Product Management

Your future success as a product manager is largely influenced by the strength of your community

My colleagues and I recently finished onboarding a few brand new product managers to our team. Part of our initiation process included a series of meetings featuring real life examples of product tasks, interactive scenarios, and a lot of candid discussion about product management. These sessions were useful in giving our colleagues a platform upon which to build their product management careers. However, our support in the growth of new product managers isn’t finished after a few onboarding meetings.

When I teach my team or my mentees about product management, I don’t reference a lot of concrete product management frameworks…

Product Management

By empathizing with my audience, I discovered opportunities to communicate more clearly

There are a number of ways we communicate as product managers. We write formal and informal messages, create product marketing material, and update documentation and roadmaps. But first and foremost, product managers communicate through face-to-face conversations, with video calls recently replacing many of the in-person interactions. Because of the nature of our jobs as product managers, a large portion of our time is spent communicating. Often times, we are communicating the same message repeatedly, to different audiences. So it’s only natural for us to look for ways to make our communication more clear.

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When I thought about my evolution as…

Career Development

Explaining utility for employers and employees using the labor supply curve

When you think about the basics of a business, the purpose is to create shareholder value. Even for nonprofit organizations, the objective is generating non-monetary value. As a function of this, employment needs to be a value-creation vehicle. Thinking about employment from the perspective of employers and employees, both are looking to extract utility from the engagement. And to state the obvious, value creation for employers and employees is not a zero-sum game; it is a symbiotic relationship, albeit one that is often unbalanced.

Creating value through employment comes down to the dynamics between employers and employees. For employees, value…

Product Management

The annual rituals I have as a product manager to set myself up for a successful year

As we approach the close of another year, I thought I’d share some of the tactics I have for getting the new year off to a strong start. However, the approaches I use are extensible to almost any arbitrary “starting point” you may have. For example, when you start a new role or join a new company, the same principles can be employed. You may also opt to use other calendar milestones and starting points; each new month or each new quarter. No matter when you’re starting, the goal should be to start strong.

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I like to use the new…

Interviewing Product Managers

Conducting professional interviews comes down to preparation

I have a vivid memory of the first time I interviewed a product manager. It was for a role that would have been at my peer level. Going into the interview, I spent just a few minutes reading the candidate’s resume. And that was it. I had no specific questions prepared, no angle I wanted to explore — really, no idea at all what I was doing. I remember walking into the room with the candidate and suddenly feeling really intimidated and nervous. And I was the interviewer.

When we think of interviews, we typically think about them from the…

Product Management

Success as a product manager is about finding product-market fit, not personal fame

Earlier in my product career, I had a leader who posed a hypothetical question to me. He mused, “in soccer, what is the objective of the goalkeeper?” I naturally responded that the keeper is there to stop goals. When he suggested that I was wrong, I cycled through a number of variations: to make saves, to prevent goals, to command the penalty area. None of these answers were correct. Finally, the leader revealed the true objective of the goalkeeper: to win the game.

This notion has resonated with me ever since. Product management, like soccer, is a team sport where…

Things to Do in Milano

A famous convent, home of The Last Supper

The facade of the Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. (Photo Credit: Marcin Białek)

Santa Maria delle Grazie is beautiful 15th century church and Dominican Convent, located to the west of the city center. While the Duomo di Milano is the most iconic religious monument in the city, Santa Maria can rival its historical importance. The convent is home to Leonardo da Vinci’s famous mural, Il Cenacolo — The Last Supper, in English. The widely recognizable painting contributes to making Santa Maria delle Grazie a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Last Supper was commissioned by the Duke of Milano and later completed in 1497. The masterpiece is said to be a depiction of Christ…

Things to Do in Milano

Milano’s world-famous opera house

The front facade of Teatro alla Scala. (Photo Credit: Jean-Christophe Benoist)

One of the most notable cultural destinations in Milano is the Teatro alla Scala — or La Scala for short. It is highly regarded as one of the most prestigious opera and ballet theatres in the world, with a luxuriously decorated interior. Aside from being home to eponymous chorus, ballet, and orchestra companies, La Scala also has an associate school that provides professional training in the fine arts. Also associated with the famous opera house is the museum, which houses exhibitions and historical artifacts related to La Scala.

Opened in 1778, La Scala was built to replace the Teatro Regio…

Product Management

Differentiating when to use retrospectives and post mortems with your team

Reflection is one of the most important parts of growth, within individuals and within teams. Whether you are a product manager or not, you will likely encounter many work situations that require reflection. This act enables us to learn from the past and improve for the future. In the context of product development, two types of formal reflection are often used: retrospectives and post mortems. You may hear professionals using these two words interchangeably, but they mean two different things. Thus, both forms of reflection have different applications in your work.

Image Source: Pexels

What is a retrospective, and when should we use it?

The word retrospective comes from Latin, meaning to “look…

Product Management

Using visuals to represent the core activities of a product manager

After spending over a decade in product management, I have invested a fair amount of my personal and professional time to thinking about the job. As my colleagues know, I really enjoy talking about product management theory. I am not, however, an especially big proponent of textbook product management technique. Many of the resources available in the field are idealistic examples of how you would perform in a vacuum. Of the several examples I am most familiar with, diagrams focus on the how of product management rather than who the product manager is. …

Tom Comerford

Experienced product leader at Walmart with an MBA from NYU Stern

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