Running around in circles. This is not an uncommon feeling for product managers. You have so many items on your To-do list and so many meetings to attend. You are doing important work — but it seems like you never have the time to stop and reflect on it. So let’s take a moment and stop.
I spent an hour driving three miles. Welcome to Los Angeles — that was my commute. I was working as a product manager at an e-commerce company on the west side. Some call the area “Silicon Beach.” Most days it felt more like “Silicon Gridlock.” But there was something that eased the frustration.
“There has got to be a better way.” This was my inner monologue as a product manager. I found myself creating the same reports again and again. I would spend late nights in the office, painstakingly updating the same spreadsheets and tracking down outdated versions. It was frustrating and incredibly time-consuming. Read more…
Sometimes your gut instinct is wrong. I discovered this a number of years ago after launching a new product. A strange phenomenon was happening. The more support interactions a customer had, the more likely they were to keep using the product. Wait — what? The more problems customers had, the longer they stayed with us?
Who is the most misunderstood in technology? I would say it is the person who plans what will be built next. This person — often called the product manager — is a puzzler to many. Just consider how many different job titles are used for people who do the work of product management: product manager, product owner, business analyst, and even program or project manager sometimes. To keep it simple — let’s refer to these folks as product managers.
It is one thing to write down your thoughts in a private journal. It is quite another to publish those thoughts for everyone to read. You need to have a strong conviction to share what you have learned. That is why I started writing on the Aha! blog — to share my views about building great products and companies with others who are trying to do the same.
Does it ever feel like there is just too much information coming your way? You are not the only one who is exhausted. The whole team is drowning — chasing down customer requests, navigating conflicting executive decrees, and trying to prioritize which colleague to respond to first. It is no wonder the mental exhaustion seems contagious. This overcommitted and overloaded state is not sustainable. But the solution might surprise you.
So you want to be a product manager? I can understand why. It is an exciting path for ambitious folks who want to make a real impact. If I was starting my career over, I would choose product management again and get to it faster. And I would do it with more confidence knowing what I know now.
In the middle of a major product launch, it can feel like you are running in a million different directions all at once. But in that eye of the storm, you will always find the best product marketers. These folks work closely with product and engineering teams and explain what is new to customers and the teams who support those customers. The trusted product marketer is a steady force.
Product managers are often focused on what is coming next. As you should be, right? And as a busy product manager, it is likely that you do not find much time for self-reflection built into your daily schedule. Still, it is important to occasionally take a step back and consider where you are headed and why.
Here is a riddle for you: How do you go really fast while taking your time? No, this is not a trick question. It is actually inspired by an old Latin phrase, “festina lente.” By now you are probably wondering why you should care about this ancient oxymoron.
Too many books and not enough time. This is how I feel every time I look at my long list of books to read. And while most of us dream of spending hours reading at the end of a busy day — the reality is that we often fall asleep before the end of chapter one.
You start the day off ready to cruise through your schedule and To-do list. And then… the speed bumps appear out of nowhere. Impromptu meetings. Last-minute requests. Fire drills from the sales team. If this sounds like your typical work day, I have good news for you — you are a fortunate product manager. Read more…