Sunday, September 4, 2011

Great vs. Good Product Managers

In all my years of product management (and being an electrical engineer and software developer) I've started to pick up what separates the great product managers from the good product managers. I've decided to share my thoughts on this today and I'm curious as to your thoughts. Without further ado:

  1. Inspiration - Great product managers know how to inspire the people that they work with. This means inspiring your fellow product managers, your development teams, and your cross functional coworkers. The great product managers are leaders. They know how to endear themselves to others and really be that positive energy that can lead to teams exceeding expectations. They are relentless in their promotion of their products and teams and folks see that and are drawn to them. 
  2. Pro-active - Great product managers are always a step ahead. They are already working on the next release and are ready when that request comes. Without being asked they prepare quarterly reviews or highlight market shifts. They seek out opportunities to talk to customers and get feedback. Whenever a request comes in, with very little effort they can meet the request. How many of us, myself included, have had to scurry to create a presentation, business model, etc. when we should have anticipated the request. This is a tough one!
  3. Thoroughness - Great product managers know how to "peel the layers of the onion" so to speak. While the good product managers may use anecdotal evidence or a customer interview to support their position, the great product manager will dig deeper into market research, competitive intelligence, customers support cases, multiple customer interviews, discussions with Sales and support, etc. The Great product managers know how to build a more complete picture of the market problem rather than trying to jump quickly to the feature.
Please share your thoughts?