Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Top Hacks from a PM Behind Two of Tech's Hottest Products

This was an excellent article.  And Cover looks like a simple, but amazing, idea.  I'd worry I couldn't find things I was after if it was a seldom used app - my brain works positionally - but I think I'd get used to it and it would automate some of the things my brain already does by grouping depending on my context.  The article inspired me to go give some ad hoc feedback for a product manager who I feel embodies some of these behaviors.  Some great advice that applies not just to product managers, but to project managers and application development managers as well.

Some of my favorite parts from the article:

  • This means sharing your slides or your outline prior to the meeting so they’re informed and feel good about everything, even if it’s just over email.”  [if you've ever been on the end of product owners being surprised during a slide presentation, you'll understand exactly how important this advice is].
  • Do the boring stuff that makes a difference and moves things forward.
  • eliminate as many meetings as you can.
  • put together a story of what’s going on.
  • “To inspire a team, tell a good story. Then break it down into an execution plan.”
  • Be a shit umbrella, not a shit funnel
  • The great thing about designers and engineers working in proximity is that they can keep each other motivated and productive. Engineers are galvanized by the images and ideas the designers churn out, and the designers are re-inspired when they see their creations come to life.
  • You need a team task list that transcends a simple bug system. It should be big, ideally on a whiteboard that everyone can see and consult.
  • “At every company, there is a collection of people who are known for their excellent product sense — usually it’s a founder, a senior engineer, a director of product, depending on the size of the company,” he says. “But when you see a PM pushing for a certain product decision and holding her own in discussions with these people, you can assume she’s got admirable product chops.”

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