Product Alchemist
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Product Alchemist

Just another day as a Product Manager!

Handle chaos with grace!

Photo by Nandhu Kumar from Pexels

Yesterday, I had to demo a feature that my team has built over a couple of months in the company town hall. There were a couple of pitches before me, and I was waiting in anticipation for my turn. I was ready, the platform where I had to showcase was ready and so was my script.

Five minutes before my turn, all hell broke loose. The platform where I was supposed to showcase the feature went down. I promptly reported to my team that the platform had stopped working. Everyone came into action and tried to analyze the situation. Suggestions started pouring from all directions.

Here is what I did:

  1. Maintain your calm: Maintain calm throughout the situation because there is no way you would be able to seek a solution without this. If you are living through the fire, you can’t give in, but this skill is hard to come by and you have to go through a lot of such scenarios to develop such resilience. To handle such incidents is an opportunity for you to grow a little more today and build that calm.
  2. Communicate ASAP: Inform your team and stakeholders about it and see if anything can be resolved in the given time frame. Either your team might help you resolve the system or your stakeholders might give you a little additional time to fix it. Everyone understands that glitches are inevitable at the end of the day.
  3. Think of alternatives: I swiftly pulled up the less stable version of the platform, which was going through a few issues but should be sufficient to showcase or at least take care of the demo for the time being. I ended up showing bits and pieces and spun a story around it.
  4. Show up and Story-Tell: Next comes the time to show the actual resilience. By this time, you might have forgotten the elaborate script you prepared or your voice might start trembling due to the chaos. But you still show up. Excuse yourself politely from the occasion stating the glitch and talk about what your team has accomplished so far. At the end of the day, systems can go bad, but it is your storytelling ability that will save the day.

Product managers have to think on their feet as they represent the face of the product and a lot is riding on them.

But the question was, whether you should prepare better or whether you should be prepared for anything?

Maybe this time it was not about delivering an excellent presentation but becoming a little better at handling last-minute chaos.

We should neither shy away from such experiences nor over-prepare so that such experiences shouldn’t happen to us. Because there is always something you won’t know. So see every hurdle as an opportunity to grow — after all, we are all human beings.

And yes, such experiences also end up being great ideas for writing. :)




We write about the magic that goes into creating a product

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Bhramari Bisht

Bhramari Bisht

Product @Lowes | Sarcastic | Focussed | Exclusive

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