The Product Newsletter #52

Welcome to our Product Newsletter, a biweekly email highlighting top discussions, and learning resources for product managers.

What We Will Cover In This Edition:-

Top Discussions: 

1) PMs meeting revenue goals

2) Do PMs who put in a lot of effort experience low recognition?

3) As AI transform show tech companies function, will PMs still maintain their importance?

Top Learning Resources:

1. Product Risk Taxonomies

2. Intercom on Product: How ChatGPT changed everything

3. 2 Metrics for Product Managers to Track

__________________________

Top Discussions

Question 1PMs meeting revenue goals

Has anyone here been accountable for their products’ success in meeting revenue goals? If so, how did you do it?

What strategies did you employ? Were you able to move the company away from revenue targets eventually?

I would love to hear about your experience and the impact it had on the company’s overall success.

Did you manage to successfully move the company away from its outdated business model?

Thanks in advance.

– Jane Winfred

__________________________

Discussion

A] I firmly believe that accountability is crucial for achieving success in meeting revenue goals. In my previous role as a product manager, I implemented various strategies to ensure accountability. Firstly, I established clear revenue targets and communicated them to the entire team, creating a sense of ownership. Secondly, I closely monitored the progress and held regular performance reviews to track individual and team contributions towards revenue goals. These strategies not only helped us meet our targets but also fostered a culture of accountability and collaboration within the company. As a result, we were able to successfully pivot away from our outdated business model and achieve remarkable growth, significantly impacting the company’s overall success.

– Lawrence Martin

B] Why would you abandon your revenue targets? It’s what you live or die on. If you put X into something, you better get Y in return; otherwise, things could get really bad. What we choose to build should be held responsible for making a wise investment. Additionally, this assumes that you have a say in what you build.
In PLG, revenue goals for products are very common; you are in charge of making money off of your self-serve customers.
There is a ton of information online about PLG and product monetization if you’re looking for strategies.

– Luis Neilson

C] Yes, I have personal experience holding accountability for a product’s success in meeting revenue goals. In my previous role as a product manager, I implemented a strategy focused on market research and customer feedback to identify the target audience and their needs. By aligning our product roadmap with these insights, we were able to develop solutions that resonated with customers, leading to increased adoption and revenue.

Additionally, we implemented data-driven tracking mechanisms to monitor the progress of revenue goals against key performance indicators. This allowed us to make data-informed decisions and adjust our strategies accordingly.

– Herbert Warnick

__________________________

Question 2) Do PMs who put in a lot of effort also experience low recognition?

Hello all,
For the past four years, I am employed as a PM. I started working for my current employer, about 1.5 years ago.

My job title is a Product Manager, and I lead a team of five people with a structure like, One team leader, for e.g., lets call him A, and one second to the team lead, lets call him B, 2 supervisors and 1 assistant manager.

A and B have been employees of the company for the longest period of time—roughly four years—and get along well with all CXOs and the department head. They are also fairly knowledgeable and smart.

Please tell me if I’m being petty or if A and B really are being rude and a little snobby in these situations. The team suffers from significant information asymmetry; all information from senior management only reaches A and B, and the rest of us only receive secondhand information. They will jump in at any time if we juniors are trying to lead a project and say things like, “It’s better if I set context because I know the architecture.”

I know this sounds like a rant, but my coworkers and I feel like we’ve been cornered and bullied in some way. There is unmistakable bias, favoritism, and patronizing.

I manage a lot of things and work very hard, but I don’t get the credit I deserve. Has anybody experienced something similar? Should I be more assertive, or will it be in vain?

– Maria Wilson

__________________________

Discussion

A] It’s challenging to say because I don’t believe we have the whole picture.
I can see two extremes, and I’m curious where you think you fall between them.
Remember that you might not be seeing things as accurately as you think you are (although all perspectives are somewhat inaccurate).
I can imagine a situation where you work with some idiot loudmouths who dominate meetings but don’t contribute anything. They take the initiative, but they do so in a way that compromises the way projects should be managed. They then claim all the credit once you have painstakingly guided the team to success despite them slowing down the process.
Another scenario that comes to mind is where more senior colleagues are responsible for the results of multiple teams and help create the environment that will enable your teams to succeed, but you feel like it detracts from you and you are unnecessarily critical of how they go about doing things, despite the fact that they are just going about their jobs.
The questions that result from these two extremes may be helpful even though it is obviously neither of them.
How does your boss perceive their function? Are they going too far, or is this how your team should interact with them?
Is this about them causing unfavorable outcomes, or is it about you not having the chance to cause things? You should talk to your manager about how you might step up if they are doing something that, in your opinion, would be beneficial for your development.
This presupposes it’s not a part of your job description and you might have to prove yourself in order to get the chance.
Is this a case of the business ignoring you? Do you excel in your work? Do you really understand their contributions to the business well enough to say that they are not justified?
It stinks to see idiots with silver tongues receive so much praise. However, I’ve also come across individuals who are merely envious and unaware of what others do, believing that their efforts deserve more praise.
If the first scenario applies, you may want to leave. If it’s the second, you might need to gain a better understanding of their world.
Nothing is being said by me. You alone can respond to these queries, not me.
What do you think?

– Kane Morgan

B] Unspoken rules of Product Management apply: When things go well, credit is shared by the whole team, but rarely given to the Product Manager; however, when things go wrong, responsibility is quickly placed at the PMs doorstep. Even though success is a team effort, the Product Manager is frequently held responsible for failure.

– Dianne Stinger

C] Agree.

I think the important thing is:

  • At lower levels, advancement is based on your ability to show leadership.
  • If you show good leadership and the organization reacts negatively, that is evidence that you should start looking for another job.

– Marco Silva

__________________________

Question 3) As AI transforms how tech companies function, will PMs still maintain their importance?

It’s reasonable to say that AI will fundamentally change how product teams work.

Here are a few forecasts:
Developers will soon switch from writing code to editing it. But eventually, high-level supervision will be all that AI needs to produce high-quality features that are scalable and effectively use resources.

AI tools will enable designers to create designs with very basic written or visual descriptions. This will make it much simpler to quickly sketch ideas while they are in the moment and have them ready for construction.

Challenges like product strategy, coordinating stakeholders, and creating experiences that address actual issues will still exist.

But I can already see a very different world emerging.

What do you envision that future to look like, and how can we continue to be relevant?

My opinion is that we need to have as many different skills as we can. The more hats we can wear, the better chance we have of staying relevant.

I believe that in addition to the skills listed above, our core competency set should also include data analytics (the capacity to use data to answer questions and obtain those answers using SQL queries), user research (the capacity to speak with users and compile compelling insights), design skills (the capacity to produce high fidelity mocks that adhere to sound design principles that customers love), and engineering skills (at least an understanding of how tech works but implementation experience is better).

I’m not capable of doing any of these things. The first two are mine. To diversify my skill set, however, I’ll be using ChatGPT and other LLMs to see what else I can learn.

What do people in here believe?

– Dhiraj Mehta

__________________________

Discussion

A] Though ChatGPT is decades away from accomplishing the goals you mention, I personally am excited for it.

Many companies today still use outdated, complicated processes, tech stacks, and systems because doing so would be very expensive.

And a “AI” will never be able to do that well when those systems do need to migrate to new platforms or code bases. Additionally, I don’t believe what we are currently witnessing can properly be referred to as “AI” because it is something entirely different.

As a result, the Product Manager’s duties include prioritizing, making changes, communicating, etc. with stakeholders.

Many such internal and external stakeholders will be striving for priority #1 and making their cases to many PMs. In my opinion, an AI will never be able to resolve this.

– Nathan Endicott

B] Interesting observation regarding the old systems. However, it varies by industry. Imagine that a business could abandon SAP and replace it with a disruptive startup that costs a fraction of what SAP does and was created by artificial intelligence (I don’t think this will happen any time soon, by the way). Because they don’t switch, their costs are higher than those of their competitors, which weakens the company. What difference does that make to a company with a fleet of ships or trucks, though? Or what about land, business property, or mining stakes? Even though all of their IT costs are significantly lower, they still own that stuff, so a competitor cannot simply take it.

I do believe that software companies are at a higher risk. Customers suddenly start switching to a new competitor who is able to offer a similar product for half the price or less despite the company having an established product and hundreds of employees. Because they use AI and only have 5 employees, they can offer the lower price. However, I believe it has a low likelihood of occurring and a significant impact. For all well-known software companies, it would be a protracted, lengthy black swan event.

– Dan Coelho

C] I think this would technically be a grey rhino, because everyone sees it coming. However, I believe you are correct in terms of scaling. I believe AI will enable companies to accomplish much more with less. You’ll begin to notice much smaller companies with enormous valuations.

– Matthew Shun

__________________________

Top Learning Resources

– By Marty Cagan
One of the questions I get quite frequently has to do with the different risk taxonomies for product teams that are out there, and if I have strong opinions of one over another?
My immediate response to people is that I am very happy if they are using any of the popular risk taxonomies. The truth is, most are not, especially in feature teams. And there’s a straight line between not using one of the risk taxonomies, and failed product efforts. Especially failed MVP’s.

How ChatGPT changed everything

– Intercom on Product
Maybe you’re really into deep neural networks and natural language processing, maybe you’re just a tech enthusiast – chances are you may have already stumbled across ChatGPT, OpenAI’s brand-new chatbot. The hype is rising, but the question remains: is it really a game-changer, or is it too soon to tell?
In a recent episode, our Director of Machine Learning, Fergal Reid, shed some light on the latest breakthroughs in neural network technology. We chatted about DALL-E, GPT-3, and if the hype surrounding AI is just that or if there was something to it. He told us things were starting to scale. And just like that, we’re at it again.

12 Metrics for Product Managers to Track

A product management parallel for ‘To be or Not to be’ is ‘To track or Not to track’. With sophisticated software tools making it possible to track almost everything that happens in & outside of your product, it is crucial for product managers to find metrics that are critical to them. Sooner than later product managers do realize that ‘less is more’. There is a difference between product owners and product managers as far as tracking metrics is concerned. By tracking only critical metrics, product managers can increase the chances of moving the needle for them. Rather than just looking at a myriad metrics in an eye candy dashboard.

__________________________

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please consider sharing it with a friend by asking them to sign up here.

Who’s Prowess? We are optimist product managers, engineers, and educators working on creating a world where merit meets opportunity. On Prowess, aspiring and experienced product managers showcase skills, learn from the community, and connect with employers to advance their careers.

How can you grow with Prowess?

    1. Learn from curated learning resources and community
    2. Work on curated projects or join expert-guided group projects
    3. Receive personalized feedback from product leaders
    4. Build a portfolio to stand out as a product manager
    5. Access and apply to curated jobs
    6. Prepare for interviews with Q&A from top companies

Sign up to weekly updates from Prowess

Latest Posts