PM Learnings: So here we are

I've been a product manager for over a year now. I'd like to think I've learned a lot along the way. I want to document that journey to date and into the future.

Issue 2

So, here we are...

I started at Shopify in a design role. We didn't have a product team. No product managers to speak of. As the company grew, the need for a product team also grew. When the role was described to me — someone who takes in research and helps prioritize and design product features — it sounded like a great extension of what I was already doing as a designer. Turns out, I had a lot to learn.

A Product Manager's Job is one summary of what it's like to be a product manager. I've taken the first point very much to heart and I've shifted the way I operate. Before, I was more of a "to-do maker" and a "decision maker". Problem was that the moment I wasn't around, I felt like progress would easily get derailed.

Now, I try to help my team prioritize work and provide them with anything they need to get their job done. Specifications, reviews, coordination, notes and whatever else helps them accomplish the objective. 

Kenton Kivetsu covers the 3 skillsets for PM success. The first of which is getting stuff done, which includes prioritization. Coming up with priorities seems easy enough. The hard part has been having to say no to other people who want to throw things onto the top of the deck. Communicating why things are prioritized the way they are becomes a very important skill.

Deciding on what will have the biggest impact can be difficult. I mentioned The Innovator's Solution and The Discipline of Market Leaders in the last issue. I left off Red Thread Thinking. It's, admittedly, probably my least favourite of the three. Some interesting stories but very little seemed to really create a compelling strategy that I could apply to my work. 

Published March 31, 2014 · Updated April 23, 2014
Categorized as Product Management
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