The Good of Product Management


Way back in February, I ask you to fill out a survey indicating the good, bad and ugly about your jobs. Well, a lot of you did just that, and I thank you for that.

Unfortunately, it’s taken me about 2 months to get around to analyzing the results and reporting them back to you.

Note to self — when you ask people to fill out a survey, don’t be surprised when a lot of people do, and your survey design means it will be quite time consuming to analyze the results.

OK. Now that I have that over with, I’ll get back to business. Here’s what I did with the responses.

There were 3 main questions asking what you liked, disliked and would change in your jobs. For each question, there was room for up to 3 responses.

Given they were free form answers,  I looked at each and tried to classify them in some logical category to identify patterns.

The first key question was:

What are the top 3 things you *like best* about your role? (The Good)
NOTE: Please list things that you actually do in your job or are enabled to do.

And here are the results. For each category, I’ve listed some of the actual responses from the respondents to give you a flavour of what people said.

Responsibilities

Not surprisingly, this was the most common category for responses. People in these jobs like it for the work they do.

  • Managing work that has a beginning, middle, and end with opportunities to sell excitement, problem solve, then celebrate success.
  • It’s a good balance of being social with being analytical
  • Working across all internal groups to educate and take a product to market
  • integrate viewpoints/biases of functional contributors
  • Building multidisciplinary teams without official authority
  • Bringing together and involving myself in every part of the company with the aim of getting everyone on board

Product

The next most common category was related to products and product development.

  • Building new products/solutions from the ground up
  • Work with the development team to assure the vision is turned into a viable product
  • Writing requirements for new features
  • Creating a product that solves customer problems
  • Releasing new product and seeing how it impacts our customers, users, partners.

Strategy

This category was quite common with many people indicating or implying they like the strategic nature of their work.

  • Ability to impact and participate in the corporate strategy
  • Creating vision
  • Guiding the direction of the product
  • Learning the business and strategizing for future
  • Big picture of the product
  • Seeing how it all fits together

Customers

Again, not surprisingly, a lot of responses related to customers

  • Really understand and translate customer needs
  • Customer visits
  • Lots of interaction with our customers
  • Interacting with clients and potential customers
  • Bonding with customers

Cross-team communication

  • Being communication channel between customers/sales and tech dev team
  • Variety of being the linchpin between all functions
  • Interacting with a variety of people internally & externally
  • Getting sales and customers excited about our stuff

Impact and Influence

  • Making things happen
  • My analysis and opinions are respected by senior executives
  • Being known throughout the company as an expert on the aspects of our product I am responsible
  • Can make an impact to the company

Market

  • Identifying market needs/problems
  • Researching unmet market needs
  • Create solutions to meet market/client needs
  • The market and technology are interesting and ever-changing

Creativity and Problem Solving

  • Solving conceptual challenges
  • Creativity required for marketing efforts
  • The opportunity to be creative and innovative
  • The Aha moments when I bring clarity to complex issues
  • Solving technical challenges

Other comments

Some of the other comments that did not fit into common categories include:

  • Crisis management – [NOTE: Someone likes this?]
  • Seriously work on business model & pricing forecasts
  • Getting into the details of use cases
  • Working with UX team on website design
  • Data mining to understand business patterns
  • Responsible for keeping current on web technology
  • Pricing
  • Learning something new on how NOT to do something, every day
  • Mentoring my reports
  • Constantly learning more about the web and analytics
  • Competitive analysis

So there you have it. A summary of what people like about Product Management. Nothing too surprising here. At least I hope not.

It will get more interesting in the near future, when I report on what people DON’T like and what they want to CHANGE in their roles.

As usual, if you have any comments or thoughts on the topic, please leave a comment.

Saeed

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3 responses to “The Good of Product Management

  1. Would be interesting to see what people don’t like about their jobs…

  2. Pingback: The Bad of Product Management « On Product Management