Mood: 🙈. Facing my insecurities and trying to turn them into positive action.
🌹 What am I grateful for this week?
The week got off to a great start as I helped facilitate a process mapping session for our people team. Managed to get critical mass in the office and use the whiteboard again! 😮 As much as I like Miro, you still can’t beat the immediacy of sticky notes and markers on a wall, at least in 2022.
Tuesday wasn’t quite critical mass with the delivery leads, but I enjoyed our lunch party of 4 all the same. And I surprised myself at an evening mixer where I swallowed my introversion and managed to work the room, meet a couple new folks and enjoy some apps on a nice airy balcony in Farringdon with the setting sun. I guess you could say letting myself indulge in an oversized fish & chips on Friday was my reward. 🤭
🌵 What do I wish could have gone differently?
That write-up I wanted to circulate? Sharing is going a bit slower than I’d like. Probably it’s a sign that I overinvested in the first draft, and should’ve shipped it sooner and in rougher shape so I wouldn’t wince if it received loads of critical feedback. We also know that polished products tend to get less candid feedback from their users.
Allergies are a funny thing to add here, but I would’ve loved to have been a bit more sociable with the leadership team on Wednesday after our all-hands. Just couldn’t handle all the pollen in the air!
💡 What do I need to remember?
Lately I’ve been coming out of my shell with this issue I feel around product ‘credibility’ — whether I’ve been away from the discipline and an IC PM role too long to be viable for product leadership. The few folks I’ve been able to speak to about it have been really encouraging; I suspect if they were in my shoes, I’d be able to see their situation more objectively and give them similar guidance. But that’s easier said than done.
A couple years back I wrote a bit about confronting impostor syndrome, and re-reading it now, I see how my credibility issue is a manifestation of that same feeling. As if I need to be superhuman, and prove myself all over again, to be taken seriously by product practitioners. Better would be if I embraced the idea of always being a work in progress, and linking being an impostor with the growth mindset. I can still learn, improve, and practice the craft without a perfectly aligned title.
Feeling like an impostor could mean that you’re growing, stretching, and trying new things.
📚 What did I discover?
Must be from all the wayfaring I’m doing in product land right now that I’m reading so many articles around product career paths. But this one is the real deal, and I’m sure I’ll be back to re-read Gibson’s guidance many times over.
Hacking Your Product Leader Career
The skills, metrics and hypothesis-driven approach needed to accelerate your career.
Another interesting set of career lessons here, and I can definitely relate to the ones around manager value, boundary negotiation, and not wanting to look stupid. 😅
Lessons learned the hard way: a vulnerable look at the first five years of my career
I often wish I could go back and warn my past self about the mistakes that shaped my professional character. Given the…
This post includes probably the best deconstruction of PM ‘extras’ that I’ve come across in quite a while. A great case for why PMs need a strong team and support system around them, lest they try to spin all these plates solo!
Two in a Box PM - Silicon Valley Product Group
In my earlier article on the six different models of Product Ops I have found in practice, I mentioned that there were…
I guess I don’t need to read The Mom Test anymore according to this article? The quick and dirty version is:
Frame your product in just a sentence or a few words, and connect it directly to ‘how and why someone would use it.’ It’s an elevator pitch, but hyperfocused on the benefit to your customers.
Move past “The Mom Test” - start using “The Cab Driver Test”
You’ve probably read “The Mom Test” or at least read the summary — don’t ask people if they like your idea, just talk…
Haven’t come across the idea of ‘burnout burnout’ before — but it’s easy to see why we need to acknowledge the hidden burden of genuine empathy, and consider what to do about it.
A Manager's Guide to Helping Teams Face Down Uncertainty, Burnout and Perfectionism
"'There are two kinds of people who don't experience painful emotions such as anxiety or disappointment, sadness…
Today (the 20th) marks my 6 year anniversary at Red Badger! 😄 It’s been quite the ride since arriving in London: from our Originations program at the bank, through to the creation of cells — and roaming between C, A, BC and D — running the FutureNHS team, figuring out a repeatable process for product strategy, getting Mission Beyond off the ground, getting comfortable with the sales cycle. I’ve learned loads in the process, and experienced a lot of growth as a result.
Only wish I had more of these weeknotes to look further back on. How was I approaching my work and my career in 2016? What was I struggling with the most? Where would I have weighed in on product vs. delivery? I can take a few guesses… perhaps I should set aside the time to write down my guesses before even more fog settles into my memory.