Whenever I see a blogpost titled ‘How to be more productive’, or ‘The 5 habits of highly productive people’, I experience a gagging reflex.

In the past 5 to 10 years, blogging platforms and social media have been littered with those clickbait titles that leave you unhappy with yourself and utterly bored. Productivity articles are predictable, repetitive and add no value to people’s wellbeing; they promote an unrealistic, robotic, and inhumane vision of modern working habits.

Men and women should strive to maximise happiness. If maximising your productivity means maximising your happiness, then all is well and good, but if…


If I had a penny for every time my manager asked to know about my monthly active users I wouldn’t be a millionaire, but I would have definitely gotten more shoes in my closet.

Even as a Mixpanel premium user, I cannot give access to all company board members and executives, and even if I could, they would’t bother to login and look at the dashboard, let alone dig through the data. …


Let’s face it, developers make the world go round when it comes to tech startups. More often than not though, they do not report to Product, so to get them to do what you want, you need to convince them. To get them to do what you want faster and better, they need to love you. To love you, they need to see the best you can be, the leader they crave for. The steps below will point you in the right direction.

Drop the ‘I’ in all communications

As a product manager you are part of a team and this you should acknowledge in all…


Checklists are a powerful tool to guide us at stressing times, they are used in all fields of work ranging from surgery to disaster response, to product management.

One of the most stressful tasks that can be asked of a product manager, is the orchestration of a product launch. Product launches are very hard to get right, as most of us product managers, are more used to taking on already existing products. Checklists for product launches then come to the rescue: but what about the other phases of a product life cycle?

Products are living organisms: they are conceived, born…


Big Data, predictive analytics, real time analytics, machine learning, are today’s top buzzwords. They show up in job descriptions, tech articles, industry panel interviews and they inevitably snake their way into product roadmaps. It’s easy to believe that the answer to any problem is simply to get more data, but in order to set up a succesful data business you need to first start by making the data more usable.

Here are some thoughts on what data usability means.

Human vs Machine usability

Is data usable by humans not usable for machines and viceversa? The answer is “No”. Machine-usable data is also human-usable data.


About two years ago I decided to get a Day Skipper license, so I could sail a boat and enjoy island hopping in the Mediterranean. I had this picture of myself at the helm of a sailing boat, enjoying the sunshine with a beer on deck and diving in crystal blue waters, while the boat was safely anchored just outside a quaint port: nothing had prepared me for the beautifully harsh reality of sailing.

See, before the training, I had only sailed in the Med, with no tidal heights to worry about, and with relatively good weather. I knew the…


Prototyping and testing are among the most important, yet most ignored phases of the product development cycle. This is especially true when less experienced product managers work on non graphical interfaces, as it is easier to think of visual prototypes than it is of APIs.

Here is a complete guide for product managers, to produce a simple API prototype that can be used for user testing and as a precious artefact to express requirements to the development team. Let’s start!

Skills Required

  • Browse files via Terminal
  • JSON/YAML editing
  • Swagger Open API specification
  • Some basic knowledge of Python development

Step 1: Document your API

Head towards the Swagger


Specialist jargon often baffles the uninitiated an impacts all professions: product management is no exception. I am going to burst some of the most cryptic jargon of day-to-day product management so that you can more quickly get to the bottom of what people are really talking about.

Stakeholder a.k.a. Nuisance no. 1

A stakeholder is someone who has an interest in what you are doing, which 99 out of 100 times means they are going to be a pain. Managers force stakeholder strategy on their product people, because they are scared you will go rogue and create a 5-legged table with a curved top that…


When a couple decides to get married they usually have two options: organise the event themselves or hire someone.

When my husband and I — both product managers — decided to get married we figured we would do it ourselves: no amount of coordination nor trust could have given us the memories that we wanted to create, so we set on our path of becoming Wedding Product Managers!

Here are some tips on how to manage your wedding as a product.

Make your website stand out from the crowd

Identify the key features that your audience will want to use on your website and stick to the platform…


The single most frequent question I have been asked as a product manager, has always been: “What’s your product vision?”.

My problem with this question is that the tech industry is riddled with the illusion of the omniscient product manager. I don’t believe that a product vision is something bestowed by the product manager to the rest of the team to adhore and believe like some sort of ancient relic that will save us all. I believe a product vision is developed and nurtured by the entire team, where the product manager happens to be its strongest advocate and guardian.

Maria Cerase

Eternal searcher, sample of Italian madness. Product and Usability expert. Find more about me on www.mariacerase.com

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