Unveiling the Worst Aspects of Product Management,

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) Are product managers expected to be positive all the time?

2) What, are the worst aspects of product management?

3) Moving from more or less senior positions to product

Top Learning Resources:

1. Double Vision: Choosing the right approach to capture the product vision

2. How to Build Better Internal Tools

3. What is Product Strategy and How to Create a Good One

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Top Discussions

Question 1Are product managers expected to be positive all the time?

Over the past year, I’ve noticed that my attitude has a significant impact on how stakeholders and coworkers interpret the facts.

Here, I would like to discuss the importance of a product manager’s mood in influencing stakeholders’ perception of data. I have noted that some stakeholders, particularly in the USA, view projects as extremely positive, allowing them to focus on market conditions. However, as a product manager, I receive firsthand information about the delays and team failures, making it difficult to always maintain a positive attitude.

I’d like to know whether a product manager should always be positive even when a project is going down and offers tips on how to achieve this?

– Karan Trivedi

Discussion

A] Without a doubt, you don’t need toxic positivity to be authentic. I typically discuss my worries with my coworkers on partner teams. They are in sync most of the time. Then we focus on framing the situation for the team so they won’t experience the same frustration. By openly sharing our concerns and seeking support from others, we create a safe and supportive work environment. This allows us to address challenges collectively and find effective solutions that benefit everyone involved. Ultimately, fostering genuine connections and open communication is key to maintaining authenticity in the workplace.

– Maria Wilson

B] Oh God! Toxic positivity. That’s the real word, then! I’ve had that happen at a corporation, and it’s annoying. It’s frustrating when people constantly project an overly positive attitude without acknowledging the real challenges or issues at hand. This toxic behavior can create a false sense of optimism and dismiss the genuine concerns or problems within a corporation, hindering progress and effective problem-solving.

– Risa Butler

C] Positivity is a result of experience and trust, and satisfaction comes from exceeding expectations. To build confidence, it is important to set realistic expectations with stakeholders based on the team’s capabilities. Confident individuals tend to project a positive attitude. In a high-functioning agile environment, surprises should be issues out of control. When unexpected issues occur, it is crucial to speak up clearly and often. This approach allows the team time to pivot and resolve issues. While some may criticize the lack of professionalism, others appreciate the authenticity and transparency of the individual. While they are often praised for their positive attitude, not every day is the same.

– Fergus Xavier

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Question 2) What, in your opinion, are the worst aspects of product management?

Which aspects of being a PM are the most painful?

If you had a magic wand which could help you vanish the worst part of your job, what would that be?

– Ana Rodriguez

Discussion

A] Some of the worst aspects of product management include dealing with conflicting priorities and demands from stakeholders, as well as the challenge of managing and prioritizing a constantly evolving roadmap. Additionally, product managers often face the pressure of delivering results within tight deadlines while navigating limited resources and budget constraints.

– Melissa James

B] In my opinion, some of the most painful aspects of being a product manager include the constant need to make difficult decisions and trade-offs, as well as the responsibility of owning the success or failure of a product. Another challenging aspect is managing cross-functional teams and ensuring effective communication and collaboration among different departments, which can sometimes lead to conflicts and delays in decision-making processes.

– Arnie Silverss

C] IMO, everyone who believes their arbitrary theories about one’s personal characteristics are equally valid as those supported by solid research. While it is important to respect individuals’ perspectives and opinions, it is crucial to differentiate between subjective beliefs and evidence-based knowledge. Scientific research follows rigorous methodologies and undergoes peer review to establish reliable conclusions. Relying solely on arbitrary theories may lead to misunderstandings and hinder our understanding of complex human characteristics.

However, it is important to note that theories supported by solid research are more likely to provide accurate insights into the role of a product manager. These theories are based on empirical evidence and have undergone rigorous testing, making them more reliable in understanding the qualities and skills required for success in this role.

– Corey Amorin

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Question 3) Moving from more or less senior positions to product

I’m considering a career in product and wonder about the feasibility of moving from senior roles to product roles. I’m considering a scenario where someone starts in a sales engineering or solutions consulting position and eventually moves to a senior sales engineer position. I’m also considering the possibility of a Director of SE transitioning to a Director of Product. I’m trying to calculate the opportunity costs of not entering a product manager position in the near future, as I may receive a sales engineer offer sooner than a product manager. I believe there are many factors at play in this situation.

I’d like your professional advice.

– Marie Hamilton

Discussion

A] A lot depends on the company’s size. Generally speaking, being a senior does not automatically qualify you to be a senior or even a director PM. Having said that, you can get transferred into any organization you desire if the founders’ CxOs like you.

Because the founder liked them and they did well in other areas, I was frequently surpassed by a vice president of “x” despite their lack of product experience. Irritates me to the core.

– Natasha Martin

B]In some roles, if you pivot, you start over. This means that changing your direction or focus in certain positions may require you to completely reset and begin anew. This can be challenging but also presents an opportunity for growth and exploration in different areas.

– Matthew Shun

C] I can notice a more regular lateral transition in certain relatively close-by fields. But if you come from a field like sales engineering, which isn’t quite adjacent, in my perspective, I’d view this as a career pivot and assume you’d start as a less experienced IC. You already have work experience and likely know how to conduct yourself professionally, so this isn’t entry-level, but otherwise this would be a fresh start. Transitioning from a field like sales engineering to a relatively close-by field may require some additional learning and skill development.

However, your previous work experience and professionalism will give you a strong foundation to build upon in this new career pivot. It’s important to approach this fresh start with an open mind and willingness to adapt to the specific demands of the new field.

– Bina Campos

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Top Learning Resources

The product vision plays a crucial part in achieving product success: It sets a shared direction and helps create strong alignment. Despite its importance, there are two competing views of what a product vision is and how it should be captured. In this article, the author discusses the different approaches and explains which one he recommends.

How to Build Better Internal Tools

The unsung heroes of the product world are the product managers and teams who work on internal tooling and non-customer facing parts of the product stack. Sure, internal tools aren’t necessarily the best thing to be working on, but plenty of product teams do. And for good reason.

What is Product Strategy and How to Create a Good One

A good product strategy is crucial for a company’s growth and success, as it leads to increased revenue, customer loyalty, and overall business improvement. It helps in making decisions on pricing models, product features, and marketing campaigns. Without a plan, customers may not show interest, resulting in less sales and wasted time. A good product strategy is essential for businesses of all sizes to thrive today.

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