Product Management

There are popular definitions and then there are lived experiences.

Here is my take on product management as a lived experience than as a definition.

Product managers own the success of the product. In their ownership they strive to keep the probability of product success very high.

Success is typically measured by business profitability, growth, customer acquisition and customer retention. Every other metric is a subset of the main ones.

They work with various disciplines (design, engineering, business, marketing etc), influence the product group + leadership, ask questions, brainstorm, listen generously, judge the pros/cons and actively prioritize what is important for product success. They don't shy away from putting things out in the market and learn from what is sticking and what is not. They bet heavily on their believability (aka being right a lot). They don't stop there. They collect evidence to correct their believability. They use evidence to make decisions.

They too are human beings, and they are biased (confirmation bias, selection bias, anchoring bias, herd bias and more). Good product managers change their mind often. They are flexible. They operate on their beginner's mindset. They are cautious about the investments (time, energy, capital, labour). They negotiate tooth and nail. They care about reusability and scalability. Their articulation ability is almost flawless. They are organized and structured in their mind. They are good at articulating decisions in the moment, and they do keep an account. Best product managers I have worked with are introverts. They speak less but they speak with evidence. They are compelling storytellers. They change hats as project managers if the team struggles with timelines, scoping and resourcing. They become program managers when the team is managing large initiatives. They see the fitment of the product in the entire portfolio. They are product managers at all times. They keep the product success at the heart of everything. They don't lose focus on the horizon even while zooming in and out. That is a lot of juggling and context switching in one lifetime.

There was a time I had a disdain for product managers: wondering what they are doing a designer like me cannot. After becoming a product manager first hand I understood what all they do every day that designers don't. While I choose to remain a designer for the rest of my life, I have my deep respects for product managers.

Of course, there are good ones and crappy ones. It is always a pleasure to work with good ones. You get to learn a lot. I have had the privilege of working with some amazing ones in my career. I continue to have that priviledge.

P.S: This post was inspired from our ritual "DAILY CONVERSATIONS" in Women in Product India Community.

🥂to PMs!

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