• Bulking Up Product Manager Skills

    19 February 2012
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    stand-outProduct Managers require a number of skills to succeed, but many have gaps in such critical areas as business savvy, market expertise, operational know-how, or entrepreneurial ability.  As a result, the leaders of product management groups have to spend a great deal of their time coaching individual product managers on day-to-day tasks, frequently at the expense of other strategic priorities with longer-term implications.

    Many leaders of product management departments address the issue in one of two ways: either by trying to hire a product manager who brings the full set of needed skills to the job, or by re-assigning products around the strengths of their product managers. But both approaches carry their own sets of problems: first, it can be difficult and costly to find experienced product managers with all the skills and market expertise.  And second, moving people around doesn’t get rid of their weaknesses, it just masks them.
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  • Product Teams: Whose Job is it to Decide? Whose Job is it to Deliver?

    9 February 2011
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    Great product strategies and innovative product ideas can be powerful drivers of company growth, but only if their execution is solid. I’ve been hearing recently from product managers about their difficulties with execution.  Those difficulties have been aggravated by tight resources and soft marketplace demand.  But there is a low-cost approach to improving your results with your product teams.

    Some of the telltale signs of execution problems take the form of poor information flow and of people not being sure what they need to do.  For example, team leaders become indecisive; decisions take too long; when they’re made, they aren’t quickly translated into action; they’re second-guessed; executives are called in to resolve disputes; no one is sure who’s accountable for what; nobody knows who should be involved in making a decision; too many people are involved; information doesn’t get to the people who need it.  Or sometimes it’s the opposite – too many people are sent too much information; people go off-track with their efforts; conflicting messages get sent internally and externally, etc.

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