Product management wins and losses

The new Meek Mill album has just released and I can really relate to the title of the album “Wins and Losses” from a PM perspective

Back when I was broke, they was cool with it. Now every move I make I’m in the news with it. Even if I ain’t do it they be like “you did it” — Meek Mill

One particular aspect of my role as a PM is is learning how to have all the responsibility yet no authority. This can make your mind go in a dark spiral since the product is on your shoulders. Startups with less than 50 employees enable a culture in which everyone knows each others problems and everyone has each other’s back. Fundamentally if you’re going through the trenches of trying to solve problems, curious and caring individuals from all around the company will offer to help and vice versa. Majority of the time, you help each other out in order to keep each others morale up since the few around you is all you got when the times get tough.

“Oh this the price of being great?” — Meek Mill

I specifically wore multiple hats when I launched a new product to market with a team of 4. I single handedly was responsible for support of the current stable product 25%, while prepping and shipping the new hardware product to deliver to customers 25%, while talking to customers for feedback 25%, while doing software QA 25% and Project managing priorities I am involved in 25%. As you can see, I had to make 125% happen. It resulted in 12 months straight of 12–14 hour days. Those around me (non product folks) would see my hustle and would offer to help any way they could. I achieved my goals more often than not mostly due to the support from those around me.

This kind of team comradery is an amazing feeling and made the long days worth it. I want to keep experiencing this “high” so to speak as long as possible. The ability to experiment, stay nimble, and fail fast is empowering and if you missed the mark you are expected to retro and work on the issues. Knowing that your team has your back no matter what is (in Khaled’s words) definitely a major key.

Because of these experiences, i exercise over communication, honesty, and fearlessness to put myself out there and essentially exposing myself to vulnerability. At the end of the day, the egos must be put aside in order to attack the right problems to work on. If I make the wrong call, I admit it publicly and sincerely ask for help from the team. Can’t take it personal in the pursuit to always do what is best for the product.

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