Be a Product Manager, NOT a Product Janitor™
We’ve been consulting and training inside of companies worldwide for over fourteen years, and one thing we noticed is a trend. Since Product Management is often not well-defined or well understood (see the Product Management Manifesto and our white paper on Product Management versus Product Marketing for help communicating this in your company), oftentimes other groups will constantly “assign” or defer work to the Product Manager on the team. The result is that the product manager’s task list fills up rapidly with many tasks that really shouldn’t be their responsibility.
We call this phenomenon “becoming a product janitor.” Instead of working on the critical things that will make a big difference for your product and thinking strategically, the product manager ends up doing thankless low-level work that is not appreciated (and many times not necessary.)
To avoid this try applying some of the things from our book, 42 Rules of Product Management. And remember, the MOST important word that a product manager (and not a product janitor) uses is the word “NO!” For tips on saying NO effectively see our previous blog post.