I’ve been asked a lot lately for intuitive product manager tips, given the daunting mess that product management can be. I understand this, it’s one of those business fields that can be confusing, difficult and not clearly defined.
I’ll be honest, at one time, I found myself unable to really explain product management myself, even with an advanced knowledge of the topic, because these soft sciences can be this way. But, just because a science is soft does not mean it doesn’t follow rules and that time tested strategies haven’t been discovered to make this job easier.
So, with that in mind, I’m going to go over some product manager tips which can do just that – make this job invariably easier to handle, and make this field a bit less mystifying to break into in the future.
I’ve talked about a few of these points in more general lists of management tips before, but given their importance, I feel a couple of these bear re-mentioning if with a new perspective. These aren’t the only things of importance in product management, but they’re absolutely crucial.
#1 – Defining Rules of Engagement
Properly defining how your department will interact with others, and how exchanges and cooperation should work is mandatory if things are to go smoothly. Know what is expected of your department, and what is expected of the others with which yours closely works.
Only then can even exchange and cooperation be established, and effective teamwork be conducted. With responsibilities being clearly defined, and no redundancy in place where it ought not be, then strategies and plans can be properly made. Otherwise, it all breaks down very quickly and becomes a mess the likes of which product management is often wrongly associated.
#2 – Hiring the Right People
Product managers need to be sure they hire the right people to work with and beneath them. People working in product management must both be specialists and generalists, understanding marketing, product lifespans, applications and people in ways that other more specialized positions may not.
When hiring a team, or a product manager themselves, it’s important to be sure that this diverse range of common sense and expertise is in the right balance, because this is a demanding field indeed.
#3 – Leveraging
Leveraging product management expertise in marketing strategies is a way to kill two birds with one stone, seeing to the increased solidity of marketing plans, utilizing a greater understanding of the product from an industrial aspect, but also in ensuring that product management strategies account for the results of marketing plans made.
Of course, this sees to an end to the common problem of strategies formed by these two departments badly negating and hindering one another as they often do!
#4 – Planning to be Effective
Devote as much time as possible to effective product planning, both from a marketing, processing and where applicable, manufacturing aspect. Developing and vetting effective, solid plans (including dry runs and case study analysis) prevents a lot of re-approach to plans and lost time in trying ineffective strategies, which is a common issue in product management now.
#5 – Freedom is Important
As a product manager, or someone in authority over product managers, it’s important to understand that unleashing the creative power and skills of the product management team is important. Fettering them too tightly, or holding them to standards of practices other management departments have adopted will serve only to hinder them and annoy them, resulting in calamitous results for everyone involved.
Trust your team, and trust your product managers. If they have an idea, let them pursue it, at least as far as getting it on paper, before deeming it worthy or unworthy of seriously trying. You may find that they’re full of fantastic ideas that go above and beyond these humble product manager tips here.