Working notes on product management

A public draft.

One of the harder things about digital product management is everything changes constantly.

To cope with this, a PM’s time is often split along lines like:

  • 40% on research and planning (what most people think of as the job)
  • 40% on relationships and communication (the actual job)
  • maybe 10% on retrospectives (because it is important to learn from past products and projects)
  • and 10% on relentless acquisition of interdisciplinary domain expertise (how you level up)

The single least useful instinct of a product manager is “but I told you” / “but you should have known” / “it was in the notes” / “we discussed this is in the last meeting”. This instinct is…hard to overcome.

The single most useful trait of a product manager at any level is uncertainty reduction. That does not always (or even often) mean being able to direct the next steps, but it always means ensuring all folks affected by X thing are aware of them.

A distinguishing trait of senior / experienced product managers is the ability to anticipate, analyze, and communicate how the specific consequences of X thing might vary in impact and effects in a constantly changing environment.

Context is everything and the consequences of X thing might go from anodyne to a total showstopper because of some parallel development.

This is a public work-in-progress, and I welcome informed comments and feedback.