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10 Product Manager Success Secrets

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Dr. Jim Anderson …

Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting

Published in: Business
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  • 1. 10 Product Manager Success Secrets Dr. Jim Anderson / (@drjimanderson)
  • 2. 2 www.BlueElephantConsulting.com How Many Jobs Will YOU Have? Q: What is the difference between a job and a career?
  • 3. 3 www.BlueElephantConsulting.com The Evolution Of Product Management Careers 1970’s1970’s 1980’s1980’s 1990’s1990’s 2000+2000+ “ART”“ART” “CRAFT”“CRAFT” “PROFESSION”“PROFESSION” “TRADE”“TRADE”
  • 4. 4 www.BlueElephantConsulting.com Secret #10: Go To College / Be Sure To Finish If You Do Go • The reason that you get a college degree is to learn how to think -- not to memorize facts. • Do you really think that the following will be important in 10 years: – Now: Java [Then: Fortran, Pascal, COBOL] – Microsoft / Sun / HP [DEC / Data General / SGI] – The Internet? [FIDONET / ARPANET / Compuserve] – “Portals”? [BBNs] – 802.11 a/b/g? [Thick / Thin Coax, RS-232] – Windows / Linux? [VMS / TSO / Novell] – Apple? [DEC / TI / IBM] – Structured Analysis? [OOD / etc.]
  • 5. 5 www.BlueElephantConsulting.com Secret #9: Don’t Be A Problem Finder -- Be A Problem Fixer • You were hired to make problems go away. • Secret To Success: anticipate problems – they belong to you. • The higher up in an organization one goes, the less able people are to create solutions to problems. – They do really well with questions that require only yes/no answers.
  • 6. 6 www.BlueElephantConsulting.com Secret #8: Always Sweat The Small Stuff • The details can trip you up. – Time Cards – Expense Reports – Etc. • Depending on the size of the company, there are people whose jobs are only to deal with the small stuff.
  • 7. 7 www.BlueElephantConsulting.com Secret #7: Take The Time To Communicate Clearly • Everything that you learned in elementary school was correct: – Spelling counts! – For that matter, grammar also counts. • Why should I take the time to read your email if it’s: – Too long? – Too boring? – Too confusing?
  • 8. 8 www.BlueElephantConsulting.com Secret #6: Do Not Fall In Love With Your Company • Your employer does not have the capacity to love you. • Will the company be able to continue to operate if you leave someday? – You might think that it can’t. – However it can. • Can you and an ex-company “still be friends?”
  • 9. 9 www.BlueElephantConsulting.com Secret #5: Be Nice To Everyone (Including The Important People) • Where do you think future CEO’s start out? • Be nice to everyone -- you never know when you will need their help.
  • 10. 10 www.BlueElephantConsulting.com Secret #4: Tell People About Your Work • How well you communicate will determine how far your career goes. – Writing – Drawing – Speaking • What Are The Three Most Important Tools In Product Mgmt? – Microsoft Word – Microsoft PowerPoint – Tie: Microsoft Excel & Microsoft Outlook • How Good Are You At Public Speaking? – Try Toastmasters
  • 11. 11 www.BlueElephantConsulting.com Secret #3: Channel Surf -- Don’t Use Email For Everything • Learn when to use what method to contact people: – Phone – Voicemail – Email – Instant Messaging – In-Person • Emails live *forever*! – Tyco / ENRON / various Wall Street Firms • Instant Messaging now also lives forever.
  • 12. 12 www.BlueElephantConsulting.com Secret #2: Learn To Make Decisions w/o All The Facts • The ability to estimate scope/size/time/cost quickly & correctly is invaluable. – You need to be able to make decisions with incomplete information. • 80%+ of Projects Fail Due In Part To Poor Estimating. • Example: schedule, cost, staffing, risks.
  • 13. 13 www.BlueElephantConsulting.com Secret #1: You Have A Job - Now Start Learning! • Domain knowledge is the key to career success. • Examples – A licensed stock trader who leads an IT team at Merrill Lynch. – Pilots who lead the teams that define flight control products. – Former field techs who now test field tech software.
  • 14. 14 www.BlueElephantConsulting.com So Where Do I Go From Here? www.TheAccidentalPM.com
  • 15. 15 www.BlueElephantConsulting.com Everything Changes: Never, Ever, Stand Still! Final Thought
  • 16. 16 www.BlueElephantConsulting.com

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