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What Spinal Tap can tell you about product management

Stonehenge at sunset on a cloudy day.

Image via Wikipedia

One thing they certainly don’t teach in journalism schools is digital product management. But it’s one of the things that people who came through print publishing careers into the online world are increasingly being asked to get to grips with.

Working on TheMediaBriefing.com has certainly been a learning curve – we’re working now with partners at Idio to redevelop the main site and we already have (what I think) is a nifty mobile-optimised site. It’s going to have an improved user interface and more things people can do on the site – with more of an emphasis on our original content, while highlighting the usefulness of our curated links.

There have been all sorts of useful posts and resources that can help with this kind of thing, such as this from the AOP.

But I keep thinking of a particular scene in Spinal Tap. Guitarist David St Hubbins has requested a life-size model of Stonehenge to accompany a particularly overblown performance of Tap’s epic song of the same name. Hastily he scribbles an outline with ” 18′ ” on a napkin and hands it to his manager. Of course, he should have wrote 18′, meaning 18 feet, instead of 18 inches. The finished product is not very impressive (embedding disabled, annoyingly).

The first time the band see the finished product is when it’s lowered onto the stage as part of a big finale:

Are you sure your developers know what you want the final product to look like? The right kind of communication is obviously key here.

On a slightly more serious note, you may be interested in this article and video from the AOP’s product management forum in from December.

Update: Still on a rock theme, any graphic designers will enjoy this jaunty Dio-era Sabbath style song, summing up much of what clients ever ask designers to do: Make the logo bigger!

p.s. TheMediaBriefing is having a party in London on 27th September – all welcome. Sign up to our Meetup group for more details as they’re announced.

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