Product management and strategy is one of the bigger hurdles of business, and one that’s almost always a mess. For those unfortunate enough to be yoked with this responsibility beyond their normal duties, it can be nightmarish and daunting. So many confident and competent professionals have walked away from this sort of responsibility unsure of themselves and with a fear put in them that is undeserved and unnecessary.
So, why is product management and strategy such a mess, and why does it put so many otherwise skilled business people through the wringer so effectively? Well, the short answer to this is that like a lot of things in business, it’s a soft science, so there’s not a lot that lengthy, dry research ahead of time can actually do to prepare green people for the tasks awaiting them. This is one of those situations where experience and intuition are the best weapons and the best defense, but one going into this without these things is kind of up a creek in that sense, aren’t they?
Well, like so many business issues, there’s no one fool proof strategy or end all solution for this, but there are some time tested tips that can make this much less of a nightmare, and at least ensure the standard level of success for those less than experienced in the topic.
Today, I’d like to share a few of these with you, so that in the future, when faced with this subject, you can look on with confidence and no fear, knowing darn well that you can handle this.
#1 – Encouragement
You’re probably expecting me to talk about self-encouragement and confidence here, but I’m actually talking about something more concrete and effective than that in this case. What I mean by encouragement is that of encouraging participation of product management personnel in corporate strategic planning.
Having contingencies and forethought is invaluable in all things, and planning ahead with business management in mind makes handling this issue much less of a hassle. You can’t plan in a closed loop, when it comes to something as inclusive as business strategy, and with that in mind, this is the most important, most effective measure to take to reduce the difficulty of product management.
#2 – Defining Roles and Responsibilities
All good leaders know the value of proper, clearly defined delegation of roles and responsibilities, and nobody will ever be saddled with product management alone. You will have a team of confident people who are confident in you.
They will expect to be given clear roles that allow them to work together like a well-oiled machine, so the standard fear new leaders have of delegating is unfounded. It is expected, and it is necessary, and if these roles are not properly defined, confusion will set in and the mess mentioned earlier will begin to arise.
Study your team, know their skills and compatibilities and use this to your advantage. It’s what’s expected, and what’s right.
#3 – Establishing Metrics
I can’t emphasize enough how important metrics are in business, and product management is no exception. Measuring success depends on measuring the right attributes with the right unit standards, so that you can know of both success and failure in equal levels of accuracy.
It’s important to know when things work, so they can be refined to work better, and it’s important to know when things don’t work, so they may be sidestepped. Take your time, and clearly define your metrics from the beginning.
Product management and strategy isn’t so bad, once you know what you need to be on top of going in. You will have a team of competent, skilled people to help you, all they need is your direction and your confidence in yourself and in them, to get the job done.