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.
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.
Executives are often unclear about what a VP of Product Management does, and therefore the skills and experience to look for in candidates. Here are six aspects of the senior product job that tilt toward experience and organizational skills – rather than pure technical brilliance.
Dear JobLorn: I have a complicated relationship with my ex-company. We had a bad breakup about a year ago which included a two-year “non-compete” agreement – the office equivalent of a Temporary Restraining Order. I love my old niche market, but had to take a product management job elsewhere to pay the bills.
Completing a three-post skills model for product owners, partly borrowed from product management… For some projects, product owners need market-facing skills as well as core agile practices (release/sprint planning, story writing, prioritization, backlog grooming). They *may* need to tell economic stories, segment users, design incentives and take a portfolio-level view.
Rich: I’m a product manager writing PRDs, but my features are always de-prioritized when engineering allocates resources. (We have constrained engineering bandwidth). How can I get priority for my features so that my PRD will see the light of day?
— Generating Reams of Unfunded MRDs and PRDs
Basic product owner descriptions assume a best-case situation: clear sponsor/user alignment, obvious project value, willing subject experts, budget authority and rational expectations. What skills do product owners need for real world projects?
How do we reconcile the broad, market-focused scope of a technology product manager with the sprint-level attention to excellence of a product owner? In the first of three posts, I propose a customer diversity scale to identify how much “product-manager-ness” a product owner needs.
“I’m a new MBA who’s just moved out to San Francisco, and am looking for a product marketing job. I worked on analytic tools for banks before B-School, but got a cool internship with a Bay Area social media company here last summer. So I want to work on something more exciting than FinTech. How should I restructure my résumé and LinkedIn profile?
— Recently Moved to the Bay Area with a Respectable MBA”