My Product Management Mistakes

  • Published on
    05-Apr-2017

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A COL L E C T I O N OF M IS TA K E S I VE M A D E IN MY CA REER AS A P RO DUCT M A NAGERI V E M A D E A H U G E M I S T A K E#PRODUCTTANKTO @UNBREL IEVABLEBut first, who am I?. Second, who was I?.Ive felt like this in my job. A lot.Dont be smug. Youve probably made, and will make, a lot of mistakes too. Lets learn from mine. 01Think you know your users.M I STAKEYou cant change behaviour of your users and force them to do what you want. Spend time with them, understand how they use your product, and how they use other products. Create a focus group of users to supplement what you cant be, because who wants to be 14 again, anyways? I was 14 years old once, but that doesnt mean I know what 14 year olds want now.02Listen to your users too much.M I STAKEQualitative user research is great for understand why someone uses your product and to get a deeper understanding of their problems. It should not be used for testing two options against each other to see which performs better. Just because your users say they like it, doesnt mean it will succeed. A/B test or release incrementally and measure. Watch what they do, not what they say. 03 Use a/b testing to solve arguments.M I STAKEA/B testing is powerful, but can be costly to your organization. They arent meant to be a tiebreaker or mediator of egos and opinions. Only A/B test decisions that can impact conversion, or key metrics of your business. Also, never run an test variant that you dont want to win. Not everything is worthy of an a/b test. 04 Be too prescriptive with requirements.M I STAKESet the direction and outline business requirements, but if your find yourself saying clicking this button does this, you are prescribing too much. Give your team the freedom to determine the how. Teach them your thought process, and empower them to make decisions. Let go of total control. Let go of the 20 page requirements docs. You dont have a team of robots. (Well, maybe).05Use a process just because Google uses it.M I STAKENot all problems are equal, and so we shouldnt treat them as such when it comes to coming up with solutions. Ask yourself what is the bare minimum validation I need?. Sometimes its a conversation, a data point, a few hours of research, or sometimes you need to dive in head first. DO WHAT WORKS.Not everything needs a week long discovery . 06 Listen to blog posts.M I STAKEOther companies should be a source of ideas and inspiration, but you always need to test and measure yourself. When you do get positive results, document them and share internally so others can learn from your success.Just because it worked for one company, doesnt mean it will work for you. 07 Roll your eyes at your sales team requests.M I STAKEMore importantly, your sales team is talking to prospects and customers much more than you. They hear what areas your competitors have you beat, and why customers leave you. The better the sales team understands your product, the better they can sell. Set up regular 1:1s with them, show them product progress, and dont keep them in the dark. And dont discount their feedback. You wont have a paycheque without your sales team.08 Think you have all the answers.M I STAKESay it out loud: I dont know. You have a lot of smart people on your team, and you are doing yourself, your team, and your users a disservice by taking it all on and having all the answers. Hold regular brainstorms, involve other parts in the business in coming up with solutions, and guide ideation by outlining problems. Ask questions. A lot. Dont be a hero.09 Think you have none of the answers.M I STAKEListen to your gut.With access to all the data, blog posts, feature requests, slack messages and emails coming at you all day, you can get easily get hit with Analysis Paralysis, where you are analyzing things so much you get to the point in which you are paralyzed and cant make a decision. If it feels wrong, it probably is wrong. 10 Think you arent good enough.M I STAKESome days I feel like I have no idea what Im doing. Product Management is generally a thankless job, so we need to support one another and share wins and failures. Check your ego, accept and admit failure and it will make you a better PM, and a better person. The imposter syndrome is real.Now, its your turn.At your table, take 5 minutes to think about some of the mistakes you have made in your career. Go around the table and share one mistake, and what you learned from it.Its time for product manager therapy.T H A N K Y O U@ UNB RE L IEVABLE