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JoshProduct Management

Product Management – It’s All About the Execution

By Josh Duncan

doneI recently was asked, what are the most important skills for a product manager?

I answered that there are range of skills that a PM is required to use from the standard technical and business side and to the important soft skills like communication and persuasion. I have been thinking  more about the answer and think you can call execution the most important skill when it comes to Product Management.

Getting product out the door is one of the many metrics a product organization tracks and the product management team plays an essential leadership role here (see point #5 on Hiring a great product leader). In order to make this happen, a product manager has many responsibilities and tasks that need to be addressed. However, execution is not just about getting things done. Product managers usually have an endless list of action items that they need to address.

A few of the factors that product management must balance when prioritizing this list:

  • What are the company goals for this year?
  • What about next?
  • What are the development capabilities and backlog?
  • Where does sales need help?
  • Where is the services team experiencing the most pain?
  • What is the customer feedback saying?
  • What is the customer data saying?
  • Where is the competition at and where are they heading?
  • Are there market dynamics that need be taken into account?

Execution is about understanding what needs to be done and how to get it done given the current set of constraints. It’s about figuring out what is important, what’s not, and then making sure it all happens.

An effective product manager must be able to see all parts of the equation while prioritizing everything that needs to be done. It may be a meeting with marketing to align on outgoing messaging. It may be working with sales to finalize pricing changes. It may be design sessions with the development and UX team on the next big feature release. The key being that not everything that is important is most important right now. 

Execution is about getting the right things done at the right time resulting in the right product shipping on time. 

What do you think?

Josh

Tweet this: Product Management – It’s all about the execution http://wp.me/pXBON-40W #prodmgmt

0 comments
  1. Cas schalkx

    You’re spot on Josh. I lately had this discussion on the real added value of product management, and we also concluded execution. No other specialist has a main focus on delivery and results. The PM takes at all into consideration and works towards shipping. Otherwise we would be building cloud castles (devs) of endlessly tweaking knobs (ux).

  2. Josh

    BTW – Steven Sinofsky, of Andreessen Horowitz and Microsoft, published a great article on the topic today. My favorite quote from his article,

    “Context is everything in decision making as a PM. The skills and experience of the team matter. The realities of where the business is at a given time or the ability to execute on a proposal are all factors that weigh heavily. Hindsight is 20/20 or better in the world of PM, and we all know there are many standing by to offer perspective, advice, or even criticism of the choices a product makes.

    If you don’t make those choices in a timely manner then there won’t be much to talk about. Sometimes the most difficult thing to do is keep moving forward. That’s why some of the most valuable advice I’ve received relates to the very challenges of making tough product calls.”

    Here’s the full link –

    http://a16z.com/2014/04/16/shipping-is-a-feature-some-guiding-principals-for-people-that-build-things/

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