As with most complex things in life, there’s no single solution or approach – a “one size fits all” to ensure success. Product Management is certainly in this category. There are a number of adages to that can help though. Recently the team over at Product Faculty published “10 Habits to be an Elite Product Manager”. Here’s a recap of them along with some of my thoughts.
- Strategy – While execution is always important, strategy is where the bulk of the value a Product Manager can provide comes from. But as they point out, it’s easy to get caught on the “hamster wheel”. It’s only with a discipline and faithfulness to schedule time to synthesize and digest information – time to think – that a PM can deliver strategy.
- Time Management- The ability to discern the vital few from the trivial many of things to do is essential. Our time is limited and “not all tasks are equal” or worthy of your [immediate] time.
- Building Trust – Base ball players practice squeeze plays so when the skill and teamwork is needed for this unique situation they are ready. Similarly, you need to have rapport built and trust established before it’s “[time to] leverage it”. Take time to build this, early and often.
- Customer – The ability to advocate for the customer takes time. You can leverage data and other insights to help guide you until “you can make informed decisions without the data”.
- Company – Business viability always matters. Understand the “business needs” and you’ll avoid alienating stakeholders along the way which will improve the efficiency of which you build something.
- Alignment – Alignment isn’t the same as agreement. We can align on the goal but disagree on the approach so long as everyone’s committed to the goals. Disagree but commit as Jeff Bezo’s says.
- Roadmap – Roadmaps evolve over time and the further out they run, the greater the evolution. Keeping “stakeholders informed” will serve you well for points 3 and 6 above.
- Execution – Early on in a role in particular, but even later, don’t pause to learn everything. Continue development and execution in parallel of learning a new client base, environment or culture.
- Process – A great deal has been said about iterating to create great product. Don’t forget though, your “processes should iterate too”. Evolve everything, assume there’s room for improvement.
- Performance – Save 10-20% of your time to “hone your craft and learn new skills”. By continuously getting better, you become more effective and that effectiveness compounds over time. You will reach a point where the number of hours you can give is exhausted and the only way to do more is to do something more effectively. Similar to point 1, it takes discipline to do this regularly and not say yes to business until all of your time is exhausted.
Nice work from Product Faculty! Have a great weekend!