One of the consistent must-reads that has remained in my RSS feed over the years is Seth Godin’s blog. Seth consistently puts out a stream of incredibly wise thoughts. I have found that some of his posts resonate with me even more when I re-read them at a later point in my life/career. Here are some of my favourite Seth Godin posts, as they relate to the role of Product Manager.
Please, go away – Being out-of-touch with customers hurts every part of an organization, but especially the product team. Sometimes it requires a conscious effort to correct for this. You may receive surprisingly strong push-back from some people on your efforts.
Project management for work that matters – Ten very good pieces of advice for the project mgmt. parts of a PM’s job.
Really Bad Powerpoint – One of Seth’s longer blog posts. A good philosophical guide to using powerpoint effectively. I try to stay away from powerpoint as much as possible, but sometimes it is necessary, especially for interacting with stakeholders.
Inventing a tribe – Building a successful product vision does not have to involve creating something totally new and revolutionary from scratch. It is far more likely that it will involve connecting and empowering the people that already share a vision with you.
How to live happily with a great designer – Some tips for working effectively with designers.
Two kinds of writing – As a PM you will be interacting with totally different groups of people on a daily basis. It is important to adjust your writing and communication style to each audience. You will want to use a different approach when dealing with customers, engineers, marketing, or stakeholders.
Why do you do it this way? – A good way to test some of the underlying product decisions made in the past. Asking why three times is a great way to uncover the philosophy of a team.
Marketing to the organization – Product managers lead without positional authority, so it becomes important to approach things at a meta level, thinking about what you can do internally to give a product or project the best chance of succeeding.
Doing calculus with Roman numerals – As a non-technical PM, it is especially important to be relentlessly curious and to ask many question about the technical side. Not to make your job easier, but to open up a level of performance that is not possible without understanding the tools being used around you.