The first thing you need to know in order to be a great product manager is that you have to do. Doing things is not as trivial as it sounds. As a product manager, you are going to be measured based on deliverables – the products you manage. You start at the product planning at the very beginning of the development cycle – before the designer creates any design, before the developer writes the code and before the QA makes sure that it’s working properly. Think about this cycle and then add to it the most important factor – the end user who is supposed to be “delighted” and help us generate revenues.
So what do we do in order to..do? First we do our best to ensure that we expressed what we want the deliverable to be and left minimal room for interpretations. In order to achieve this, make a clear mockup that shows exactly what you want, design a flowchart to show exactly what journey the user will go through and write a clear, simple PRD that explains every detail.
We are not done yet, actually we are only in the beginning of the Do-Chain – after you have everything you need to be delivered and are confident in your vision, review it with the team and then fix it. Remember, one of the reasons to review it is to “buy-in” your team. Once everyone is on board it’s smooth sailing… not!
As a product manager you are responsible for the product’s success, not the product development or launch. Think about the “mini-CEO” analogy, the CEO needs to drive value to the companies shareholders, the PM needs to drive value through the product. That makes us responsible for everything, not just the PRD. The requirements as good as can be, are nothing without delivering a product that generates value. Thats why we need to make sure along the way that we are on route to success.
So, What do we do? Never blink, keep track of everything that is product related, make sure the developers have everything they need, think about the next versions, make sure the customers are “accepting” the product, think about the next features and prioritize the roadmap.
I once heard someone say that after the PRD is written the Product manager is left with nothing to do. The truth is that we never stop doing, we always have something to do, something to research, something to perfect. So keep on doing!