The Role of a Product Manager
The Role of a Product Manager
Michael Siliski
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There are some great thoughts about product management in this post. I shared this broadly.

In an effort to provide some dialog I’d offer up that the description focuses a great deal on “ownership” where it really could describe more shared accountability.

Ownership is very difficult when you’re the PM simply because you don’t write the code (and usually don’t manage the people). In a product the code is the ultimate truth. But code without accountability to a shared set of goals runs the risk of owning the wrong result. That’s where PM really fits in.

PM works best when it acts less like the boss and more like the glue that binds the team together.

PM works best when the goals are developed by listening and synthesizing rather than talking and commanding.

PM works best when he/she/they believe the role is to make sure all voices are heard and considered.

PM works best when making sure that the best ideas no matter where they come from rise to the top of the list and get done.

PM works best when it focuses on making sure the truth is surfaced where ever it might be rather than being the source of the truth.

PM works best when everyone has the information to make good choices rather than believing PM is the source of good choices.

Ultimately, the best PMs are those that make others great

The best PMs are those that are surrounded by amazing results but few heroes. People see great results and wonder “how did that happen” and the answer appears to be “by magic”. 🙏

It takes a village to make a product. The best PMs are those that work as though being mayor of that village is an honor and making it a place where everyone contributes to their maximum capability towards a shared goal is what success looks like.

There’s always time for thinking like this in good times and bad. It might be counter intuitive for many but times of crisis are when teamwork is most valuable. When everyone’s every action needs to count and help the goal and efficiency is critical, then is the time when a little more accountability and a little less ownership can really pay off.

Here’s a post I wrote many years ago on PM. While the context was Microsoft, I’m confident it works from startups through bigco and across many technology industries mod a few details on how to execute.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/techtalk/archive/2005/12/16/504872.aspx

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