Know your real intentions, says John Cutler.
In Summary: Most of the narrative around Product Management tends to focus on the importance of having a 'great product'. But the actual need to do this depends on your company's ultimate objective.
If you're looking for a quick exit or acquisition, chances are you can get by with questionable technology and a flawed business model as long as you can boost your numbers for long enough. In this case, investing in a great product is less important than maintaining the appearance of forward momentum.
If you're looking to build a Forever Company, make a dent in the universe or provide long term employment for your team, you can't afford to cut corners. Having a great product is the best insurance if you're thinking long term.
Hang on round the bends, say Jonathan Kohl.
In Summary: The 3rd part in Jonathan's series on Product Manager archetypes (the other 2 being the Dinosaur and the Underminer), he discusses PMs who either can’t make up their mind, can’t stick to a plan ...or both.
Usually, this happens when the PM is either a visionary who follows instinct above process or someone who lacks the confidence in themselves and their decisions. Working with this archetype can be tiring, confusing and often demotivating for the Product Team.
Good processes and solid communication are important when you encounter this behaviour. Creating your own process helps the team keep their activities focused on shipping great software, and safeguards them from needless distraction and delays.
You're selling outcomes, says Mitchell Harper.
In Summary: If you think people want to buy your product, you’ve got it all wrong. They want to buy the specific result that your product gives them.
People will buy from the company who does the best job articulating their problem, empathising with them and showing them how they can solve their problem as quickly as possible.
Product marketing should focus on the one specific result you can provide to your customers that’s better than your competitors. This immediately boosts your appeal as you’re no longer just selling products or features like everyone else.
Product Managers should remember that people care about themselves and about solving their problems. Position your business to do that and watch your sales take off.
Be a sword and a shield, says Cliff Gilley (aka The CleverPM).
In Summary: Empathy is a critical skill that all PMs must possess in abundance and understanding what particularly motivates or annoys engineers is critical to the success of your relationship with them.
Cliff cites the need to respect engineers' desires to solve problems (not just take orders) and the importance of avoiding micromanagement, unnecessary random requests and changing priorities.
In many organisations, the engineering team is separated from 'the business' and it's a Product Manager's role to act as a bridge between the two. It's essential PMs ensure engineers feel part of the vision of the company and aren't excluded from business decisions.
Product Management is (or should be) a relatively thankless job, Cliff concludes. By passing praise onto the team but deflecting criticism, a PM's selflessness is the team's gain.
Don't start with solutions, says Mikael Cho.
In Summary: Products need to solve a problem for people to use them, but this aspect is often overlooked and the product becomes a solution in search of a problem.
When building product at Crew, Mikael focussed on 3 types of input to ensure his team had clear sight of the problem they were trying to solve. These were data, customer input and intuition.
If your product can deliver multiple 'wow' moment to users, it's more likely to gain traction. Mikael breaks down the 4 x 'wow' moments that Uber provides as an example of how the best products create engagement loops.
By speaking to a variety of stakeholder types, Mikael's team drew up a long list of problems and categorised them. The hardest problems provide the greatest opportunities for you to 'wow' your users.