A COL L E C T I O N OF M IS TA K E S I VE M A D E IN MY CA REER AS A
P RO DUCT M A NAGER
I V E M A D E A H U G E M I S T A K E
#PRODUCTTANKTO @UNBREL IEVABLE
But first, who am I?. Second, who was I?.
Ive felt like this in my job.
Dont be smug. Youve probably made, and will make, a lot of mistakes too.
Lets learn from mine.
01Think you know your users.
M I STAKE
You cant change behaviour of your users and
force them to do what you want. Spend time
with them, understand how they use your
product, and how they use other products.
Create a focus group of users to supplement
what you cant be, because who wants to be 14
I was 14 years old once, but that doesnt mean I know what 14 year olds want now.
02Listen to your users too much.
M I STAKE
Qualitative user research is great for understand
why someone uses your product and to get a
deeper understanding of their problems. It
should not be used for testing two options
against each other to see which performs
Just because your users say they like it, doesnt
mean it will succeed.
A/B test or release incrementally and measure.
Watch what they do, not what they say.
03 Use a/b testing to solve arguments.M I STAKE
A/B testing is powerful, but can be costly to
your organization. They arent meant to be a
tiebreaker or mediator of egos and opinions.
Only A/B test decisions that can impact
conversion, or key metrics of your business.
Also, never run an test variant that you dont
want to win.
Not everything is worthy of an a/b test.
04 Be too prescriptive with requirements.M I STAKE
Set the direction and outline business
requirements, but if your find yourself saying
clicking this button does this, you are
prescribing too much.
Give your team the freedom to determine the
how. Teach them your thought process, and
empower them to make decisions. Let go of
Let go of the 20 page requirements docs.
You dont have a team of robots. (Well, maybe).
05Use a process just because Google uses it.
M I STAKE
Not all problems are equal, and so we shouldnt
treat them as such when it comes to coming up
Ask yourself what is the bare minimum
validation I need?. Sometimes its a
conversation, a data point, a few hours of
research, or sometimes you need to dive in
DO WHAT WORKS.
Not everything needs a week long discovery .
06 Listen to blog posts.M I STAKE
Other companies should be a source of ideas
and inspiration, but you always need to test
and measure yourself.
When you do get positive results, document
them and share internally so others can learn
from your success.
Just because it worked for one company, doesnt mean it will work for you.
07 Roll your eyes at your sales team requests.M I STAKE
More importantly, your sales team is talking to
prospects and customers much more than you. They
hear what areas your competitors have you beat, and
why customers leave you.
The better the sales team understands your product,
the better they can sell.
Set up regular 1:1s with them, show them product
progress, and dont keep them in the dark.
And dont discount their feedback.
You wont have a paycheque without your sales team.
08 Think you have all the answers.M I STAKE
Say it out loud: I dont know.
You have a lot of smart people on your team, and
you are doing yourself, your team, and your users a
disservice by taking it all on and having all the
Hold regular brainstorms, involve other parts in the
business in coming up with solutions, and guide
ideation by outlining problems.
Ask questions. A lot.
Dont be a hero.
09 Think you have none of the answers.M I STAKE
Listen to your gut.
With access to all the data, blog posts, feature
requests, slack messages and emails coming at you
all day, you can get easily get hit with Analysis
Paralysis, where you are analyzing things so much
you get to the point in which you are paralyzed and
cant make a decision.
If it feels wrong, it probably is wrong.
10 Think you arent good enough.M I STAKE
Some days I feel like I have no idea what Im doing.
Product Management is generally a thankless job, so
we need to support one another and share wins and
Check your ego, accept and admit failure and it will
make you a better PM, and a better person.
The imposter syndrome is real.
Now, its your turn.
At your table, take 5 minutes to think
about some of the mistakes you have
made in your career.
Go around the table and share one
mistake, and what you learned from it.
Its time for product manager therapy.
T H A N K Y O U
@ UNB RE L IEVABLE