Q&A: How on earth am I going to start managing a second product?

Hi Jock,

I’ve been happily looking after my product (buying and selling cars online) for the last couple of years. I still think product management is a complete mystery to me, but my boss thinks I’m doing fine. In fact, at the end of this week she will be announcing internally that I will be product managing a second product, which will put me across the entire post-login customer journey!

I am freaking out about how on earth I’m going to do this. Any words of advice?

Yours,

K

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62: How to measure product manager performance

Early on in my blog, I wrote one of my most popular posts – 4 key ways to spot a successful product manager – about measuring the performance of product managers. The problem is that a lot – and I mean a huge amount – has changed in product management, and my own approach, since I wrote it.

I found myself describing to Martin Eriksson at his recent book launch some work I did at the UK’s Ministry of Justice on measuring product manager performance. So here’s an update to my original article from a real-life case study.

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61: The 16 most important technical skills every product manager needs

In addition to the ‘soft’ skills I discussed in the last post, a good product manager also needs ‘hard’ skills (product management techniques).

Read on for my list of the 16 most important technical skills a product manager needs.

(There is a point to these two listicles. It’s coming next post.)

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60: The 12 most important soft skills every product manager needs

I’m often asked what skills a product manager needs. In my view at least, a good product manager needs both ‘soft’ skills (emotional intelligence) and ‘hard’ skills (product management techniques).

Read on for my list of the 12 most important soft skills a product manager needs.

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59: Find the tipping point in your research

I bet you’ve found yourself in this situation. You’re trying to get your head around the main user problem your new product is going to solve. The thing is, for every question you try to answer, several more questions arise.

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Q&A: Getting into product management

This is an interview I did a little while ago with a user experience author living on the US East Coast. She was interested in moving into freelance product management.

We cover:

  • how to move into product management;
  • differences between working in the private and public sectors;
  • KPIs and financial modelling; and
  • the pleasures and pains of being a product manager.

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Q&A: what’s the one thing retailers are doing wrong in ecommerce?

Another question:

When it comes to the ecommerce checkout process, what’s one thing that retailers are doing wrong? What’s one thing they’re doing right?

 

From a product manager’s perspective, there’s no one thing everyone gets wrong – it depends entirely on the circumstances.

This is why context and understanding of user needs are so important. Figure out what people need – their goals, frustrations, distractions… everything – then figure out how well your ecommerce capability meets those needs. Improve, then rinse and repeat.

And don’t forget Marty Cagan’s observation that “people don’t know what they need until after they’ve seen it”.

Read the other 20 opinions over on whatusersdo.com.

57: Cut through red tape

I enjoy being a product manager, although on some days I question whether my level of patience is suited to my chosen career. When working somewhere, I often spot opportunities for them to improve, gain a competitive advantage or reduce wasted effort, then become terribly frustrated when bureaucracy and organisational inertia prevent me from moving quickly enough to exploit them. If this feels familiar, read on.

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