The politics of_product_management- final

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This presentation was first delivered at Product Camp Seattle on 10/23/10.

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  • Welcome to Politics and the Product World, I’m Jim Holland, Product Management Consultant for Mission Creek Partners and my colleague is Jennifer Doctor, Sr. Product Marketing Manager from Sage, Small Business Accounting Services group.

    While politics are a part of almost every company, as product management and marketing professionals, we have to be keenly aware and prepared to identify, deal with, maneuver and avoid all types of politics. Whether its “TOP DOWN” or “BOTTOM UP” it affects us all.

    For the purpose of this conversation, “politics” is the negative connotation of conversations and collaboration. There is positive that comes from that collaboration and communication, but that is not what we are focused on here. Think of it the same way that you describe a bad process as bureaucratic, while a positive process is just a “process.” Over the next 30 minutes, we’ll use your experiences, and ours as well as some real-time polling to help you prepare and work with political issues as a practitioner or leader.

    And, hopefully we’ll also leave you with a few tips to support your efforts.

    To get started, help us understand who you are. How many of you are leaders, with a “top down” perspective? And, how many of your contributors or the “bottom up” view?
  • WHERE DO THE POLITICS EMERGE IN YOUR COMPANY?

    (There was a great list generated from participants) These are posted on Jim’s blog at www.pmtribes.wordpress.com
  • In a few places during this presentation we’re going to ask for your opinion. We’re going to use your phones to do some audience voting just like on American Idol.

    So please take out your cell phones, but remember to leave them on silent. You can participate by sending a text message.

    This is a just standard rate text message, so it may be free for you, or up to twenty cents on some carriers if you do not have a text messaging plan. The service we are using is serious about privacy. I cannot see your phone numbers, and you’ll never receive follow-up text messages outside this presentation.
  • While waiting for poll to build, Jim spoke about “Executive of Influence.” For more information on the executive of influence, see the post http://pmtribe.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/the-executive-of-influence/


  • If this poll doesn’t show properly in the slide presentation, please visit this site through your web browser:
    http://www.polleverywhere.com/multiple_choice_polls/LTEwOTQ5NDEzOTY
  • What are some of the WARNING SIGNS that politics are emerging or changing?

    TOP DOWN OR LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVE
    A new initiative is being championed and it no alignment to the company’s vision.
    There’s TOO MUCH NOISE or THINGS are TOO QUIET.
    The words “disruptive innovation” are mentioned a lot and the only disruption is organizational change and jockeying.
    There is visible tension and open communications between leaders of different departments, teams or executives.

    BOTTOM UP or PRACTIONER PERSPECTIVE
    Promotions and/or new opportunities do not “appear” to be based on qualifications, or are given to the manager’s “favorite”
    Your view is not consistent with others; you see more conflict or challenges not the same opportunities
    Feel that there is lack of communication and direction coming from above – at all levels above (manager & executive)

    From a bottom up view, common theme is more about feelings and perceptions and not grounded or supported by facts and reality; often lack of information and communication
  • LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVE
    Lack of consistent leadership and communication of vision. (If no ones driving the boat, should I)
    Growth and revenue are suffering and no one is taking action.
    We have no idea what the companies vision is.
    Constant churn (Call it the flavor or vision of the day)

    PRACTIONER PERSPECTIVE
    Lack of consistent leadership and communication of vision. (but is it the right control?)
    Growth and revenue are suffering and no one is taking action. (is the product the answer?)
    We have no idea what the companies vision is. (is that right vision?)
    Constant churn (Call it the flavor or vision of the day)

    From a contributor’s perspective, it comes down to trust: trust in the leadership, the vision, and the ability to execute.
    Control without support from others, execs and other groups, become politics.
  • A VIEW FROM THE TOP
    “The one thing that separates those who challenge the status quo and those who embrace it - COURAGE“ ~ Simon Sinek
    Politics are and will be visible in EVERY company.
    Leaders have to be involved and actively communicating with all levels of the org. If you or your leader is scared of executive management, you have a problem.
    You’re teams needs and deserves to understand what’s going on and who is THE EXECUTIVE of INFLUENCE (Describe a scenario and ask the audience to pick out who’s the EOI)







    A VIEW FROM THE BOTTOM
  • A VIEW LOOKING UP…as a PRACTIONER

    “It is not what we get. But, who we become, what we contribute…that gives meaning to our lives.” ~ Anthony Robbins

    Politics are and will be visible in EVERY company. Don’t play the game if you’re not ready (you will pay a price)
    Leaders have to be involved and actively communicating with all levels of the org. If you or your leader is scared of executive management, you have a problem. Contributors need to support the effort of the leadership then take action, not just words. And, non-verbal action counts. Lots!
    You’re teams needs and deserves to understand what’s going on and who is THE EXECUTIVE of INFLUENCE . Relationships needs to be built at all levels – talk at the right level.







    A VIEW FROM THE BOTTOM
  • FROM A LEADER’S PERSPECTIVE
    Be a leader who regularly ask “Why.”
    Don’t let day-to-day stuff interrupt a primary focus – INTERNAL G2 (INTELLIGENCE)
    Align with peer leaders who think and are motivated by the same principles. Stay connected to a like-minded executives.
    Have a seat at the EXECUTIVE TABLE or be a regular guest. Who is representing you and your team? (Is it someone you trust or a politician?)
    Ensure your team is accountable, measureable and they understand and can articulate their role. (Elevator pitch)


    FROM A CONTRIBUTORS PERSPECTIVE
    Remember your priorities – be able to explain the value in the plan to achieve, metrics and results
    Find a supporter on the same level, a peer to the one blocking you, to act as a mentor through process
    Don’t make assumptions about who is your supporter
    Don’t whine! Keep away from making it about people
  • FROM A LEADERS PERSPECTIVE

    Have a set of product management methods that the team follows and everyone in the organization knows about and love.
    Be Measureable – MBOs for you and product management.
    Be Consistent – Surface (Negative comments don’t stick when your repeatable and sustainable.)
    Be Nimble – We’re you first or last to know your company was going Agile? Be proactive!
    Be Resolute – Stick by your values and established credibility. Don’t waiver.


    FROM A PRACTIONER PERSPECTIVE
    Be proactive with ideas and initiatives that can make a difference. Test with trusted few, then introduce for support and larger role out.
    Own the goals. Don’t delegate and don’t dawdle. Follow the roadmap & raise them in time to change
    PRACTICE-PRACTICE-PRACTICE in front of that trusted leader. Use the resources you’ve built and leverage the relationships.

  • FROM A LEADERS PERSPECTIVE
    Avoid open forums and discussions where people and their ideas are criticized. Make brainstorming sessions purposeful and constructive.
    Avoid conversations, conjecture and bad information with your team. Don’t start them, STOP them. It’s about being proactive.
    Avoid being the “gridlock” in your company.
    Avoid gut instinct. Product Management & Marketing has a unique position to make decisions based on real customer/market data. Data can squelch political situations. Invest in the facts.



    A PRACTIONER VIEW
    Focus on what is YOUR individual distinctive competence and prove value (this topic was discussed on Jennifer’s blog at: http://outsideinview.com/2010/10/25/your-dc-will-help-you-stand-out/ )
    Focus on the market and how your efforts support them, not the people involved. Facts are reality.
    Focus on your personal goals, directions and value – invest in your growth. Own it. No one else will.

  • Please take a moment and text your choice, using the codes in the slide, to the number listed on the slide.

    Your feedback is very important to us.
  • Please visit both Jim’s and Jennifer’s blogs, at the URL’s listed on the slide, to continue the discussion.

    Thank you
  • The politics of_product_management- final

    1. 1. Politics & The Product World Jim Holland Mission Creek Partners jholland@missioncreekpartners.com www.pmtribes.wordpress.com @Jim_Holland - Twitter Jennifer Doctor Sage Jennifer.doctor@gmail.com www.outsideinview.com @jidoctor - Twitter
    2. 2. Politics and Your Company Where are the Politics in Your Company?
    3. 3. How To Vote via Texting 1. Standard texting rates only (worst case US $0.20) 2. We have no access to your phone number 3. Capitalization doesn’t matter, but spaces and spelling do TIPS
    4. 4. Where are the Politics in Your Company? 4 Text your choice using the Code Number to 22333  In Research & Development – Text 121379  With Executives - Text 121380  In the PM/PMM team - Text 121381  From our Customers/Market - Text 121382  Other - Text 121383
    5. 5. Where are the Politics in Your Company?
    6. 6. The Warning Signs
    7. 7. What Warning Signs Have You Seen? 7 Text your choice using the Code Number to 22333  No one’s talking to you - Text 121352  Background/“surprise”/“stealth” initiatives surface - Text 121353  Visible “gridlock or impasse”, aka “spinning wheels” - Text 121354  Lack of quality and consistent information from executive - Text 121421
    8. 8. Where are the Warning Signs 8
    9. 9. Underlying Factors
    10. 10. Politics and Teams – Leadership View
    11. 11. Politics and Teams – Perspective View
    12. 12. Maneuvering through Politics
    13. 13. Building Value in Product Management
    14. 14. Last Words To Avoid Falling In
    15. 15. Feedback: What value did you receive today? Text your choice using the Code Number to 22333  Significant (Learned lots & can apply actions) - Text 121475  Moderate (Learned some & may be apply actions) - Text 121476  Neutral (as expected) - Text 121477  Eh (Nothing new here, but content was right) - Text 121478  Insignificant (redo before you deliver this again) - Text 121479
    16. 16. Jim Holland Mission Creek Partners jholland@missioncreekpartners.com www.pmtribes.wordpress.com @Jim_Holland - Twitter Jennifer Doctor Sage jidoctor@hotmail.com www.outsideinview.com @jidoctor - Twitter

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