SlideShare a Scribd company logo
LET’S TALK
ABOUT PRODUCT
MANAGERS
Josh Elman
PRODUCTS I’VE
WORKED ON
WHAT EXACTLY DOES A
PRODUCT MANAGER DO?*
*Can you explain it to your parents?
Photo: Brian Brooks/Flickr
WHAT DOESN’T A PRODUCT
MANAGER DO?
- Write code (Engineering)
- Create mock-ups (Design)
- Sign deals (Business Development)
- Plan PR (Communications)
Product
Manager
Define the
Market &
Customer
Launch timing,
Sales &
Marketing
Collateral
Product
Evangelist &
Champion
Define the
requirements
& roadmap
Competitors,
Products &
Capabilities
Define the
problem
& value
proposition
Internal/External
stakeholder
Communication
More simply...
UX Tech
Business
Image: http://www.mindtheproduct.com/2011/10/what-exactly-is-a-product-manager
You are here
UX Tech
Business
More simply...
Image: http://www.mindtheproduct.com/2011/10/what-exactly-is-a-product-manager
Definition: A Product Manager helps
their team (and company) ship the
right product to their users.
PRODUCT MANAGER
HELP YOUR TEAM
Photo: Jon Candy/Flickr
Your team is anyone working directly on the
product (or an area of the product).
- Designers, engineers, QA, documentation, marketing
- Assigned colleagues from team members from adjunct
teams including business development, support, legal
WHO’S ON THE TEAM?
YOUR ROLE ON THE TEAM
You are not a “CEO of the product.”
You are a team leader.
- SET THE CADENCE
- BRAINSTORM EFFECTIVELY
- MANAGE PRODUCT OPERATIONS
SET THE CADENCE
- Build the roadmap with brainstorm meetings
(quarterly)
- Articulate the roadmap clearly and consistently
- Hold regular product operations meetings
(weekly)
- “Act Solid” (more on this shortly)
- Take and share clear meeting notes
BRAINSTORM EFFECTIVELY
- Everyone pitches ideas to drive biggest impact
(No ideas are bad!)
- Q&A where people pitch or describe ideas
- Everyone votes for their top 3
- Discussion of why and how people voted
- Re-vote
- You now have top-3 roadmap plan. More or less.
MANAGE PRODUCT OPERATIONS
-  Share company news relevant for team
- Gut check for features getting launched ASAP
- Learnings and analysis of recent features
- Roadmap check-in on new development
-  1-2 key topics for brainstorm/discussion
or guest speaker
AH, THE LIFE OF A
GLORIFIED NOTE TAKER
Some people think the job of product
manager is glorious.
Photo: OwlPacino/Flickr
In reality the most important thing
you do is document decisions.
Follow-up notes usually take longer
than actual meetings.
Involve people from extended team to get
feedback, share plans.
Photo: OwlPacino/Flickr
ACT SOLID
Support
Ops
Legal
International
Design
Analytics
Communications
Trust/Safety
THE COMPANY FOCUS
IS YOUR FOCUS
Understand and communicate the
company’s overall goals and objectives.
Remind the team of the founders’ vision.
Attach incentives to company goals.
Bonus Hiring Tip: When interviewing product
managers, look for how often candidates refer
to the bigger vision of the company.
HELP YOUR TEAM
SHIP
Photo: NCDOTcommunications/Flickr
SHIPPING > PERFECTION
Helping your team only matters if you can ship
the product to users
- Providing clear criteria for launch readiness
- Make the difficult tradeoffs
- Prioritize ruthlessly
Great product managers
understand the very tricky balance
between getting it right and
getting it out the door.
HELP YOUR TEAM
SHIP THE RIGHT
PRODUCT
Photo: Alan/Flickr
Start with your team’s most creative solutions.
Improve your ideas with:
- Feedback from testers and active users
- Criticism from non-users
- Input from founders and leaders
- Ideas from anywhere you can get them
BELIEVE BUT LISTEN
MEASURE RESULTS
Have a theory of the impact you want to have.
Identify metrics to demonstrate that impact.
Generate data: what works and what doesn’t.
Keep an eye out for unexpected learnings.
TO USERS
HELP YOUR TEAM
SHIP THE RIGHT
PRODUCT
Photo: Josue Goge/Flickr
ADVOCATE
FOR THE USER
A Core Use Case tells the story of who should
use the product and why
- Articulating the core use case is the hardest
part of building a new product
A good product manager advocates for users
every step of the way:
- By understanding the challenges/issues of
target users
- By understanding how the product can deliver
the value target users are looking for
- By continuously listening to feedback
(usability tests, meetings, tweets, etc.)
THE “DO’S” FOR
PRODUCT MANAGERS
- Coordinate key decisions based on team
members’ input
- Negotiate disagreements and maintain progress
- Develop consensus from team factions,
(disagree but commit)
THE “DON’TS” FOR
PRODUCT MANAGERS
- Don’t try to build what you think is right
- Don’t expect that the team will execute
orders blindly
- Don’t forget where credit is always due
As a product goes to market, you should be
game-planning the next iteration:
- Plan for improvement (with entire team)
- Additional testing
- Brainstorming solutions based on data
and feedback
YOUR JOB
IS NEVER DONE
There is no right product... but there is a right
way to be a Product Manager.
Effective Product Managers simply help their
team move forward.
THE PRODUCT IS
NEVER FINISHED
No product will ever quite be right for
everyone; it’s an ongoing process of
continued development and iteration to
make it better.
A Product Manager's Job

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A Product Manager's Job

  • 3. WHAT EXACTLY DOES A PRODUCT MANAGER DO?*
  • 4. *Can you explain it to your parents? Photo: Brian Brooks/Flickr
  • 5. WHAT DOESN’T A PRODUCT MANAGER DO? - Write code (Engineering) - Create mock-ups (Design) - Sign deals (Business Development) - Plan PR (Communications)
  • 6. Product Manager Define the Market & Customer Launch timing, Sales & Marketing Collateral Product Evangelist & Champion Define the requirements & roadmap Competitors, Products & Capabilities Define the problem & value proposition Internal/External stakeholder Communication
  • 7. More simply... UX Tech Business Image: http://www.mindtheproduct.com/2011/10/what-exactly-is-a-product-manager
  • 8. You are here UX Tech Business More simply... Image: http://www.mindtheproduct.com/2011/10/what-exactly-is-a-product-manager
  • 9. Definition: A Product Manager helps their team (and company) ship the right product to their users. PRODUCT MANAGER
  • 10. HELP YOUR TEAM Photo: Jon Candy/Flickr
  • 11. Your team is anyone working directly on the product (or an area of the product). - Designers, engineers, QA, documentation, marketing - Assigned colleagues from team members from adjunct teams including business development, support, legal WHO’S ON THE TEAM?
  • 12. YOUR ROLE ON THE TEAM You are not a “CEO of the product.” You are a team leader. - SET THE CADENCE - BRAINSTORM EFFECTIVELY - MANAGE PRODUCT OPERATIONS
  • 13. SET THE CADENCE - Build the roadmap with brainstorm meetings (quarterly) - Articulate the roadmap clearly and consistently - Hold regular product operations meetings (weekly) - “Act Solid” (more on this shortly) - Take and share clear meeting notes
  • 14. BRAINSTORM EFFECTIVELY - Everyone pitches ideas to drive biggest impact (No ideas are bad!) - Q&A where people pitch or describe ideas - Everyone votes for their top 3 - Discussion of why and how people voted - Re-vote - You now have top-3 roadmap plan. More or less.
  • 15. MANAGE PRODUCT OPERATIONS -  Share company news relevant for team - Gut check for features getting launched ASAP - Learnings and analysis of recent features - Roadmap check-in on new development -  1-2 key topics for brainstorm/discussion or guest speaker
  • 16. AH, THE LIFE OF A GLORIFIED NOTE TAKER Some people think the job of product manager is glorious. Photo: OwlPacino/Flickr
  • 17. In reality the most important thing you do is document decisions. Follow-up notes usually take longer than actual meetings. Involve people from extended team to get feedback, share plans. Photo: OwlPacino/Flickr
  • 19. THE COMPANY FOCUS IS YOUR FOCUS Understand and communicate the company’s overall goals and objectives.
  • 20. Remind the team of the founders’ vision. Attach incentives to company goals. Bonus Hiring Tip: When interviewing product managers, look for how often candidates refer to the bigger vision of the company.
  • 21. HELP YOUR TEAM SHIP Photo: NCDOTcommunications/Flickr
  • 22. SHIPPING > PERFECTION Helping your team only matters if you can ship the product to users - Providing clear criteria for launch readiness - Make the difficult tradeoffs - Prioritize ruthlessly
  • 23. Great product managers understand the very tricky balance between getting it right and getting it out the door.
  • 24. HELP YOUR TEAM SHIP THE RIGHT PRODUCT Photo: Alan/Flickr
  • 25. Start with your team’s most creative solutions. Improve your ideas with: - Feedback from testers and active users - Criticism from non-users - Input from founders and leaders - Ideas from anywhere you can get them BELIEVE BUT LISTEN
  • 26. MEASURE RESULTS Have a theory of the impact you want to have. Identify metrics to demonstrate that impact. Generate data: what works and what doesn’t. Keep an eye out for unexpected learnings.
  • 27. TO USERS HELP YOUR TEAM SHIP THE RIGHT PRODUCT Photo: Josue Goge/Flickr
  • 28. ADVOCATE FOR THE USER A Core Use Case tells the story of who should use the product and why - Articulating the core use case is the hardest part of building a new product
  • 29. A good product manager advocates for users every step of the way: - By understanding the challenges/issues of target users - By understanding how the product can deliver the value target users are looking for - By continuously listening to feedback (usability tests, meetings, tweets, etc.)
  • 30. THE “DO’S” FOR PRODUCT MANAGERS - Coordinate key decisions based on team members’ input - Negotiate disagreements and maintain progress - Develop consensus from team factions, (disagree but commit)
  • 31. THE “DON’TS” FOR PRODUCT MANAGERS - Don’t try to build what you think is right - Don’t expect that the team will execute orders blindly - Don’t forget where credit is always due
  • 32. As a product goes to market, you should be game-planning the next iteration: - Plan for improvement (with entire team) - Additional testing - Brainstorming solutions based on data and feedback YOUR JOB IS NEVER DONE
  • 33. There is no right product... but there is a right way to be a Product Manager. Effective Product Managers simply help their team move forward. THE PRODUCT IS NEVER FINISHED
  • 34. No product will ever quite be right for everyone; it’s an ongoing process of continued development and iteration to make it better.