11 contrarian thoughts on Product Management
11 contrarian thoughts on Product Management:
1. If you only focus on outcomes, you’ll end up failing more. Most times, success is about increasing outputs.
2. PMs should write user stories or JIRA tickets if that is what’s needed to get the team shipping. Focusing on strategy and discovery is useless if stuff doesn’t get shipped.
3. Different PM teams should have different processes and ceremonies, not the same cookie cutter as everyone else. Normalising processes is a manager’s comfort, not for a team’s performance.
4. Most squads need PMs to behave as if they are the team’s manager, even though they don’t manage anyone. Lack of leadership atitude is the biggest killer of a team’s performance.
5. Not everything needs success measurement. If you only execute on stuff you can perfectly measure, you’ll miss out on features that can really help your team.
6. Most of the time stakeholders are wrong. Much of what they need is literally useless, and no customer remotely cares. But the key things they are right can indeed make or break a business, so listen attentively.
7. An organised sprint is a sprint that lacks ambition. Building product is about learning. Learning is about validating hypothesis. If all hypothesis are true, you’re not risking enough. Chaos equals discovery. Discovery equals disruption. Disruption equals value.
8. If everyone feels excited about a scope, design or prototype, and they don’t question or argue that something is off, you don’t have enough critical thinking, and your team is weak. Disagreement is healthy, raises the bar and de-risks edge cases.
9. MVPs don’t work for most companies. Customers have expectations, especially from companies with existing products. Most MVPs don’t meet expectations.
10. Maximising the points of your sprints (work in progress) will actually reduce how much you deliver. Exhausted teams stop thinking critically, creatively, miss edge cases, and care less about quality.
11. A humble PM is better than an arrogant PM. But an arrogant PM always over performs an insecure PM.
Might be worth expanding on one or two of these points. I suspect not many people will sit and ponder deeply if given a long and brief list.
Great read regardless
Point 7: An organised sprint is a sprint that lacks ambition.
This is my favourite one. Most people aren't attuned to chaos. We have a penchant for organized and structure thinking. We associate chaos negatively and mistakenly optimize for structure.
Structure is great if you operate within a known space but product works within an unknown space. To embrace chaos is to acknowledge the nature of our work and only then can we truly start capturing real value for the customers and business.