A simple formula to help Product Managers (or anyone)

I almost called this a simple formula for success but there is no such thing 🙊. However, approaching your work in this way should help:

tldr; do the most important thing each day, focus on it and communicate what you’re doing

Prioritisation x Execution

Product Managers usually wear many hats and often have long to-do lists. This formula revolves around picking the task that will have the most impact and fully focusing on it so it’s value can be realised.

Assuming the importance of a task, and how well it is executed, are both rated on a scale of 0-10 then Prioritisation x Execution has a potential score of 0-100. Always aim for 100.

Scoring 100 means you are working on the most valuable thing you can, and you are delivering everything that is needed for all the value to be realised.

If you have 10 tasks in your to-do list and you work on the fourth most important task, even if you do a great job on this task then your max score is limited to 40. Likewise, if you pick the most important task and only complete half of what is needed then you are only scoring 50.

Generally, when we apply ourselves to something we have the capability to do it well. So the Execution score in the above formula is usually high. The easiest way to improve your result is to increase the Prioritisation score by working on the task that will move the needle the most.

In the book ‘First Things First’, Stephen Covey says that if you focus on moving the big rocks first then even if you only move that one rock each day, you will be productive; he is right ✅ .

Transparency

Transparency is included in the formula because I have found that it is very hard to over-communicate what you are doing as a Product Manager.

Being transparent about what you are doing and why has the following benefits:

  • People can help you if they have more/different information
  • Expectations are clearly set for everyone
  • Communication is a fundamental skill that should be practised
  • Course corrections can be made early and often
  • Showing your work shows your value to others
  • Results can easily be measured back to clearly communicated goals/metrics
  • The Lean Startup approach — release your work early and often for maximum impact
  • You will get more feedback ➡️ you will learn and improve faster
  • A lack of communication leads to more spin/PR being needed later to align stakeholders. Spin/PR is difficult and risky.
  • You will never be chased for updates if you over-communicate

Summary

Do the most important thing each day, focus on it and communicate what you’re doing.


For more on this topic check out this podcast by Drift, ‘First Things First’ by Stephen Covey and ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller. You can also 👏 for this article and follow me for more content.