Falling-in Love with Whiteboard

Road to become a great Product Manager

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There are so many criteria to become a good Product Manager that you can read from many articles. You have to become a little CEO, a good communicator, a collaborator, a gap eliminator, a good data interpreter, a nice storyteller, or event a psychic.

And I assume, you already know this intersection:

Taken from here

But, based-on my personal experience, to become a great Product Manager, we need to follow this stream as routine tasks:

Get the symptom, phenomenon, or tendency

You can get it by analyze the data, ask potential user, user/partner feedback, suggestion from your colleague, alignment by management, competitor’s movement, looking the trend, etc. I call this preliminary research. These are your raw materials. I use Mind Map for this purpose. A pencil and sheets of paper are the tools.

Arrange the bricks

After we got mind map in our hands, we need to breakdown and make it simple. To arrange the priority and execution strategy. My favorite is Card Sorting using this method. And you will get your “arranged wall”. Sticky notes are the best tools that you can get.

Show your wall to all stockholders

You are a collaborator, so you must communicate your wall (roadmap, tactic & strategy, idea, suggestion, guideline, insight, planning) to all stockholders. To get support, help, or approval. IMHO, the best tool to do this is whiteboard. You can explain, breakdown, elaboration, restriction, focusing, elimination, fixing and sharpening your initial wall to be a shiny one. This is the core function of a Product Manager.

Document it with low fidelity sketch/wireframes and simple Document of Done(DOD)

Using paper, sketch the visual design, wording and flow of the most important part of your project or feature of product with short, clear, and inspirational acceptance criteria. This document is guideline for Project Management Officer (PMO), UI/UX Designers, Quality Assurance (QA), Lead Engineer, and Business People, to run the project. So everybody is in the same page.

Maybe you realize if I always prefer physical tools rather then the digital versions. With paper, pencil, whiteboard, whiteboard marker, and sticky notes, we get the freedom to move, update, delete, focusing and sharpening components, create footnotes, and so on. Beside that, ideas will be easier to flowed and discussed together, with no barrier and smoothly with no idle time.