Friday, 2 November 2012

'The DNA of Product Management' by Hunter Walk

Today I read the excellent post The DNA of Product Management on LinkedIn by Hunter Walk, Director Product Management at Google.

I really think this one is important for Product Managers but especially for the Management team and, to bad, even sometimes to board members.

I copy three important paragraphs from Hunter Walk's post:
"2) Seek collaboration, not necessarily consensusIn their leadership of flat x-functional teams some PMs seek consensus, thinking this is the best way to get a team moving in the same direction. I believe this is wrong. Collaboration, communication and inclusion are essential - you'll die on the vine without your team. But it's not consensus you should seek. It's a mandate to lead in a particular direction. The backing to make the call. 
You acquire your mandate power via upper mgmt supporting your strategic plan, from your x-functional team leads feeling included and empowered, and from your team members knowing that they can contribute and have ownership over their areas, but at the same time have a strong PM who will make the tough decisions.
3) Give PMs goals, not projectsProduct managers turns goals into projects with the help of their teams and entrepreneurship. At YouTube we try to give our PMs broad ownership and then work with them to ensure the projects they initiate fulfill the needs and measurable goals of the area and the company. 
5) "Not on my watch"Be willing to stand up for what you believe, especially when you're representing your users. Hard decisions make great products. Your job is not to carve the safe route. Your job is to increase the probability that you'll be delighting millions of users in a sustainable fashion. Don't let others design your product for you. 
6) You are a caretaker of something biggerYour job is to take a product (and company) from one defined phase to the next. Then you will pass it on for another phase. The leader for the next phase might be you again or it could be someone else. Either way you should be handing off something which is sustainable. If your product was a winner solely because you carried the weight of the world on your shoulders then you're not doing your job. Build leverage, build an organization around you, find people who will be even better than you."
Read these thoroughly, understand them; you need to, because it's important to success in your business.

My bullets:

  • If you want to produce and sell products or services there should be no such thing as:
    • Lack of a strategy - create a strategy and spread the word to all people in your organization
    • Selling "stuff" your strategy say you shouldn't - stop selling the "stuff" or change your strategy
    • Selling "stuff" you haven't decided to sell - then make new decisions
    • Not giving mandate and resources to develop and manage the product or service - give mandate or stop the product/service
    • The management team, board and employees don't understand the strategy and/or the product or services - then get the job done; spread the word
If you're not ready to fulfill these bullets then drop your product management and sell "stuff" or bespoke products and services, not defined products or services. Bespoke does not walk hand in hand with defined products or services. Bespoke might walk hand in hand with a strategy but not with a defined products strategy.

Thoughtful: Bespoke is really nice but it's expensive. Why? Because everything is bespoke!

Sorry sales guys but according to me: Sales supplies the product or service the Product Manager owns. And it's the Product Manager who decides what's right or wrong. The right or wrong is acquired from the strategy and goals the management decided and defined. If you're having problem selling then learn the product/service or change the strategy. Be proud of your product and services.

IMHO: tough but true!

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