About Jock Busuttil

Jock is a freelance head of product, author and startup mentor with over seventeen years' experience working in technology. He helps startups and larger organisations with digital transformation and to improve their product management practices, including Experian, BBC, University of Cambridge, and the UK's Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS).He is the founder of Product People Limited, which provides product management consultancy and training. He is also the author of the popular book The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management and the blog I Manage Products.

Q&A: What skills do I need to be a freelance product manager?

People ask me from time to time about how they can get into freelance product management. Here’s a recent question:

Hi Jock,

I’ve been working as a product manager for 5 years now. I worked in different industries (financial, loyalty, media, fintech) and now I am starting to manage a team of product managers and setting up a product team as a senior product manager, as well as managing my own product.

I was thinking about starting consulting in 2-3 years of time. What are the skill sets I need to focus on and improve during this time period?

Thanks,

N

Read on for my reply.

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64: Good product management


What does it mean to be a good product manager in 2018?

For a while now it has no longer been solely about participating in the time-honoured rituals of whatever agile methodology your team happens to use. Nor is it only about creating products your users need.

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Speaking at DevTalks Bucharest in June

Hello!

I’ve not published a great deal on the blog recently. In my defence, I’ve been doing a fair amount of paid writing work and my brain has run out of words temporarily.

If you’re interested, I’m writing (then delivering) a new training workshop on metrics and analytics for the lovely Mind The Product folks for their 2018 London conference; and I’m in the midst of writing a new talk on ethics in product management for DevTalks Bucharest.

Tickets are on sale for both, and the first lucky five readers can get free DevTalks tickets using the code JOCK18 or JOCKB18.

That’ll be a good test to see who’s paying attention :-)

And if you’d like me to write training or articles on product management for you, please get in touch.

Q&A: How do I make myself more suitable for a senior product role in UK government?

Here’s a question I’ve been asked recently:

Hi Jock,

I’d appreciate your advice on working for the GDS and different ministries. I have recently applied for senior positions (Deputy Director and Head of Product) at GDS and another UK government department.

On both occasions I was told that while I had the skills, my previous products had not been used by the millions of users, rather the hundreds of thousands, and therefore I was not considered the right person for the role.

This seems unusual given that building for 6 figure as oppose to 7 figure usage would not make that much difference in my opinion.

Could you recommend anything I could do to improve my suitability for next time a role like that comes available?

Many thanks,

D

Read on for my reply.

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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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