Can’t we all just get along?

Having just finished a post recently defending Microsoft PM Scott Buchanan from the overwhelming force of the Cranky PM’s vituperative volley, I came across another scathing salvo from Tom Grant at Forrester.

I have to give Tom credit for two things though:

  1. He does clarify that the role of Product Manager at Microsoft is more like a Marketing Manager with outbound focus.
  2. The title of his post “Crankiness vs. Perkiness–FIGHT!” is one of the better titles I’ve seen in a while on a PM blog

But, Tom does get on Scott’s case for not being technical, pumping his fist when reading email, and having a Zune. You can read Scott’s original Business Week profile here.

In the Business Week article, written by Scott himself, he writes:

On my first day at Microsoft it took me 30 minutes just to find the latch to open my laptop…

Her Crankiness also fixated on this point, using it as evidence that Scott was somehow unfit for any job that had either of the words “Product” or “Manager”, let alone both, in the job title. Chill out a bit folks. That line is obviously a bit of self-deprecating humour.

Tom is critical of Scott’s youth stating:

He’s a bit too young and naive to blame him for doing anything but what his new employer asks him to do.

Tom also focuses on Scott’s line that his job is about “unlocking value” in Microsoft Office. Tom writes:

Use Scott’s own description of his job, “unlocking value,” you need a deep understanding of both the tool and the problem to help people understand how to use one to fix the other. If Scott lacks the technical skill to understand the tool, and he’s not devoting a lot of time to understanding the use case, then how exactly is he going to help people “unlock value?”

Give the guy a break. It’s a bit of a leap to jump from a self-deprecating line about technical aptitude, to the conclusion that he lacks the skills to understand Microsoft Office. This is Microsoft Office, not SQLServer or IIS that we’re talking about here.

I have nothing against Tom or Cranky, or Scott for that matter, but I’m really surprised at how quickly the PM community openly attacked Scott. Is that how we should be treating each other? Is that going to better our profession?

Sorry for being on a high horse, but let’s work towards a common good vs. tearing each other down.



2 responses to “Can’t we all just get along?

  1. Well, to be fair, Cranky Product Manager’s name is…Cranky. Maybe Scott was trying to be funny or self deprecating, but it just didn’t work. Between talking about how non-technical he is, to jumping to phrases like “unlock the value”…it just didn’t work. And the fact that he really is not a product manager in the traditional sense didn’t help. It’s strange that he was chosen to be published since his job, by many people’s statement, is not at all what a product manager’s role is anywhere else.

    But if anyone who sat near me did “random fist pumps” while reading their email, I’d want to smack them. Preferably with their Zune. Hey, this guy decided to write about himself and submit it, so…

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