Four Key Things Product Managers Need to Nail:
1. Managing Demand
To succeed as a Product Manager you have to help the team focus. In an ocean seemingly full of urgent and important options, there will be some very high Cost of Delay opportunities. It’s all too easy to get distracted and confused – and miss the opportunity.
You’ll have to handle demanding customers, under-pressure senior executives, impatient sales & marketing people, nervous investors and many others who want it all – and yesterday, thanks!
What should we work on that will give the best return for the scarce capacity we have?
This is all about supply and demand. Given the scarcity, there’s some difficult decisions to make.
How can you get the most value from some of the most scarce capacity in organisations today.
2. Breaking Work Down
Even when we know which outcomes we’re shooting for, there are hundreds of different paths we could take. And all of those potential journeys start with a first step. Even if you could, it would be foolish to do it in one giant leap. That way lies wasted time, money and talent.
You don’t just want to choose any path, or any first step, you want to get to market quickly and maximise the amount of learning along the way. Breaking down work to small enough pieces to improve flow and visibility is one of the key ways we can tilt the playing field. For this, you’re gonna need some sharp tools for slicing problems and solutions.
Which path should we take and where should we start??
3. Forecasting & Roadmaps
Often, before the starting gun has even fired there are a bunch of people asking: “So, how much do you think this is going to cost? And, when do you think it will be done?”
Some will say this is unknowable; that any response is a guess at best, and a lie at worst. But when you’re trying to make investment decisions, or if you have other dependencies to plan for, these are perfectly reasonable questions that a good Product Manager will be able to handle. But unless your teams have a crystal ball, they’re poorly equipped to answer this question, (no matter how much you whip them).
How do we answer these questions and not make promises we can’t keep?
4. Building Quality Products
Product Management today is less about planning and execution, it is much more about how quickly you can learn what works and what doesn’t. Ignore this at your peril. Product Managers and Product Owners in particular need to understand that quality is primarily a function of how fast your feedback loops are. The most important of these is fast and clear feedback from the market. But it goes much deeper too.
This isn’t a nice to have, it’s crucial to building products that people love with teams that love building it.
How quickly are you learning?
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