How I try to Product Manage… (part 1)

I am usually brutally honest. I am the first to answer I don’t know when I don’t and when I think I know I tell it like I see it. I probably need to take my own advice here more often and getter better at the soft middle of knowing and not knowing. Hell – we all can get better at what we do right?

That being said the role of product management is like a craft one hones over time. I don’t think it is easily taught and I don’t think it is easily learned. It comes with time, experience and lots of mistakes. I excel in the lots of mistakes category so I guess in some sense I am still learning and trying to improve.

I try to listen to lots of podcasts, still haven’t found a good PM podcast, and I read a lot. Plus – I try lots of products. I use my own as well. Personally I am always baffled when you hear people give product advice and you find out they don’t use a lot of products apart from the main ones everyone uses. There is no right or wrong when it comes to product taste since it is a taste and I think taste improves with experience. So I like the school of hard knocks when it comes to acquiring taste – you have to have built some things and you have to have used a lot of things. Of course this is not relevant to the folks who have an idea and build their own stuff – I think that is a different form of PM. I wish I was talented enough to have the coding skills to build my own stuff but alas I don’t. Probably never will.

All that being said I am always looking for tools and techniques to get better at what I do.

Over time I keep settling on the same stuff:

– email
– dispatch
– evernote
– asana
– slack
– spreadsheets
– keynote

I use lots of little things for idea tracking or idea generation or I guess note taking, but still don’t have something I love:

– paper with the paper stylus
– vesper
– IA writer
– probably other things I can’t remember and also just a normal notebook

So I use the tools to manage the team and other tools to convey ideas to the people in the company. I guess then the rest of it is the things I use to manage myself, my ideas and my communication. Communication is so huge and this is why slack is just taking off like a rocketship. Communication is key. Really interested to see how slack will tackle email. Asana is partially tackling email but I will admit that a lot of my interaction with Asana is actually via normal email.

Looking for any comments or ideas on this stack of ideas or products.

I will follow this up with a post for how I manage the team so to speak. Or shall I say unmanage them…

2 thoughts on “How I try to Product Manage… (part 1)

  1. Pingback: Thinking more about the PM and self-managed teams | Key Performance Indicators

  2. Pingback: Messaging the direction | Michael Smith Jr. – Apprentice VC

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