My Product Management Mistakes

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    05-Apr-2017

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  • 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.

    A lot.

  • 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

    again, anyways?

    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

    better.

    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

    total control.

    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

    with solutions.

    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

    head first.

    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

    answers.

    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

    failures.

    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