So You think You can PM ?

Let me ring a bell :

Steve Jobs (Apple)
Bill Gates (Microsoft)
Jeff Bezos (Amazon)

Michael Dell (Dell)
Sundar Pichai (Google)
David Packard (HP)
Fred Smith (FedEx)

I hope the ding made you realise I just named people with job titles as CEO and you thought you would want to know some real PMs in this writing. Despite holding the job title of an executive head, these individuals actually defined what a 21st century PM needs to be. They saw opportunity in products before anyone else, they inspired people around them to believe in these products and rallied their employees to deliver them in a way that captured the imagination of an enormous number of people.

FACT 1 : Product Managers are problem owners inside the company, accelerating its progress beyond the defined targets.

If you look at the CVs of the aforementioned people, you will find one stark resemblance: None of these guys studied business to propel the kind of growth that they did. They intrinsically understood what pained people and what the market needed, coming up with products that were inspired by user empathy. They made their customer hallowed and not their business.

FACT 2 : Product Managers need not understand economics. They need to understand customers.

Let us continue our assessment of the greats. We are bound to notice their audacity to think differently and make the people working with them to believe in their distortion fields. They communicated their thoughts to their teams with utmost clarity and only then could get them to deliver something extra-ordinary. They took great pains in making everyone see the vision they saw for themselves. They had a roadmap and a strategic way of approaching the problems they solved.

FACT 3 : Product managers communicate their visions and plans with passion and ease. They make their team realise what they are after.

The PM job is very dynamic. All of the aforementioned people were the pivot for the different arms of their companies : Designers, Coders, Data Analysts, Marketing Teams. So should any PM be. The PM needs to conceptualise, design, forecast, test, cost, publish, support and end their product. Gold standard PMs do all this concurrently without any compromise. Their job becomes critical, as a minor miscalculation could end up wasting the time of the company’s resources. Monetary losses and second positions aren’t things that company’s or teams are a fan of.

FACT 4 : Product Managers make or break a product line. They are the focal point of all activities that have a relation with a product.

Product Managers are expected to move fast while keeping their guts under the carpet. They wear nothing on their sleeves but verifiable documents produced after shrewd market research and “why” documents. They can prioritise jobs and modules better than anyone in the company. They might have limited resources but can always workaround them to deliver on time and on point. All this while still upholding the expectations of all the stakeholders : Customers, Colleagues and Company.

FACT 5 : Product Managers have a bias for action. They can work around problems and deliver what they promise to 3 Cs : Customers, Colleagues and Company.

Written for Flipkart. Watch out this space for more PM related articles.


SST View All →

A graduate from BITS Pilani, class of 2019, I am currently working as a Product Manager at Flipkart. I like to write about things that get stuck in my head. By writing I make sure everyone knows what absurd thoughts I have :P Thanks for visiting.

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