Is your Product going in the right direction?

Product Direction

Product Management is the subtle art of aligning customer needs, business needs and available technology seamlessly, ensuring every stakeholder goes away happy. In simpler terms, it’s easier to lift Thor’s hammer than to be a Product Manager.

Development teams don’t want to listen to what the customers want because their feature is surely going to blow minds. The Marketing and Sales team have their own ideas which they want to see implemented. The Executive team is wondering if your ideas are in line with the company’s vision. Apart from all this live action, you have to ensure that other stakeholders like legal and finance are up to date on the latest developments in your strategy. You can’t let compliances become a roadblock in your product launch!

As you can see, it’s not going to be too difficult for things to go haywire. What are the things that a Product Manager should do to reign things back in control before it’s too late?

1. Communicate
Make sure that you are not a funnel when it comes to communication between your stakeholders, unless you have to be one. You want to be the leader, but you don’t want to be autocratic about it. The easiest way to get the respect of your peers is to show your trust in them.

2. Same Page
It is your responsibility to make sure that decisions are communicated to all stakeholders. This means you also need to tell the reasons that went behind that decision. This will give people an idea of the bigger picture, reducing tensions and ambiguities in the long run. Don’t forget to back it up with relevant data.

3. Common Metrics
Since your stakeholders don’t have the same goals, you need to find a common ground to keep your train chugging in the right direction. Keep it simple and minimalistic. For instance, writing down the feasibility, desirability and profitability will help you and your team discover what to keep and what features to discard or put away for some other time.

4. Make it a Story
When stakeholders aren’t reporting to you directly, you need influence to get what you want. As a Product Manager you often have to make presentations. If you can weave a story around these, it’s a great way to build executive presence and influence others.

5. Prioritize Ruthlessly
At the end of the day, you have to think like the Product Owner and prioritize ruthlessly. When you keep the above factors in mind, you will have a framework that will help you prioritize.

These are not the only things that you can do, but they are a good way to hit the ground running.

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