1. Product Strategy:
1) Understand the context:
Understand the context of things. Be more inquisitive. Instead of telling people what to do or trying to make decisions, try to ask questions. Why is this the way it is? Try to understand the context and history instead of being the new dictator of the team.
2) Customer focus:
Talk to your current customer, do a root cause analysis. Writing story-like user scenarios for the features you’re building is another way to develop customer focus. For these scenarios, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and imagine how the feature fits into the rest of their life. It might seem silly, but when you include details about the customer’s mindset, you can build products that fit into their lives better. I’d talk to users and potential users and try to find out what they wanted. There are some pretty good tools you can use to learn who your users are and create hypotheses about their desires and come up with ideas about what the solutions might be. There’s a methodology of storyboarding and personas coming from user research that you can learn.
3) Propose a narrative:
Put together a business case in a memo, also called a narrative. This document will cover the details of the recommendation and analysis that supports it, especially including numbers about the impact and rationale. Can you be trusted to make the right decisions? Can you push through all of the potential roadblocks to deliver a great product?
4) Think big:
At some point in the development life cycle, you’ll have a chance to scale back, but you need to start big if you want to build a product that will have an impact. See if you can tie the benefits to fundamental human needs like safety, friendship, or self-esteem. Start your brainstorming with the phrase “If I had a magic wand...” Write down your practical objections, then keep going. Find a teammate to play the practical pessimist role in your brainstorming. Write yourself a reminder to always think big. Start your feature planning by writing the press release.
5) Things to change:
Walk in with some ideas for what you’d want to change or implement at the company. An understanding of major user complaints will give you a good place to start.
6) Form your own thought framework and decision making process
1) Practice prioritization:
One of the biggest changes in moving from design to product management is becoming responsible for prioritization. As a PM, you’ll be responsible for shipping the product, which means avoiding feature creep and scoping the implementation as you get more information from engineering on the costs.
2) Constantly evaluate trade-offs:
Evaluating products and teams, figuring out which ones to invest time and resources in, and calculating return on investment. It was great training for a critical mindset and for having to constantly think about tradeoffs and opportunity costs.
3) Balance offense and defense projects appropriately:
Offense projects are ones that grow the business. Defense projects are ones that protect and remove drag on the business (operations, reducing technical debt, fixing bugs, etc.).
1) Being scrappy and make impossible possible:
Being scrappy is about being resourceful and finding ways to succeed when the traditional processes aren’t going to work. For example, if you find that engineers are reluctant to fix UI bugs, you might come up with a contest that motivates them.
2) Launch is important, so pick one with short life cycle:
The product life cycle varies in length from team to team. When you’re starting out, you can pick up experience more quickly by finding teams with shorter launch cycles.
A 1% PM knows how to get 80% of the value out of any feature or project with 20% of the effort. They do so repeatedly, launching more and achieving compounding effects for the product or business.
Successfully launch something is a great opportunity for promotion.
5) Communicate/broadcast the work you do:
In a big company you really need people above you who will allocate resources and get conflicting projects to be on your side, so messaging what you are achieving becomes important.
Types of Work:
1) Pervasive communication: Data + Christina
As an engineer, it’s better to prove things through data than charisma. As a product manager, you need to master both. First use data to establish credibility, and be certain about your conclusion.
Find data support: as a PM, you need to become comfortable with finding data that convinces people. That data is sometimes from product metrics, sometimes from user research, and sometimes from competitive analysis.
2) Define and measure success:
One way to really stand out as a PM is to get more concrete about what success means for your team. Step back and ask 2 questions: If you’re interviewing to be a PM, it’s good to look at every problem starting with “Who is the customer?” and “What is success?”
3) A 1% PM can make a case that is impossible to refute or ignore. They’ll use data appropriately, when available, but they’ll also tap into other biases, beliefs, and triggers that can convince the powers that be to part with headcount, money, or other resources and then get out of the way.
4) Great PMs know how to channel different points-of-view. They play devil’s advocate a lot. They tend to be unsatisfied with simple answers.
5) Influence without authority
1) "Credibility is the currency of a PM,”
The most straightforward way to build credibility is delivering results. Over time they’ll start to see that you’re showing good judgment and getting things done, and they’ll feel comfortable trusting you. Another way to build credibility is paying attention to people’s perceptions of you and ensuring that you’re creating the perception you want. Make sure you’re building a reputation as a smart, skillful, competent, and dependable person with good judgment.
2) Become the expert:
But if you’re just passing questions to other people, you’re not really adding a lot of value. Instead, make sure you really take the time to become the expert on your areas and your customers.
3) Pick a growing team where you could be a senior member:
Pick a place where you can stay long enough that you’ve been on the team longer than most people. Think about how long you’re willing to stick with a product. You cannot speed up time, but you can choose a place where you’re more likely to become a senior member of the team.
4) Show value early on:
Another tip to get that tipping point early on is to demonstrate value to people. Make it so the fact that you’re there is driving something that wouldn’t happen if you weren’t there.
Clear thought framework and decision making process:
Make it clear to the people around you why you’re making a particular decision so they see that you’re consistent with your decisions. There’s nothing engineers hate more than subjective decisions that change from one day to another. If you develop that framework and those principles, it helps people realize that you are consistent.
5) Find a boss who believes in me:
At Google It was really important to me to have a manager who believed in me.
1) Design exercise:
You get thrown into a new problem like redesign a bookstore. With little guidance, you go out and talk to users, take pictures, come back and synthesize, prototype, and bring your prototype back to user to see how it works.
4. Get the stuff done:
1) Work is less tangible:
As a PM, you have to remember to look for it: I convinced this person, I got the team onboard, and so on.
2) Don’t just do what’s asked of you:
Get the job done. As a new PM, it can be tempting to think of your work in terms of deliverables such as proposals, specs, and analyses, and then to think you’re done once the document is written. Those documents aren’t your job; they’re just the tools you use to get results.
3) Side project:
One of the best ways to improve your candidacy for a product management position is to start a side project. Start taking on some PM work, even without the title. Take on other types of leadership and coordination work.
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