Guest Post: Frustrated Product Managers unionize to better their working conditions


NOTE: The following is a guest post from April Bolond. If you feel inspired to write a guest post of your own, click here to find out how to submit it to us.

In what is probably a first for the product management profession, a small group of product managers in Budapest have joined and formed a labour union.

The group is formally known as the Union in Solidarity with Electricians and Radiologists local 2.0.

Zoltan Nagy, head of the fledgling group stated the following:

Although we are only a small group, we decided to band together to bring change to the terrible conditions in which we must work. I don’t know what it is like in other countries, but here, we are given lots of responsibility but no authority to get things done.

On top of that we have to spend all of our time ensuring the developers do what they need to do, and we have little time to do all the other things in our jobs, like meeting customers or learning about the market or defining product strategy. He who owns the compiler can no longer always be the winner.

A spokesperson for the local software engineering community, who asked that his name not be revealed, said the following about the product management union:

Who needs product managers anyway? We do all the heavy lifting and all they do is talk and think they can tell us what to do. Besides, we are now adopting Agile development, and we’re going to elect our own Product Owner to work with.  What are they going to do now, go on strike?

It looks like tensions will rise between these two groups as time goes on. But another member of the group, Laszlo Rubic, sees this in a much larger context:

Creating a union is a wonderful development for us. We thank the Electricians and Radiologists for welcoming us and understanding our struggle. My larger goal is to raise awareness of this situation and hopefully inspire other product managers around the world that they too should stand up for their work and their profession. It’s like the Prague Spring all over again, but only here in Budapest.

It seems this small group of product managers may have already started inspiring others. They have received congratulation messages from product managers in several countries, and surprisingly one request from California’s Silicon Valley on how to start a union there. Apparently product managers in that high-tech capital are not any better off.

April

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