Viewing entries tagged with 'product manager'
Recently I gave a keynote address to the Mind The Product Conference in London, and in that talk I wanted to illustrate, by example, the essential role that very strong product managers play for their team and their company. Most people noticed that all six of my examples were female. I didn’t call that out explicitly during my talk because my view is their performance speaks for itself. But many people did ask me about the gender aspect afterwards (If you haven’t yet read that article, I hope you read it first as this article will make much more sense if you know just what traits are necessary for strong product managers).
Recently I wrote about Apprentice Product Manager programs, where companies recruit and groom high-potential product managers. Quite a few people asked me about this program and the type of curriculum that I have provided for my own teams in the past. In this article, I thought I would talk about one of the most basic forms of training I have provided these people, "Product Manager Charm School."
I find that most tech product companies out there are struggling to find enough very strong product managers. I have written many times in various ways about how critical it is to put very strong people in this role, and I meet execs every week that tell me that they need more. Great products are the result of a strong product team, and the anchor of that strong product team is a very strong product manager.
Many companies I meet are confused about roles and responsibilities. They're not sure the difference between product managers and project managers, or between product managers and product marketing, or between product managers and interaction designers, as just a few common examples.
Recently I was asked by a very smart CTO: "I understand the need for a great user experience designer, but if we have a strong designer, and that person is paired with a strong technology lead, do we really still need a product manager?"
Occasionally in my work with technology product teams around the world, I run into product managers that are still practicing the role as it used to be defined back in the PC era of technology. These organizations are inevitably frustrated, as the role was not terribly effective and often not respected.
All too often I run into companies that have resigned themselves to having two different people covering the product role.
It may have been Muhammad Ali in the boxing world, but in the product world, it’s hard to argue that Steve Jobs wasn’t the greatest ever.
If your company is one that still allocates product development funds based on approval of projects, then you still have the old “project-based funding model.” This is mostly a situation in either large companies, or those that have an IT-style legacy, but the mindset often exists even in small companies too.