Good product manager and bad product manager

A good product manager with a key position in a successful product and building a successful product is one of the greatest contributions an individual can have in a product and technology company. . Therefore, the most important criteria for a candidate to be appointed to the board of directors is usually a successful product or feature management history and profitability for the company.

Being a good product manager is very difficult, so most product managers are not good or even bad. Because the position of product manager is so influential, a bad product manager will lead to many other bad results, especially the construction of a product or a set of wrong features, which have a big impact. to revenue, general psychology as well as the reputation of both the company and the product manager.

There are a few rules that are rarely mentioned but if the product manager can comply, their success rate will increase significantly. So this article will clarify those principles.

One last point is: product management is a job with great pressure and responsibility. Before undertaking this task, think carefully about whether you are ready.

Main points:

  • CEO of the product
  • Balance important factors
  • Clear and written communication in product development
  • Specify goals and advantages
  • Focus on customers and sales team
  • Other necessary skills
  • An excellent product manager

CEO of the product:

  • A good product manager works as and is considered the CEO of the product. CEO communicates, promotes vision and is ultimately responsible for the company's success or failure. This is also true for the product manager for the product or functional cluster he manages. A good product manager has a realistic vision of the outcome of his product's success and he will do everything to make that vision a reality. The good product manager is recognized by the entire product development team as the leader of the product.
  • A bad product manager always has many reasons: not enough capital, incompetent software engineers, 10 times more than the number of engineers, I don't know the orientation, I'm too much work and so on. When they fail they point out those things. Remember, a commanding general or a real CEO doesn't explain why and the CEO of the product doesn't have that right.

Balance important factors:

  • A good product manager must know how to balance important factors, he must understand and balance a series of issues related to strategy and product implementation. The main factors to balance include:
    • Company goals and capabilities : A good product manager must understand the company's overall goals and set a product development strategy in that context. Good product managers must also understand the capabilities and limitations of their companies. Good product managers know what types of marketing and how much they can cost for the product. A good product manager doesn't need to know the answer right away but must know what he needs to know and ask the people involved.
    • Customer demand : The product manager is good at listening to customers but he digs deeper to reach the end of the problem and finds persuasive values ​​for customers. A good product manager must understand this difference. A good product manager must also understand the difference between what a customer wants and what he can and will pay. A good product manager must make sure that the customer buys or uses his product and if the initial prediction is wrong he will do his best to fix it. So good product managers need to know how to conduct quantitative research.
    • Competition : A good product manager must understand the competitive environment and competitor's abilities, knowing where the opponents can catch first and what part they will give up. Good product managers understand they have to be really better or different from their competitors or they will fail.
    • Understand what I know and also understand what I don't know : The product manager is well aware of what I know and why, as well as being aware of what I don't know. A good product manager understands the difference between an opinion, a guess, and an objective fact and his task is to clarify the difference, not to fall in love or insist on an argument. certain points. A good product manager does not lose his reputation by exaggerating his knowledge.
    • Pre-calculation and hypothetical follow-up: often the balance factors need to be reviewed right away at this time and through the product life cycle within the next 1-2 years. So good product managers know what their important assumptions are and will follow these assumptions constantly to make sure it stays true in the future.
    • Good product managers will regularly confirm their knowledge of products with their superiors as well as their team members.
  • A bad product manager will ignore the panorama or ignore some small but important factors. A bad product manager builds a good product in a market that the company does not target. A bad product manager builds a product that is too complicated to be sold. A bad product manager builds a product that takes too much time and slows the timing of the market. A bad product manager sends customers prejudice questions and receives incorrect answers. Poor product managers rely solely on their instincts and only confirm with a few atypical customers. The bad product manager reacts to the competitor but forgets to develop the identity of his product that makes it a messy set of what the opponent doesn't do. Poor product manager is not sharp enough to distinguish between excitement and commitment to buy from customers. The bad product manager only hears the biggest customers' feedback and product definition to handle the problems of yesterday and a few customers. Poor product managers compare products that will do in the future to today's competitive marketplace and cite the advantages that customers don't care about. Poor product managers try to protect their views instead of finding ways to learn new knowledge. The bad product manager has no vigilance and doesn't pay much attention to change or just notices when his product has failed.

Clear and written communication in product development

  • A good product manager defines a written request for a product
    • One of the most important product managers is the clear and detailed definition of the product. Good product manager makes clear what is important information. Good product managers make clear the smallest details and make sure everyone understands them. Good product managers also anticipate difficult issues and deal with documents early in the product development process.
    • A good product definition is not only derived from the personal contribution of the product manager, but also based on research, information and a logical and transparent reasoning process that makes the whole team convinced. A good product manager understands that engineers are like scientists and appreciate data rather than ideas. Other parts of the product development team such as QA and design also need to participate in this process. A good product manager defines product vision, goals and empowers engineers to clarify the unpredictable details. In this process, a good product manager also explains why the product should be built in the required manner. A good test with the product manager is for an outsider to ask 5 different people in the product development team about the product's goal and get 5 identical results. Good product managers are respected by engineers and will be consulted when making difficult decisions.
    • A good product manager collects information from engineers through talks but a good product manager gives a written orientation. Text is a better form of communication because it will be unified throughout the product development team, more sustainable and more transparent.
    • Good product managers take part in regular product development meetings and pay attention to participating when engineers make important decisions.
  • Director of good products attaches great importance to product requirements ; because it is the most important document that the product manager maintains and in many cases it is a reference for directions from marketing to technology. The good product manager updates the product requirements daily or at least weekly. The good product manager considers the product request a living process and when there is a change to the product request, he communicates clearly to the product development team. Good product manager works non-stop to ensure a consistent product vision across the organization from QA, technology, to support.
  • The bad product manager minimizes communication with the tech team or misunderstands his role. The bad director pointed out how to do it, but did not specify what to do. The product manager is worried about one aspect of the product but does not deepen it. Poor product manager delays difficult decisions to the end of the product life line. The product manager wrote the document requesting the product once and said that the engineering team understood it. The bad product manager did not update the product request or update the product request but did not tell the relevant units or why. The product manager changes the priority of the engineers' work based on only 1-2 feedback of the customer or a new development of the market without thinking thoroughly through a predetermined process. The product manager badly ignored the suggestions of the engineering team.

Specify goals and advantages

  • Good product manager has a clear goal: Good product manager is determined to succeed. A good product manager defines success as achieving clear goals. Important goals must be written down. Good product manager writes important goals for your product and for your personal.
  • Good product managers understand the advantages of their products: Good product managers understand how their products are better and different from competitors. It is an important part of the product vision from the first day and will show in what the product manager does.
  • Poor product managers have ambiguous goals and unclear product advantages. Poor product manager with market orientation inconsistencies and changing the way of thinking about continuous advantages.

Focus on customers and sales team

  • Good product manager is loved by the sales team. A good product manager understands that if the sales team doesn't love their product, they will fail. So a good product manager works with the sales team to understand what problems they are having. Good product managers also understand customers well, about the situation and their real buying journey. Good product manager uses this knowledge to work with engineers, other customers, newspapers etc.
  • Poor product manager has no time for sales. He was so focused on the product that he did not pay attention to what actually happened when the product came to life.

Other necessary skills

  • Marketing and communication skills:
    • Product management needs to be understood and able to work proficiently with marketing skills even without becoming an expert in this area.
    • A key rule of good marketing is to clearly define a uniform product advantage in all documents needed.
  • Good time management and understanding what is important:
    • A good product manager focuses on 1) things that are very important to the success of the product 2) things that have a great impact on business results.
  • Good discipline:
    • Good product managers ensure their projects are up to date. Good product manager sends weekly reports regularly. Good product managers do not promise too and let engineers focus on product development. Good product managers do not use engineering manpower to sell and marketing if they can handle it.

An excellent product manager has the following additional skills

  • Work well and manage another group of product managers.
  • Work well with the board of directors
  • Take advantage of the power of the whole organization
  • The ability to concentrate efforts to handle urgent problems

translation from

author Ben Horowitz is considered one of the outstanding product and CEO directors of the era. He led Loud Cloud from the time of its founding in 1999, going through many difficulties and many times at the point of bankruptcy until it was sold to HP for $ 1.6 billion. Currently he is the co-founder and managing director of the brilliant venture capital fund AZ16. He is also the author of the book "The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers" that provides a lot of valuable lessons for new CEOs to start their career paths.

ITZone via cityme

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