Product Manager's Guide

Edit on Github

How To Manage Product at Status

“A PM has the brain of an engineer, heart of a designer, tongue of a
diplomat”

PM’s have 4 main tasks:

  1. Leadership
  2. Organizational influence
  3. Productivity
  4. Communication

Leadership

  • Leadership in a team is received through inspiring others. Those who inspire others in a team cause things to happen.
  • PM’s are not somebody’s boss just because they have some responsibility. You cannot try to tell anybody what to do.
    • Rather, your role is to set goals and ambitions.
  • The vision of the end goal comes, and must come from you, the PM.
    • Articulate a clear product strategy.
  • Success Metrics. Know your stats. Be paranoid about them. Know your top 3 KRs off by heart.

Organizational Influence

  • The responsibility of a PM is not managerial, it’s janitorial. Your task is to make sure that the team has everything it needs to self-organize.
  • Listen to people’s feedback. Make sure people are comfortable communicating with you.
  • Data beats opinion. This goes back to understanding your users, their problems and your success metrics. Support your ideas with data.
  • Influencing. It’s hard to get buy in from every single stakeholder. Create a close working relationship with your xfn leads, and get them to help with the heavy lifting.
  • Pick your battles aka ‘don’t die on the hill’. Figure out what you really feel strongly about. Don’t die on the hill on your way to battle. “i defer to you” is a tremendous power.

Productivity

  • Big rocks first. Have a doc with your big rocks open on your computer at all times. Check your big rocks when you do your most important things (MITs), and/or with your weekly newsletter.
  • Your only resource is your time. And here you have two approached: proactive or reactive. You can be 100% busy but make 0% progress on important things.

Communication

  • Come up with a narrative for your product. Tell it to everyone to everyone you talk to. Repeat it over, and over again.
    • Your 1 sentence elevator pitch must be polished. It can also change over time.
  • Send meeting notes. It makes the most of everyone’s time, and is a good opportunity for you to set the tone and run a tight ship.

Onboarding

When you meet your team, here’s a recommendation of 4 questions you should ask:

  1. What’s working well?
  2. What’s not working well?
  3. What should you do, that you’re not doing?
  4. What would you do if you were in my shoes?