As I complete nearly 2 years practicing the art of Product Management, I wanted to reflect back and see how my approach towards different aspects of PMing have changed over time.
1. Getting comfortable with uncertainty
When I was just starting out, I was under the pressure, that we must have all the answers. But in reality, no matter how much time you spend gathering information, there will always be a certain level of uncertainty, some “unknown unknowns” that you are never aware of.
Now I have accepted the fact that I dont know everything and I have not accounted for each and every factor in my approach. Now I see my work as experiments that may or may not work out. I have learnt to base the quality of a decision not on the outcome but on the approach.
2. All fights are not worth fighting
PMs just starting out, usually have a burning desire to prove themselves. They want to deliver stuff as fast as possible and they can go on a never ending race of fulfilling the request of each and every stakeholder. In the process, they unnecessarily burden themselves and their team with long backlogs.
After careful and sincere analysis, I realised that in any project there are just a handful of things that move the needle significantly. Influence your team to prioiritise these things first before you pick the pet project of some important stakeholder.
3. Little things add up
The way you conduct meetings, the clarity of your communication, your writing style, your attention to details etc are small things but they really add up over time and become a part of your identity.
For example, if you carefully craft your PRDs every single time to make them as clear and concise as possible, overtime you would be known for quality. People set their expectations based on historical evidence. Even our image of what we are is based on our own actions.
4. Credibility and confidence comes from shipping
Understanding the problem before solving is important but spending excessive amounts of time just researching is even more dangerous. Start small and make continuous iterations. Your team’s confidence and your confidence in yourself will be ultimately based on what you shipped. No one likes a person who is all talk and no show.
5. Making scalable solutions
One of the best pieces of feedback I ever got was to solve for global maxima instead of local maxima. When looking for solutions don’t just fixate on your own individual use case. Look for solutions that not only solves for your current use-case but also scales well when the use case becomes more complex.