Waiting in front of Mayer’s Tavern for a late July beach vacation dinner, counting the number of patrons with their masks on, I heard a familiar guitar strum, the refrain “faaaaaaade into you.” The sound of a muffled bar band* covering an old favorite reminded me how much I missed live music. It didn’t matter that Mazzy Star, Radiohead and Neil Young weren’t there in Cape May. I got to hear a more-than-decent band play my favorites over an open-air dinner, and it was a glorious surprise.

Mayer’s Tavern, Cape May, NJ
Mayer’s Tavern, Cape May, NJ
Mayer’s Tavern, Cape May, New Jersey

New York has been living without any live entertainment since March. Summerstage, canceled. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Startup founders, who are often very happy to stay hands-on with their team’s software development, will eventually have to step out of those weeds to focus on bigger and better things. When managing the day-to-day development turns into a full time job, it’s time to add a new role: product manager.

Small teams, however, actually need a blended project-product manager, who will handle all of the Agile processes that determine the when as well as the what of what is being built.

When hiring a product manager for this role, it’s important to look for the skills and qualities of someone who will be able to keep a project on track and on time, in addition to running the product definition phase of new feature development. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Ricardo Resende on Unsplash

All managers have a responsibility to shield our teams from the distraction and stress of outside influences. Product managers, specifically, work hard to create tightly prioritized sprints for high priority releases that can easily be pulled off course by a seemingly innocent conversation.

Protect your team from the uncertainty that can come from wayward requests, feedback and rumors from other teams, and keep them focused on their current priorities. Nothing should be left up to interpretation, and your team will appreciate you managing their workflow and cross-team communication.

1. Give Them Certainty

  • Make sure there’s always clearly defined work lined up. If a team member gets word of a new feature idea and wants to know if they should be working on it, point them to the stories in their current sprint as their current priority. …


Erin C Cummins

Product management consultant, helping founders get ideas built. Lover of efficiency, dogs, bikes, plants, cooking, nachos and feminism.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store