The ‘Focus’ of a Product Manager

Being a product manager the better part of 10 years you learn some things along the way, mostly what NOT to focus on….

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  1. The latest article with multiple buzzwords. So many times at the various places I’ve “PM’d” someone would post an article about this new thing. MVP this, Beta that or some other new process improvement. 
    What I learned was if the core process of your team was not in place (how do we choose what to work on? Why? How do we write requirements?) then this will frustrate the hell out of you, and you are no better off than before
  2. Solitude. I am not saying alone time isn’t important — it is! But I always felt that if I have not talked to stakeholders, dev teams, customers, etc. for too long, it’s a problem
    What I learned was to schedule regular check-ins with all these key people to see what was new, share what I am working on and overall maintain relationships.
  3. ALL the features: don’t get stuck on adding things stakeholders get excited about. “What would be nice is…” usually spells disaster for the scope and future sprints. 
    What I learned was that you need laser focus on the vision and the desired outcome will help understand if it’s truly needed
  4. Speed. Most job descriptions allude to ‘fast paced,’ ‘high growth,’ etc. giving the sense of urgency around working there. Most places I’ve PM’d have this same undertone of getting it done NOW….fire drill!!
    What I learned was
    there is much more to gain by slowing down. Make deadlines, make decisions, yes — of course, but do no rush unnecessarily or you will have that fire drill.