How To Be A Good Product Manager

Tips on product management and product marketing for product managers. By Jeff Lash

Don’t do it all or do it all yourself

Posted on February 22, 2007 by Jeff Lash · No Comments

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If you want to be a bad product manager, treat all aspects of the job as equally important and try to do everything yourself. Make sure you balance your time equally between studying the market, talking with customers, writing requirements, monitoring development, and supporting sales. You don’t want to neglect your duties in any one area, nor do you want to give the impression that one aspect of the product is more important than any other by focusing your time there. You need to personally spend a bit of your time on all of the different responsibilities of product management.

If you want to be a good product manager, focus on the most important areas of your job and find people who can help with other aspects of product management. Treating every aspect of product management equally is a noble idea but is neither realistic nor necessary.

Most products have one area that needs more attention. Maybe the vision and strategy is clear but the requirements and development are issues. Maybe development is fine but there is no long-term product roadmap. Maybe the product itself meets customer needs but customers are unaware of it.

Good product managers focus on the areas of the product that need the most help. Whether you have been in charge of a new product since its launch or you are in charge of an existing product, you will never spend your time evenly on every facet of the product. Address the most pressing issues yourself, and then work with others to ensure that other areas of product responsibility are covered.

When discussing Where To Begin in Product Management, Brandon Whichard suggests that new product managers shouldn’t “try to do it all at once.” One recommendation:

Try to offload as many of the outbound responsibilities as possible. In my experience, Product Managers are always going to be called on for some pre-sales support, the goal is to minimize it and use it as a process to collect more market problems.

Though you may be the product manager, you have a whole product development team who should be supporting you. Pick the few areas of product management where you can make the most impact to the product, and work with your team to ensure that other aspects are addressed.

How To Be A Good Product Manager features tips on product management and product marketing, written by Jeff Lash (@jefflash on Twitter), Vice President and Group Director for the Product Management and Portfolio Marketing research and advisory services at SiriusDecisions.

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