Saturday, November 30, 2019

Is Product (Management) hard ?

Is Product (Management) hard ?
One could argue, without much disagreements, that most professions (if done right) are hard. So what's so specific about Product Management ? Marty Cagan delved deeper into this question for Product Management profession in his enlightening talk that i got a chance to go through recently. (My hashtagsketchnote summary below) What stood out for me in his talk was that it touched upon some not so oft-spoken aspects of the PM function. For example: Talk Video: (~1 hour 50 min) htag

My Sketchnote Summary:

My notes from the talk:

- Most product managers don't do their homework.
- Product managers are not backlog administrators, they got to meet customers to be able to make decisions.
- Product managers should be seen as believable. They will be believable only if they meet customers.
- Do your homework and be smart to find people who can help you make decisions.
- if you don't know how various functions (sales, marketing, finance, contracts etc.) impact the product, then you are going to impact the various decisions up to CEO or some exec. If you can't take decisions, you are just a backlog administrator, not a Product Manager.

- You could be working like crazy but get nothing done.
- You cannot do a Product Manager job if you cannot spend four quality hours a day. No meetings, No distraction during this time.
- Technology often succeeds in interrupting us.
- Turn airplane mode on your phone to get things done.
- Get over the feeling that you got to be there in every meeting where your product is being hinted at.

- Humility is so important in product. Recognizing your ignorance and doing something about it is a skill that is table stakes for a PM job.

Process- "Dual Track": Objectives-> Discovery -> Delivery
- Output (Feature) is different than a business result
- Discovery is all about tackling the risks upfront, not at the end. Four risks: Value risk (Will people buy it,
Usability risk (Can they figure out how to use it), Feasibility risk (Can we actually build it), Viability risk (Will it work for different stakeholders in the business). In product, our obligation is that the stuff our engineers build, addresses these risks i.e. is it worth building?
- Define collaboratively
- Outcome not Output
- Discovery: Try 10 different things for every one that works- Google
- Product managers should be measured on results, not on shipping features.
- Slide 7: Engineer risks vs PM risks
- If you use your engineers only to code, you are using only half their value. Engineers should be spending some amount of their time working with PM on discovery.
- One of the most motivating things you can do for engineers is to show them customers in pain.

Product:- Outcome based Roadmap: what would get improved if we execute this roadmap. Attach OKR, KPIs. Talk about the KPI Everytime you talk about the roadmap.
- Execs care about business results, roadmaps should lead us to that- not just the features.
- Good Product Managers understand the underlying constraints, not simply pass on the requirements.
- Pick the priorities that moves the needle.

Culture:- Lean canvas for your product.
- Understanding various elements of the business is a part of your homework.
- One of the key roles of a product manager is to ensure that engineers are excited about what is being built. They are a team of missionaries and not mercenaries. Share full business context with the team- like cost per customer, lifetime value, how much money is lost on every customer, economics of the business. It helps engineers and motivates them especially if it is difficult, which more often it is.
- No good innovation came because a customer asked for it. (No customer ever asked for Amazon Prime). One of the things about customers is that they are always unhappy, there's always more they need. And that's a good thing.
- As a Product Manager, be transparent about what you learn and share it.
- Hardest kind of Product Management is the platform because you have so many constituents, very demanding requirements.
- Most important thing in product- Knowing what you can't know- Marc Andreesen

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