It starts off with the best intentions. You are planning an upcoming release and notice that the support documentation needs to be updated. You could turn to a teammate and ask them to jump in. But instead you think, “I’ll just do it this once — it will be quicker this way.” Before you know it, you are spending lots of time in an area where your colleagues are experts. You have become the fix-it product manager.
“I am just too busy to read.” This is what people usually say when I ask for book recommendations. But are you really too busy? I would argue that there are things you could probably limit or remove to make room for even 15 minutes of reading each day. One less Netflix binge? Not checking social media before bed? Read more…
How is your “project manager” job going? People always asked me this earlier in my career when I worked as a product manager. If you are a product manager, I bet you have heard the same. It is because most people still do not know that product managers exist. And they definitely do not know what we do.
I was in the throes of first-week jitters. It was early in my career and I was starting out as a product manager. Did I even belong in the new job? I was confident I had the work ethic, the ambition, the team spirit… but I did not yet have the tactical know-how. Each new day brought new stress.
Most product managers I know are optimistic realists. I am both — a former product manager and an optimistic realist. So call me biased. You could say it is their nature, but I think it comes from the job. Product managers plan thoroughly and vigorously for a future that is better than today. But getting there requires a certain confidence.
Do you like to focus on the big picture — or get down in the details? It is true that our brains tend to favor one side or the other. But if you are a product manager your answer to this question should be “both.” Growing a successful product requires both top-down and bottom-up planning.
I care about product managers. A lot. This should not be a surprise. If you have been reading this blog for some time, then you know that I once was one. Product managers are special because they sit at the epicenter of everything. They communicate ideas, set strategy, and lead cross-functional teams to create products that delight customers. But there is something else that may be a surprise.
Woosh. 2017 was intense. So much happened in current events and business and everywhere else. We saw product managers take on a more critical role within companies than ever before. Yet amid all the topsy-turvy there was one thing that did not waver — the power of the written word.
Are you panicking yet? It is that time of year. Last-minute gift shopping. Maybe you are rushing off to the mall or paying extra for overnight shipping. Or, if you celebrate Hanukkah, you are now just late. We get it — you want to give the people you care about the absolute perfect gift. Our team at Aha! feels this way all the time. But our gift-giving looks a little different.
I do not envy substitute teachers. While most of the class will follow the new leader, there are always a few kids who misbehave in ways they would not dare with the “regular” teacher. It is a job with lots of responsibility yet limited authority. Product managers can probably relate.
There are certain phrases that make a product manager cringe. For me, it is when customers refer to the process of submitting feedback as throwing ideas into a “black hole.” Ouch. I never want a customer to feel this way. This is one reason why our team at Aha! created a new goal this year: zero unreviewed customer ideas. Seriously.
I was looking for some inspiration. This was back in October 2016 and we were in planning mode. Our product teams at WhiteHat Security had spent most of the year struggling to stay true to one annual roadmap. But as we looked back, it was clear that what we had said we would do and what we were delivering simply were not the same. Why?
I have some bad news. And it will not be surprising for most product managers. Our job frequently involves telling people things they do not want to hear. In fact, I would say the job of a product manager involves more difficult conversations than most. Even communicating what some would consider very bad news.