If I Could Relearn Product Management
The path here
College life was finally over, and I had decided what my path was going to be. Building and shipping technology products would be my profession. But before that, I had to gather complete knowledge about my to-be profession.
Articles, business podcasts, cold calls and Twitter founders provided sufficient information about PM (product management). This helped me immensely in the growth of my career, and I hope this article offers encouragement and information to those interested in product management.
Product management requires strict discipline, especially in terms of executing a task and guiding others. This I learnt during my tenure at Microsoft Azure, the building which accommodated Kubernetes and containers.
Among all this, there are three fundamental rules to be followed since product management is a job that requires extreme focus and consideration. These are rules which would have helped me immensely had I got them my first day of work. But since I didn’t, I hope these rules help you all become better, more aspiring, and up to date product managers.
Rule #1: PM involves a system of personal ownership and non-dedicated roles.
Talking about Product management, it is a system that consists of a set of responsibilities that are not made just for the dedicated people. Each team has the potential to create wonders. All we need to do is trust them and arm them with the weapon called clarity. But just because a PM focuses on this doesn’t mean he should ignore all other work. Since he is the head, he is held accountable for everything that takes place.
He must raise the standard of the product to such an extent that no one else can reach that height. Along with this, he should also create further opportunities for the growth of the company.
1. Taking ownership of your product is the first step. You can create an atmosphere of change hurdled by many factors, but it is up to you to break through that and reach the sky as that is the limit.
2. Try to hone and perfect the critical skills you possess since they can be used to prioritize effectively and share clearly. It is never possible to gain all the information, so it is better to make good decisions.
3. Do the grunt and base work a product needs, as required. One should always be prepared to patch docs, open pull requests, or set up meetings. You should also aim to complete those tasks which are not essential if your product benefits from them.
Rule #2: PM requires a breadth of capability & patching depth of knowledge
A primary characteristic of ownership is to make sure that critical facts and pages are not left unseen. The amount of time spent learning all the facets of the business help’s you make decisions in a better and more efficient manner.
You should also know your customer well so that you can identify their likes and dislikes and try to connect with them.
If a person has a role that helps others function, that means PM is coefficient. If the product manager is someone the team respects, it helps contribute to the overall team output.
1. A person should try to expand his knowledge as much as possible to open the door for more opportunities.
2. Try to search for more information that has not been found by anyone else. Please find out the weaknesses of your team members and help them move in the right direction.
3. Risks are present everywhere, in every decision taken. If you take a risk without thinking about the consequences, it can be disastrous. Work in a way that all chances and decisions are acceptable and favourable.
Rule #3: A PM is and will always be about the people
In a company, energy is generally derived from a single discipline. For example, in Microsoft Azure, power is derived from engineering.
In this case, engineering has always had a very close relationship with me, and one of my main aims in life has been to complete things. This could include sorting out a team issue, providing clarity, or challenging your teammates to the best of their abilities.
The commonplace phrase for PM is as accurate as can be.
Influence without authority.
The following rules are just the predecessor of the final rule, which is the actual constant in PM. People think that managing personal relationships will help shape the product, but they are wrong. It is like trying to break Conway’s law. No one should forget rule number 1.
The most important thing to be kept in mind is to make the team efficient. Then only a team can work in unity. Their complaints should be heard, and when they are stuck, you should be there for them to encourage them. Don’t try to become the centre of attraction; instead, show your leadership through actions.
1. Getting to know other teammates at a professional and personal level helps you gain a broader perspective in life, which will help you tackle the problems in your life in a much easier way.
2. Listening is an important part of any workplace. It helps you discover new things which you can further implement in your life.
3. Embrace the “what-ifs”. Focusing on something is good but being rigid and sticking to it is. A person should always be ready to explore and discover new things to be on the same wavelength as the rest of his teammates.
From all my experience and my abilities, I believe that to be an effective PM, and one must learn voraciously and be ready to live outside their comfort zone. It would help if you got up in the morning, challenging yourself for tougher jobs. One should not stick to easy and uncomplicated tasks.
A job should always be done with a positive outlook to contribute 100% to it.