As 2017 starts off with a bang we at the 280 Group thought you might need a little help setting your Product Manager resolutions.
We know you’ll keep these resolutions (at least for the rest of January maybe), and when you do you’ll watch your job effectiveness skyrocket.
With that said, here are our top five resolutions for every Product Manager for 2017.
1. Use data and examples to further establish yourself in your company as the voice of the customer and the most credible expert on the market and competition.
As a Product Manager you should be the defacto authority on both your product and its market. No one should know more about your customers and market than you. If your product is a USB drive, you better eat, sleep and breath USB drives (not literally, do not try this at home as it may be a choking hazard).
Remember that you are the representative for your customer so have an accurate idea of what it is they really want.
To truly be seen as credible, it’s important to have real numbers backing up your claims (even though 83 studies show that made up numbers can be just as useful as real statistics). The more often you use data, the more credible you will be.
2. Be terse in all communications – keep them short and effective – make your point and move on
Product Managers are always busy, it’s just a fact of life; so are the people they are communicating with.
For that reason, it is generally not advisable to engage in too much chit chat or use flowery, imaginative language like you’re writing a fantasy novel; just say what needs to be said.
In college, I (my parents, really) spent well over one hundred thousand dollars so I could learn about the 3 Cs of business writing: Concrete, Concise, and one more which I have since forgotten.
When you have a critical job to do, don’t be afraid to be frank and straight-forward in your communication and other people will probably appreciate it unless they’re a real jerk or a crybaby.
3. Build and deepen five key relationships that are critical to your success in your current job and to advancing your career in the future
Fostering relationships is crucial for Product Managers since they are working in a cross functional team with people of various backgrounds and they generally have no formal authority to boss anyone around.
Starting a new relationship and/or strengthening current relationships can seriously aide your current success and help you climb the corporate ladder. Often times it’s not just about how good you are, it’s about who you know.
Do favors for people. Take them to lunch. Buy your team donuts (this may not help their new years resolutions but it will help yours).
4. Get trained and get a great set of templates
Nobody is born knowing how to do a feature prioritization matrix or make a product and strategy roadmap.
Interestingly very, very few people are actually trained on how to be a Product Manager (less than 2% of those doing the job) and most of them are just thrown in the deep end and learn how to swim that way.
To continue with the swimming metaphor, that will probably work in the sense that you won’t drown; but you almost certainly will not be able to swim as effectively or efficiently as someone who has taken lessons.
The same idea is true in most walks of life and Product Management is no different. Going through specialized and excellent training such as the Optimal Product Management and Product Marketing or People Skills for Product Managers courses will allow you to be a far superior Product Manager.
Additionally, using a collection of best-practice templates like the Product Management Office will ensure that you can create better work, using less time and resources.
5. Have more fun and make work more fun for your team and peers. A wise man once wrote that if you didn’t do something fun for others at work today then your day was a failure.
This may seem to contradict with #2 a bit in that you might be wasting people’s time, but it doesn’t have to.
Just because you take your work seriously and get the job done does not mean you can’t also have a lot of fun.
Make jokes (when appropriate), get to know your coworkers better, share meals, organize fun activities for your team, generally try to have a positive attitude.
You spend a LOT of time at work and with your work team so you may as well try to have some fun with it. These years keep on passing and after all, life is meant to be lived and enjoyed.
That’s all folks – let us know in the comments below if you have other resolutions that you think Product Managers might benefit from.