extensive dealing with India and had visited as part of a "knowledge transfer" for several discontinued products that were being made obsolete and moved to a support group in India.

ASAP was a "software development teams for hire" program, with the software development teams in India being "front ended" by geography based consulting groups.

The program wasn't very successful until I identified the "porting needs" of HP's big deal process.  As HP deployed programs from other platform, porting from IBM to HP was always a problem. I identified this and positioned the ASAP Teams as a low cost solution that could meet the needs of the customer and big deal process. Once deal teams learned the ease of working with and level of competency of the ASAP team, other "none porting" projects were offered and the program gained traction. Once we had traction I added other offering that include Y2K Remediation, Euro02 Remediation, Application Development, Application Integration and Application Migration.

Below is a few of the collateral items I write as internal and external marketing pieces including a Web Site I wrote for the team.

ASAP Generic Presentation ASAP Web Site ASAP Generic Single Slide
ASAP Planning Workshop ASAP Planning Checklist  
MCAS Qualification Questionnaire MCAS Overview Presentation MCAS Data Sheet
MCAS Presentation   MCAS Telecom Skill Brief MCAS Solution Support
ASAP Y2K Overview Presentation ASAP Y2K Presentation

Copyright Mike Wardley, 2011