Share the credit for a successful product

If you want to be a bad product manager, highlight your individual accomplishments. Make sure everyone knows about your brilliant ideas, the great work that you did, and the decisions that you made. You did a lot of work and you should get credit for it. You are responsible for the product, after all, and you do “manage” it. How are people going to know about all of the work you did otherwise?

If you want to be a good product manager, attribute product accomplishments to the entire team, not just yourself. Unless you did all of the analysis, created the design, wrote the specifications, completed the engineering and development, ran all the testing, and developed the marketing materials all by yourself (highly unlikely even in the smallest companies), your product is the result of work by a group of people. To play on the old saying, there is no I in product management.

As the Cranky Product Manager notes:

The product belongs to the entire team, not the Product Manager. Because the Product Manager might be the most visible member of the team (getting quoted in the industry magazines and giving presentations to the Board, etc.), the Product Manager has a responsibility to promote the team as well as the product. She must highlight their herculean efforts and amazing results, give credit and praise early and often, deal with team conflicts and problems in a respectful, private manner, and not hang the team out to dry when bad news is coming down the pike.

Taking individual credit for product accomplishments is unnecessary — if your product is doing well, people will make the connection and see that you are doing a good job. Likewise, if your product is not doing well, no matter how much you try to deflect the blame, people will make the connection and see that you are having problems.Giving credit where credit is due is easy to do and free, but neglecting to do so can be extremely costly. Never forget that a product manager is nothing without the hard work and support of a product development team.

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4 thoughts on “Share the credit for a successful product

  1. Jeff,

    I couldn’t agree more. This is more than good product management advice, it is good leadership advice. In my opinion, effective leadership starts with developing trust and accountability within the team itself. And this can never happen if the team does not trust that their efforts will be recognized by their leader(s).

    Keep up the good work; it is well recognized!

  2. For software products – running an agile framework such as scrum automatically promotes the team – if the product manager (who may be wearing the hat of a scrum master or product owner) opens up the backlog to everyone – then the extended team: AI, product marketer, creative design….are all part of the success of the product.

  3. This is not only the secret to PM success, it’s the key to being a leader.

    Besides, if you are a Product Manager and you are looking for credit and external validation you may be in the wrong profession. 🙂

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