ten traits of good product managers

of 27 /27
Ten Traits of Good Product Managers Jeff Lash [email protected] How To Be A Good Product Manager – www.goodproductmanager.com Ask A Good Product Manager -- ask.goodproductmanager.com

Author: jeff-lash

Post on 06-May-2015




0 download

Embed Size (px)


Effective product management is more than just visiting customers and writing requirements. Good product managers posses certain traits that allow them to excel in their roles. While it may seem that some people are just born with these abilities, most have them in some degree and just need to learn how to express them effectively. This presentation covers ten important traits that good product managers possess and offer specific suggestions on how to emphasize your natural traits while addressing those that do not come as naturally. From Jeff Lash of www.goodproductmanager.com


  • 1.Ten Traits of Good Product Managers Jeff Lash [email_address] How To Be A Good Product Manager www.goodproductmanager.com Ask A Good Product Manager --ask.goodproductmanager.com

2. What is a trait? Why do we need a dictionary when we have wireless? : Uploaded to flickr by ElektraCute flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/119058236/ 3. What is a trait?

  • Often called soft skills
  • Something you have (and everyone has)
  • Not binary
  • Malleable, to some extent
  • Just enough is good; too much is bad
  • Good product managers have certain traits
  • Learn to exploit yours for fun and profit!

4. Why should we care about traits?

  • Traits make people who they are
  • Traits make peoplegood or bad atcertain things
  • Traits can put thegood in goodproduct manager

between the tangible and intangible:Uploaded to flickr by lilbear flickr.com/photos/lilbear/253860293/ 5. Learning about traits from the Wii 6. You need just enough of traits A little A lot Amount of trait Effectiveness Pointy- haired boss Superstar 7. Ten Traits

  • Passion
  • Empathy
  • Humility
  • Self-awareness
  • Tenacity
  • Decisiveness
  • Innovativeness
  • Confidence
  • Focus
  • Persuasiveness

8. Passion

  • Badproduct managers have indifference
  • Goodproduct managers have passion
  • You need passionto build great products
  • You need passionto inspire othersto build great products

Sparkly heart:Uploaded to flickr by *saxon* flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/119058236/ 9. Passionate about vacuums Source: www.innovation-creative.com/z4171_james_dyson.jpg 10. Does Passion Matter?

  • I think inspiring passion matters a lot Theres an art to creating a shared vision that people can adopt as their own, a vision that will motivate them even when youre not around to keep the fires hot. -- Bob Corrigan

www.productbeautiful.com/2008/04/02/does-passion-matter/ 11. Empathy

  • Badproduct managers have disdain
  • Goodproduct managershave empathy
  • Empathize with customersin orderfulfilltheir needs
  • Empathize with colleaguesto create effective andhigh-performing teams

thinkgeek.com/tshirts/itdepartment/595d/zoom/ 12. Source: www.spurgeon.org/~phil/posters.htm 13. Humility

  • Badproduct managers have arrogance
  • Goodproduct managers have humility
  • Credibility is the capital you trade with, start with humility. Humility and honesty gain respect, as does asking for help and being reciprocal about sharing thanks for getting it.
    • Source: Surviving Product Management by Louis Columbus pragmaticmarketing.com/publications/magazine/4/2/survivingPM

14. Self-awareness

  • Badproduct managers have ignorance of their strengths and weaknesses
  • Goodproduct managers have self-awareness
  • Self-awareness is being conscious of what youre good at while acknowledging what you still have yet to learn. This includes admitting when you dont have the answer and owning up to mistakes.
    • Source: Self Awareness and the Effective Leader by Chris Musselwhite www.inc.com/resources/leadership/articles/20071001/musselwhite.html

15. Humility vs. self-awareness

  • You can have humility and not self-awareness
    • You give credit to others for a successful project
    • yet you do not acknowledge that your incompetence nearly caused the project to fail
  • You can have self-awareness and not humility
    • You acknowledge that your incompetence nearly caused the project to fail
    • yet you do not give credit to others for saving it and making it a success

16. Tenacity

  • Badproduct managers have low tolerances for overcoming challenges
  • Goodproduct managers havetenacity
  • have a wellspring of spiritualenergy to call on to surmountany obstacle. --Stewart Butterfield (flickr)
    • Source: The Unexpurgated Stewart Butterfield by Chris Musselwhite nextnet.typepad.com/the_next_net/2006/12/the-unexpurgate.html

Words to live by:Uploaded to flickr by Erik Charlton flickr.com/photos/erikcharlton/2039569768/ 17. Decisiveness

  • Badproduct managers have difficulty making decisions
  • Goodproduct managers have decisiveness

Cold stone:Uploaded to flickr by tyger_lyllie flickr.com/photos/tyger_lyllie/202389797/ 18. Decisiveness + decision-making

  • The best, most succinct definition I ever heard as to what my job as a product manager entailed was: Your job is to make decisions.
    • Source: The Exceptional Product Manager: What is the Right Stuff? By Mark J. Tiedmanpragmaticmarketing.com/publications/magazine/3/2/0503mjt
  • The choice to not make a decision to do more research, run the numbers again, talk with more customers is actually a decision!
    • Source: T he importance of decision-making By Jeff Lash www.goodproductmanager.com/2006/12/21/the-importance-of-decision-making/

19. Innovativeness

  • Badproduct managers have limited success approaching problems in new ways
  • Goodproduct managers have innovativeness
  • Product managementis inherently aninnovation activity

Post Office Innovation:Uploaded to flickr by Kris Cohen flickr.com/photos/kcohen/509497624/ 20. Confidence

  • Badproduct managers have doubt and fear
  • Goodproduct managers have confidence
  • Confidence in
    • Ideas
    • Abilities
    • Effectiveness
    • Decisions
    • Themselves

buff canoer:Uploaded to flickr by mahalie flickr.com/photos/mahalie/189147420/ 21. Homer Simpson, Product Manager?

  • The Homer
  • For only $82,000
    • A bubble dome for thedriver, and another forpassengers.
    • An extremely largebeverage holder
    • Car horns that play La Cucaracha
    • Shag carpeting
    • Chrome air scoop and spoiler
    • Tail fins
    • Straps and muzzles for small children

Thanks to Tom Grant for the reminder about this episode: blogs.forrester.com/product_management/2008/03/homer-simpson-p.html 22. Focus

  • Badproduct managers have too many agendas to be effective
  • Goodproduct managershave focus
  • It is better to do one thingwell than to do a lot ofthings poorly

irony ; Uploaded to flickr by mrpattersonsirflickr.com/photos/mrpattersonsir/30325860/ 23. Persuasiveness

  • Badproduct managers have an inability to influence others
  • Goodproduct managers have persuasiveness
  • If you can not persuade, everything else is irrelevant

3D Team Leadership Arrow Concept:Uploaded to flickr by lumaxart flickr.com/photos/lumaxart/2137729430/ More atthegoldguys.blogspot.com/ 24. Using traits to your advantage

  • What traits do you not have enough of?
  • What traits do you have too much of?
  • Improving your effectiveness comes from awareness and understanding of your traits
  • When hiring, seek to understand traits of prospective product managers
    • Ask questions which will provide examples of how traits are (or are not) used on the job

25. What was not included here

  • Industry experience
  • Technical skills
  • Ability to write MRDs/PRDs
  • MBA
  • Knowledge of Agile
  • Etc
  • Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill
    • fastcompany.com/magazine/04/hiring.html

26. Other resources on the topic

  • Seven Traits of Successful Product Managers
    • michael.hightechproductmanagement.com/2006/12/seven_traits_of_successful_pro.html
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Product Managers
    • community.featureplan.com/community/2007/03/past_webinar_the_7_habits_of_h.php
  • How to be a Great Product Manager
    • onproductmanagement.wordpress.com/2007/08/14/how-to-be-a-great-product-manager-boxed-set-with-bonus-features/

27. Thanks for listening! Questions / comments / feedback encouraged [email_address] Visit me at www.goodproductmanager.com