Mood: 🤭. Feeling gun-shy. Remembering there’s a time to lead the dance and a time to follow.
🌹 What am I grateful for this week?
I remember being taken by the idea of lending privilege when I first encountered it, so I’m glad I had a chance to lend some this week by helping to open a dialogue that otherwise might not have happened. Even if things didn’t work out exactly as we’d imagined, the conversation is ongoing and moving in the right direction.
I also handed over line management for a couple folks this week. It’s always a bit sad to me when we hit the end of a journey, but I’m grateful for having taken the journey all the same and know the team will be in good hands.
🍀 What surprised me this week?
For a while, I feel I’ve had one foot in and one foot out of our internal product community, wanting to participate based on past discipline alignment* but feeling unsure if I was overstepping. It wasn’t until talking it through this week that I realized part of the issue stems from the (blurry) definition of the community boundaries.
It’s a fundamental point, but we’ve not written it down anywhere. Do we consider the discipline vs. the community to be the same thing or different? Where does membership come from in a discipline-based community? Can I opt in — is it inclusive or exclusive?
I’d been working at the wrong level of abstraction, considering the activities and cadence of the group when I should’ve been looking at the definition of membership. Another instance of the XY problem in action. 😅
🌵 What do I wish could have gone differently?
I caught myself being shy at a Q&A event earlier this week, and should’ve taken the opportunity to ask a question** live. Luckily I was able to follow it up offline afterwards, but I could’ve easily missed the chance. I know I need to do a better job at not lurking in the crowd during webinars, you’d think it’d be easier now than it was at pre-Covid networking events…
🔮 What do I still need to take care of?
Quite looking forward to a bit more juggling next week alongside my current project team, helping a new mini-squad to rough out the product vs. platform roadmap for Talent Compass. I may have shaped the brief too sharply towards the product side initially, so pre-aligning this week with the Mission Beyond impact group was helpful to get a steer. If we’re able to arrive at a clear and compelling pitch, we may well be bringing the service to life in the coming months, and proving a new commercial model at the same time! Exciting stuff.
Recently though, I’ve struggled in some of my small group working meetings— I seem to have become rather sensitive to my suggestions being ignored or overturned by others, and what feels like an unwillingness to let experiments play out. I don’t expect my ideas to always be taken on board but I do feel I need more than being told it’s not how things used to be done. This is one I need to watch and make sure I’m adjusting to new ways of working and not becoming defensive.
💡 What do I need to remember?
When it comes to building a tribe, or organizing a community, it’s easy to forget how much effort has to compound before momentum is visible. It’s easy to spot notable folks churning out interviews or podcasts left and right — which itself takes plenty of their time! — but they all had a time where they were invisible within the noise, flying under the radar like the rest of us. Something about our cultural memory makes it easy to forget the time when they too were just trying to get started.
The thing I worry is, especially if you’re building a community of practice around a topic you’re intimately familiar with, being a full time community organizer means you’ll no longer have the time to be a deep practitioner, doing what you love. How do you think they have time to produce all that content, do all those talks? Then there’s the danger of chasing status for its own sake, rarely a productive endeavor.
Don’t worry about being a luminary about the topic you love. Deep practitioners rarely are.
📚 What did I discover?
After encountering Jackie at a Mind The Product event that Martin Eriksson hosted this week, I was delighted to find her guest post on Lenny Rachitsky’s newsletter, with her notes on differentiating and developing senior strategic PMs.
Becoming a senior Product Manager
👋 Hello, I'm Lenny, and welcome to a🔓 free bonus edition 🔓 of my weekly newsletter. I decided to make this issue…
When thinking through discipline-based communities this week, I came across this canvas about starting a community of practice. It reminds me a lot of my favorite content/process model but with membership boundaries clearly defined. I wish I’d come across it sooner!
Community of practice kick-off canvas - Tacit London
The community of practice kick-off canvas helps get your community started by using a canvas framework to guide you…
This is a handy refresher of the innovation accounting approach that Eric Ries laid out in The Startup Way. It’s all been theorycraft so far, but I’m eager to get a level 3 dashboard up and running with a client at some point during a new product incubation and launch.
Lean Startup's New Tool - Innovation Accounting - is a Game Changing Template for Start-Ups &…
Innovation Accounting is the Next Big Tool for Startups and New Ventures to Measure Progress & Financial Value…
Courtesy of Julie Zhou, this thread on structuring public talks is gold. One point in particular I’d like to get better at is incorporating more narrative — nothing holds attention quite like a good story.
Valentine’s Day turned out fabulously this year 😻. I’ve finally got Lisa back after 46 days apart, safe and sound. Enjoyed a long run in the freezing cold while she slept off her jetlag, and got my pace back under a 10 minute mile.*** Had a lovely bruschetta for dinner, shared a whiskey smash, laughed a bit too much after having discovered Broad City. Not a bad way to start the lunar new year, reunited.
*I don’t know that I do enough to own the fact that I was a PM for 8 years in a world class technology company. But I get a bit gun-shy having not been a ‘titled’ practitioner for nearly as long. Reminding myself what I wrote about being a work in progress helps, though.
**It was basically about moving laterally into product management at leadership levels. I only seem to hear about switching into PM at the IC levels, often coming from an overlapping discipline like UX or marketing. Is the only real path in practice to PM leadership rising up from PM IC? I’m curious to know who’s made the move successfully outside of that more common track.
***I pledged to myself once upon a time that I’d run a marathon before I turned 40. Not exactly in marathon shape these days but it’s much easier to train up from a jogger’s baseline than a couch potato’s! And I never knew all my huffing and puffing was actually where weight loss happens.