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Product Managers
Product Management blog
Product Manager's Handbook slide deck (175-slide pdf)
Product Manager Imperatives, May 2015 (PDF)
Aptitudes of an Energized Product Manager (Slide presentation of major aptitudes)
Product Manager Aptitude Quiz (PDF download)
Survival Tips for Product Managers (PDF)
A turning point in your career
Upstream product management
4 Common Mistakes of Product Managers
3 C Framework
Product lifecycle management
Don't sell to prospects - help them make buying decisons
Product Scorecard (PDF)
4 Common Mistakes of Product Managers

© Linda Gorchels (2008)

Product managers typically have job descriptions listing duties and responsibilities, such as competitive analysis and new product development. But sometimes it is easier to understand a position by focusing on mistakes to avoid rather than simply tasks to complete. Here’s a partial list.

1. Having a view that is too product-centric

It may seem counterintuitive to say that product managers sometimes make the mistake of focusing too much on their products, but it’s true. An overemphasis on products can divert attention from the customers. Many product managers (particularly in business-to-business and service-sector firms) are hired for their technical expertise with a specific product or service – and subsequently focus on the next “killer app” even if customers want something else!

2. Responding solely to customer requests

Having just warned against becoming too product-centric, it may seem contradictory to call responding to customer requests a mistake. Yet it can be. While responding to current customer needs is important, it’s just as important to ask yourself, “how will customers of tomorrow be different from customers of today – and what does that imply for my product line?” Many companies have missed significant trends by looking inside rather than outside the firm.

3. Being a fire fighter

Product managers overlook these customer trends when they are too busy putting out fires. Over time, fire fighting becomes the norm, preventing product managers from devoting any serious time to strategy. While there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach, product managers must structure their time to allow for long-term planning.

4. Viewing the position as a “specialist” position

To move beyond the specialist “fire fighter” image, product managers must work to create products and services that deliver superior customer satisfaction while simultaneously providing long-term value for the company. To accomplish this, a product manager needs a broad knowledge of virtually all aspects of a company, functioning as a generalist who can accomplish work through other people and functional departments.

 




© Linda Gorchels 2011-2017
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