Did Your Product Manager Really Say That?

Crazy things that product managers say

Everyone I know in technology picks up jargon and funky talk as a way of fitting in or standing out in the office. Sometimes the “MBA speak” is used to obfuscate what is really intended or needed — allowing only those “in the know” to “parse” what the speaker really means.

Unfortunately, product managers seem to be the worst offenders. And partly it is not their fault because they sit at the epicenter of the business and converse with tribes from every direction. But if you know a product manager, it is time to help him stop. “Lean in” and intervene because the phrases can often be “counter-productive” — or worse, a “red herring” that distracts from what really needs to be said and done.

Now, I realize that if we were to “touch foreheads” we would “see eye-to-eye” that many of these phrases replaced other less interesting ways of speaking. And if swapped out their replacements, we might make a similar list in a few years. Imagine if we replaced “low hanging fruit” with “slow moving meat” because our friends in sales (“elephant hunters”) were carnivores. We would all “lose our cookies.”

Regardless, below are my top 35 most overheard phrases that product managers say. I am sure that every product, marketing, and engineering team can add many others to the list.

  1. What’s the ask?
  2. Skate to where the puck will be
  3. A pig and a chicken
  4. Table stakes
  5. Full plate
  6. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature
  7. P1
  8. Best-of-breed
  9. Consensus
  10. Piece of the pie
  11. It’s strategic
  12. Technical debt
  13. ROI
  14. It’s not personal
  15. Next steps
  16. Nice to have
  17. Under resourced
  18. I will talk with the stakeholders
  19. Movember
  20. Touch base
  21. Take this offline
  22. Move the goal posts
  23. Paradigm shift
  24. Bottom this out
  25. It’s on the roadmap
  26. A team
  27. Game-changer
  28. We are in this together
  29. Keep your eye on the ball
  30. Left field
  31. No brainer
  32. It’s in the next release
  33. All hands on deck
  34. Low hanging fruit
  35. Ducks in a row

What would you add to the list?

About Brian and Aha!

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 roadmap software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the adventure of living a meaningful life.

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