I’m asked questions about product management from time to time. Here’s one I’ve answered recently:
I would love to pick your brain about roadmaps.
To give more clarity to my team (which is working on two mandates/sub-projects), I would like to empower them with a roadmap/timeline of the project. We already have one, on Confluence that I’ve printed next to our whiteboard. But it’s not “ours”.
Any recommendation in terms of shape/content? Should it be extremely detailed or high level? More generally, how to craft the best roadmap/product timeline for my team?
And for its creation? Any convenient tool or Excel template for this?
People sometimes ask me for career advice. Here’s a recent question:
I’m an entrepreneur, product/program manager and hardcore gamer. I’m facing a dilemma in my career’s direction. I’m split between my love for the game industry (dreaming of launching a game with a team), and my passion for product management (I would love to be a PM for a tech company).
I’ve applied to both the game industry for producer positions (no PM there), and to tech companies for PM roles. Got a few interviews for PM, but I may lack experience. On the other hand, I’ve got an offer in a big game studio for a production coordinator role (about project and people management, primarily). My manager is experienced and believes in me, and it would be for a triple A game.
I would see myself being a product manager for a tech company, or a game director in a studio. So not only managing projects and teams, but also having a vision for the product/games, researching the market, coming up with features, roadmaps, and so on. I feel I already have a good “product sense”, but I may be lacking in terms of experience, management (especially with engineers), and leadership.
Do you feel being a production coordinator would be a good or at least relevant move toward this career?
People ask me from time to time about how they can get into freelance product management. Here’s a recent question:
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?
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?
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?
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”.