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Don’t Let Your Product Fail While You’re Recruiting for a Product Manager

Recruiting for a Full-time Product Manager or Product Marketer? Here’s why you should hire a Product Management contractor in the meantime.

We talk with companies all of the time that are hiring product managers or product marketers or are wondering whether they should hire a full-time employee versus bringing in a Product Management contractor.

Because product management and product marketing are so critical to product success it’s important that you and your company don’t make the common mistake of “Hoping” you will find the perfect candidate in record time.

As we like to say at the 280 Group, “Hope is NOT a strategy”.

Consider the following:

  1. It will take 6-8 weeks from the start of the process to getting someone on board (at a minimum). During this time all of the work that the person SHOULD be doing is not being done (or not being done well).

    Thus the product and/or marketing suffers and you may not make nearly as much profit as you would have.

  2. Once on board it will take about 4 weeks for the employee to get up to speed (unless you are hiring someone who is VERY senior and a product management/product marketing expert, in which case they can do it faster.)

    So with hiring time and this taken into account you won’t have anyone in the role for at least 3 months who understands the issues, knows what your customers want and has rapport with the team to be able to influence them.

  3. Meanwhile your engineers may be building something that the market has no interest in. Without guidance and requirements from a product manager plus input on the many decisions that are being made, this could be a huge waste of time and money.

    How much does it cost you for a 3-5 person engineering team working for three months on something that customers will never pay for?

  4. Additionally your company may be preparing to launch the new product. Without someone planning and executing the launch you are wasting a huge opportunity to build product momentum right from the beginning.

    Spending an immense amount of money developing the product and then not taking advantage of the momentum that a launch can give you is a serious mistake that we see happen all of the time.

  5. During the hiring process the hiring manager will have to cover for the yet-to-be-hired employee, do their own job, AND try to devote enough time to locate, interview and make an offer to the right candidate. This rarely happens.

    Instead the hiring process takes much longer because it has to be lower priority OR the company ends up hiring someone that is not nearly as good as what they would have found if they had spent the time focusing on hiring and excellent candidate.

Consider an alternative:

As an alternative there are numerous benefits to bringing in a very experienced contractor.

  • The work gets done, the product doesn’t suffer and the hiring manager can focus on making a quality hire. You can even have the contractor help to do the screening and recruiting.
  • When the new hire comes on board the contractor can get them up to speed quickly and shorten their onboarding process.
  • Because things won’t fall through the cracks, the new hire won’t be inundated with fire drills and a crisis situation – this will make their chances for success and for staying at the company MUCH higher.
  • You can ensure that the product will have the greatest chance of success and corresponding profits because nothing critical will have been forgotten or not addressed.

In summary, even though a Product Management contractor may cost you a bit in the short-term, the benefits and upside longer-term can easily outweigh this. After all, why spend the time and energy developing products if you aren’t going to do everything possible to make them succeed?

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