Boston Product is a mission-driven organization that elevates frontline product managers in order to fuel our city’s growth. Since 2014, our community has spent countless hours dissecting product management tactics, strategies, tools, and philosophies to help our community members: the PMs doing the work and the product-driven companies who employ them.
In that time, we’ve honed in on six core values that allow our members to build the skills and knowledge they need to be better PMs, find jobs with the right challenges and learning opportunities, and grow awareness of their work.
Our members demonstrate their commitment to these values every day at work and declare their membership by adding #bosproduct to their social bios.
As Boston Product members, we swear to…
1. Prioritize what ships.
The primary function of product managers is to determine what ships. Put another way: we determine which problems to solve in which order. This prioritization is based on a holistic understanding of the market, the customer, and the underlying technology. Smart product managers never tell an engineer how a feature should work, we tell her what problems it must solve.
2. Own strategy and execution.
Product management requires a combination of strategic thinking and tactical execution. Alone, the former is consulting, and the latter is project management. Great product managers feel a strong sense of ownership over their work, and the best managers afford us the autonomy to go about it.
3. Invest in alpha.
In exchange for autonomy, product managers provide alpha, an outperformance over a benchmark. Whether it’s realized as faster growth, lower churn, or higher customer satisfaction, we help companies outperform. Average companies treat product management like an obligation — something they’re supposed to do. Great companies think of it as a differentiator — something they’re excited to do — and invest accordingly.
4. Learn with every iteration.
Product managers need room to take risks and fail. Our goal is not to avoid failure. It’s to minimize the impact of our failures—on the product, the business, and its customers—and maximize what we learn with each attempt. We must always be prepared to defend our decisions, and one of the best questions to ask us is, “What will you do if this doesn’t work the way you expect?”
5. Ship results.
The best product managers focus on outcomes, not output. Shipping is merely a means to solving the problem, not itself the solution. With each release, product managers must ask, “What did we change for our customers and our business?” To that end, you cannot manage what you cannot measure. Each release should have an underlying hypothesis — e.g. “With this change, we believe we can increase sign-up conversions” — and a way of measuring whether or not it was proven true.
6. Align superpowers.
There is no one-size-fits-all product manager. Great product managers are conversant in all of the disciplines they work with and have a superpower in one area. We must know whether the company stage, culture, and desired outcomes match what we bring to the table. Great PMs understand the context of their role, and their companies provide the necessary transparency for us to do so.
To hold yourself, your company, and your community accountable to these values, tweet at them and add Boston Product to your social bios:
“I’m happy to be part of a community that understands and cultivates great PM values #bosproduct http://bit.ly/2FjKmZJ”
If you’re a great PM in the Boston area or with roots here, become a member of the Boston Product community, too. Together, we’ll elevate Boston as a city where great people build great products.