7 Expert’s Tactics to Master the PM Role and Survive in Product Management

People can be hard and unpredictable. They have office politics, own opinions and expectations. When things are going wrong, do not think that your roadmap is the only reason. It’s how you’re dealing with people problems.

This topic was brilliantly described in the article on Prodpad blog. The author shares 7 tactics to master a product manager’s role. Here we outline the most interesting ideas from the post:

Use open questions

Ask open questions to get people talking with you. Show up with the best questions to draw out insights that your colleagues can offer you. Use prompts to get people to continue talking and elaborating, whether it’s at your quarterly roadmap meeting or you’re getting oriented at your new product manager job.

Remember that the most valuable product ideas come from within your business, but not if they’re being dismissed, ignored or belittled.

Let your roadmap tell a story

A bad product roadmap is a symptom of underlying issues in the company.

It’s a bad sign if you have a bunch of features that require you and your Scrum master on hand to translate.

Product managers have to be advanced storytellers and their roadmaps need to tell stories of how they’re going to reach their product vision. Stories have massive power to translate difficult concepts and to get people on your side. That’s why we craft user personas and specs.

Play the Product Tree game

It’s a cool game for bringing your team into strategic discussions.

You need a big wall. Put up a big blank tree outline. The trunk is what you currently have and will build from. The branches represent product areas or directions your product could grow in. The roots – the infrastructure that holds your whole product up.

Get your team to write down as many product ideas as they can on to sticky notes. Then have them work together to place the leaves on the tree.

Invest in psychological safety

It’s about making people feel comfortable speaking up, whether it’s to report errors or pitch in to help with the product.

It can be as simple as a couple tweaks to your language that help people feel like they can open up.

When things get tough, make a product box

The Product Box is a storytelling game. It’s a tool when you’re thinking about a new pivot or feature.

Call bullshit when you see it

Sometimes you have to hit them where it hurts to make your point.

Speak up when you’re told to cut corners. Call bullshit when you see it. It might be hard, but not as hard as the one you’ll have when you’re stuck with a product no one wants.

Use the old tactic: “Yes and…”

This is an improve exercise to keep a scene going, but also a really useful internal sales tactic.

Use it to agree with the person and their premise, and then add to it and rework it in a way that bridges the conversation back to your agenda.

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