5: The best possible way may not necessarily be the right way

I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned about being a product manager.

We product managers are a surprisingly upbeat bunch considering that we seem to spend a good proportion of our time making compromises.  We very rarely get the opportunity to deliver everything we need in a product.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, however.  We very rarely have truly ultimate say-so on the scope of a project; there’s always someone higher ranking that likes to make their mark on the world.  Similarly, technology has a habit of getting in the way sometimes.  Or pesky compliance issues.  And so on.

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4: Don’t focus on what’s stopping you

I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned about being a product manager.

Product managers can be creatures of habit.  Some habits are good and give us a consistent and diligent approach.   Sometimes, though, we allow ourselves to be constrained by habitual thinking, inhibiting true innovation.

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3: Know your subject matter

I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned about being a product manager.

So much of being a product manager depends on successfully persuading and influencing others.  Whether you’re presenting your product strategy, presenting a business case to the Board or talking with your customers, you need to demonstrate a good knowledge of your products and market to ensure that you come over as authoritative and credible.  Continue reading

2: Find problems rather than guess solutions

I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned about being a product manager.

We’re product managers.  We’re in charge of the future direction of our products.  But when we start thinking about the requirements for a new product version, I bet we all make the same mistake when deciding what goes in.

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1: Be fluent in the language of your audience

Over the coming weeks and months, I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned about being a product manager.

One of the roles a product manager or product marketing manager plays is to act as a translator between different groups of people.  Sometimes this can be in a literal sense, if your responsibilities span different countries, but more generally this means translating between the market, Sales, Marketing and Development as a minimum.  You could add any other department in your company to that list; you’ll most likely need their help at some point.

As with foreign languages, you won’t get anywhere just by speaking MORE LOUDLY AND SLOWLY to convey your point.  Rather, you need to invest some time and effort into learning and comprehending the language of your audience.  The first step is therefore to listen.

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