If you’re already a product manager and stepping in to take over an existing product (or parachuting in as a consultant), you need to find your feet quickly. Here’s my checklist for that first week, and the first month.
I’m thrilled to be speaking at the Product Management Festival in Zurich, Sept 17-18. Keynotes are Ben Yoskovitz and Kenneth Norton; other well-known US-based speakers include Teresa Torres, Jeff Lash, Ellen Gottesdiener, Trevor Rotzien and Jonathan Ozeran.
As a long-time B2B infrastructure product manager, I’m used to thinking about my customers as guys. IT managers and directors, 30-50, developers or sys admins who’ve been pushed up into management, frustrated, under-appreciated and under-resourced, pale from weekends spent inside… I’m exaggerating on purpose. Rrecent chats with three women who run IT groups reminded me that we (product managers) need to channel our diverse customer base — wherever it leads us.
In partnership with Brainmates, I will be delivering a one-day workshop in Sydney AU on product management, prioritization and roadmaps. Rather than treating roadmaps as documents, we’ll emphasizes the collaborative roadmapping process work through the organizational pressures placed on Product Managers, and teach participants how to align scarce resources with long term customer value.
As data-driven product managers, we’d like to pretend that incoming technical requests are simply transactional. In the real world, though, real people and real agendas are involved. And that means there’s a personal and political context to consider when prioritizing demands on our already-overloaded development organization.
We’re filling product owner slots internally, without much regard to skills or long-term success. Or leaving these slots open for development teams to fill as they may. That’s a road to market failure. We need to be thoughtful, intentional and organizationally savvy about picking and mentoring product owners.
Motivating our development teams may be as important for product managers as writing good requirements. A first step is understanding what matters to devs, such as knowing that real users run/appreciate our products.
Quora question: What kind of politics is involved in the job of a product manager?
My answer: “Politics” has a negative spin to it. Let’s rephrase slightly: Given that no other groups/functions actually report to product management, what are key influencing approaches or styles?
There’s been a lot of good chatter in the PM-osphere about the need for mentoring. If you’re looking for a product management mentor, be clear about your needs and goals. If you can be a mentor, please pitch in.