Saturday, May 5, 2012

Product Management: a couple of jokes to ponder

Last Wednesday I went to SVPMA monthly meeting for the second time.  Brian Lawley from 280 Group spoke about Product Management LifeCycle.  It had lively audience who interacted with Brian.

Brian Lawley shared this diagram at SVPMA May meeting;
his advice was to think about each phase, including Retire phase.

If you are a product manager looking to get connected with fellow product manager, SVPMA is an excellent place to start.  There is monthly meeting on every first Wednesday of each month, and it's usually held at TechMart near Great America in Santa Clara.

Today I wanted to share a couple of jokes about product managers that I heard at the meeting.  I thought they caricatured an aspect of product management.

First one was shared by someone in the audience:
With great power comes great responsibility, said Spiderman.
With great responsibility comes no great power, said a product manager.

Second was shared by Brian Lawley himself:
Once upon a time an old man decided to sell his donkey in the village market.  He started out to the market with donkey and his little boy. 
When a passerby saw they were walking the donkey, he yelled out "old man, why aren't you riding the donkey?  Doesn't it make sense to ride the donkey so that you don't get tired as much?"  Old man heard this and pondered a bit.  "Yes, that makes sense.  I shall ride the donkey."
When another passerby saw the old man riding the donkey and young boy walking, he yelled out "old man, why would you ride the donkey when you have young boy walking on his own?  Doesn't it make sense to let young boy ride instead?"  Old man heard this and pondered a bit.  "Yes, that makes sense.  I shall let my little boy ride the donkey." 
When yet another passer by saw the young boy riding the donkey and old man walking, he yelled out "old man, why would you walk the donkey when you can both ride it?"  Old man heard this and pondered a bit.  "Yes, that makes sense.  We both shall ride the donkey." 
Soon they arrived at a stream.  When a passerby saw them, he yelled out "old man, let me give you a piece of advice.  If you both ride the donkey into the stream, the donkey will lose its footing and tip over.  Why not both of you get off, and carry the donkey across the stream?" 
Old man heard this and pondered a bit.  "Yes, I suppose that makes sense.  We shall carry the donkey across the stream."  So they both got off and started carrying the donkey over their head.  As they waded into the middle of stream, an unexpected torrent swept the old man and little boy's feet.  They lost their balance and the donkey fell into the stream.  Before they realized the donkey was swept up by a torrent, and it disappeared from the sight. 
Now the moral of this story?  Don't take everyone's advice.  It's the quickest way to kiss your ass good bye.

Usually a product manager is not in the position of power by org chart.  He has to earn his respect and authority by demonstrating his commitment, domain expertise and willingness to take responsibility for making decision.  One way to do this is to make decisions.  Listen and take inputs, but final decision rests on you because you must become responsible.

Don't yield your decision making power to someone else.  Unless you exercise that power and become responsible, you are not doing your job.

1 comment:

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