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What it takes to be a Product Manager
A Day In The Life Of A Product Manager : Based On A True Story :-)
By: Amit GoelAmit Goel
Co-Founder & CEO at CareerPlot
I had published this post about 1.5 years back on my personal blog and now, reposting it on LinkedIn. This post is not about being inspirational or talk about the pros and cons of being a product manager. It is all about doing what one always wants to do in life. Everyone plays an important role in success of a company. Be it a CEO, COO, sales, marketing, programmers, testers, admins, HR, finance, support or a lesser known mortal called Product Manager, everyone is so integral for a company to be successful. and the measure of success is only one thing called “Customer Happiness Index”.
So, With all the kind of roles mentioned above, most of them are very well defined functions. There is only one function called Product Management which is so ambiguous (in everyone's mind) that even product managers get confused many times why they exist. Sometimes, it is so frustrating for a product manager to figure out whether one is an engineer, support executive , operations person, salesperson, marketing professional or basically, either nothing or everything.
So, Let's visualise a day in the life of a product manager. Feel free to replace the characters in the story with the people around you. For example: you can replace the CEO with other managers, directors or project heads etc..
A Product Manager day entails a minimum of the following.
Daily Stand up meeting ( a catch up with his/her team)
This is the bare minimum and a must have. A product manager definitely starts a day with a daily stand up with his teammates (mostly virtually on telephone to save time in the morning while being in traffic). In this stand up, he blurbs out the issues he is facing to get the feature released on time or if nothing else, at least get it released. Also, he fights out with his team mates (other product managers) about why his thing is important and others need to wait. By the end of this stand up, his blood pressure has already shot up and is boiling with anger.
Stand up with Feature Teams
This is optional if agile is functioning in its best possible format in a company. but in reality, agile is twisted in most companies and a product manager becomes the part of feature team stand up to make sure he observes the progress and issues and resolves if it can be. Now, there are different opinions by everyone on how agile should be. But a product manager should be the last one attending daily stand ups of different teams.
Dealing with Sales teams
By the time, stand ups are over and a product manager barely manages to finish a cup of coffee and is about to finish his 50% of email replies, he gets the calls from sales executives about clarifications of certain features in the product and if they can be modified with in a day to get the potential customer. Of course, most of the time , the answer is a BIG NO. and he spends crucial minutes explaining that it cannot be done. at the end of the discussion with sales executive, with in few minutes, he starts seeing the mails from almost all corners how a customer is lost because a product is not up to the mark and he missed out on such basic scenario of customer needs. and as a result, company has lost a very significant customer and a huge pile of money.
Dealing with Tech teams
Because of argument with sales teams, he talks to tech team if certain tweaks are possible in the product quickly. Inspite of him being technical and polite, the tech team just ignores him and says a BIG NO without understanding the impact on customers or business or even giving him/her a proper hearing. They just move on to their second cup of coffee and a discussion on how Facebook is handling millions of requests per second. Because for tech teams, their daily dose of technology orgasm happens with hi-tech discussions about how other companies are building cool technology and how their company is full of stupid shit of people who do not know anything. Now, the product manager is left distraught and disarrayed by a bunch of engineers who claim to "know-it-all" gods.
Dealing with Marketing
As the product manager is recovering from the blows given by tech teams, a mail from marketing arrives asking for suggestions for a new partnership they wish to crack. They want suggestions if they can launch a new product scheme in the market and if the product can support it. This one is fairly easy and a product manager says yes to anything which helps in product growth. but then, comes the hard part. Now, he needs to draft a one pager and get the graphic designer to depict it in exactly what marketing teams wants and the hours go by while that lonely graphic designer sitting in a corner thinking like Leonardo Da Vinci or Salvador Dali tries to open up Photoshop on his 16 GB memory machine for the next two hours.
And an irritated customer calls
While the lunch time is gone and the product manager is hungry, here comes the patience test. A customer calls directly to product manager as he got the phone number figured out by fooling the customer support executives or through the connections on LinkedIn and complains that he is not able to perform a transaction or may be there is some issue he is facing. Remember that every customer feels that the issue he is facing is life threatening. A product manager rushes to the QA team to verify it who, in turn, asks for “steps to reproduce”. A few hours with the QA team with the last hour full of hot debates and then, a few expletives and abusive exchanges gets the problem identified and now, an unacceptable timeline is communicated to customer about the fix of the issue. This angers the customer and he disconnects the phone.
Phone call from COO (chief operations officer)
The Product Manager is just about to begin his lunch when people are having snacks or playing ping pong in the evening, when the COO calls. The angry customer has reached out to top management and has threatened to part ways with the company if the issue is not resolved in an hour. Forgetting the so called lunch in between, the product manager rushes to tech team and pleads (read: begs ) to them to fix it urgently. Finally, one of the tech guys agree as he feels that he should help the needy (like sometimes, PETA feels to help the humans instead of animals). He fixes the issue but by that time, QA team is already preparing to leave for the day. Now, the product manager pleads (read: begs again) to the QA guy and he agrees to help (like Trump agreeing to help an immigrant who belongs to Slovenia). Then, the Dev Ops, Sys Admin and release teams finally listen to the pleas of a poor guy and make the release happen.
Roadmap Disagreement with CTO
By that time, CTO figures out that they have many more important things in technology to be taken care of as product needs to be scalable and reliable. and a huge discussion with CTO happens to align the roadmap again. Note that, roadmap discussions are a daily affair and a dream of one year roadmap is just a “DREAM”. CTO wants the system to be scalable to handle million customers at any given time when in reality, the company is still yet to breach the 5000 customer mark. and this is top priority because his team has figured out that Facebook and Google have built and used this super cool piece of technology and now, they have open sourced it too. Also, all other engineers in the world are talking about it so they need to implement it too.
Finally, Status update with CEO
The office is empty. People have gone home. It’s the security guards having dinner in office. The product manager is winding off for the day as he is just about to miss a celebration at home. But then the CEO calls, he has heard about the customer complaint, last minute bug fix done by tech guys, problems identified in product by COO and team, sales team complaining about product not having that feature which can bring revenue, marketing team just cribbing about zero support from product management, a screwed up roadmap as told by CTO and of course, not adhering to the instructions given by the CEO himself. So, CEO agains tells the product manager to spend another quick one hour to find a solution to all the problems and send him a proposal which needs to be reviewed first thing in the morning....
While the product manager is working on the proposal, the birds are chirping outside. The cleaning staff has started coming in... The sun is getting to 30 degrees in the horizon...
By the way, the celebration at home which he was supposed to attend at any cost got over yesterday.
FYI, This is not my story. I am one happy product manager who loves every aspect of product management and building products.Check my profile to know more about me :-)
PS 1 : If you are an aspiring product manager based in India ( Bangalore or Hyderabad ) and want to meet me in person, I can definitely catch up with you for a cup of coffee on any weekend. Just connect with me on LinkedIn and then, send me a message ...
If you want to have a telephonic discussion with me on anything about product management or startups etc, or would like to have my advice on these topics again... just connect with me on linkedIn and send me a message...
PS 2 : If you want , you can read my previous articles on LinkedIn to get my thoughts on product management. check the section "Don't miss more articles by Amit Goel" below.
Disclaimer : Any resemblance to persons living or dead should be plainly apparent to them and those who know them. All events described herein actually happened, though on occasion the author has taken certain liberties with the event definition and chronology, because that is his right to freedom of exaggeration like every other human being on this planet and especially, because he belongs to India.
What should one do to learn dance in a best possible way?
How to become a good dancer? 3 Golden Tips!
In all the years (20 now) I dance I have learned one thing: everyone can learn to dance well!
But how is it that some people get it and others do not? How is it that some people week after week, month after month, year after year, can continue dancing and others in one, as we call it, dansdip arrive and their dances exchange for lazy couch front of the TV?
After 18 years of teaching young and old, with white and dark, with thick and thin and talented and definitely not talented students, I discovered that it mainly involves setting. The question is not: “I can learn to dance well?” But “how much I want to learn to dance well?”.
The following 3 Golden Tips I will teach you how anyone, and I mean everyone, in a relatively short time, can be a good dancer.
Find out if you’re V, A, or K.
Many people do not know but we do not learn all the same. When it comes to teaching movement, it is important to know whether you learn Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic.
Visually means that you mostly learn by watching and then doing. The explanation is less important to you. If you see something a few times then you will be able to compare yourself with the example and to imitate.
How do you recognize this? Bothers you mind if people stand in the way between you and the teachers. To see an example like from several sides and preferably gonna help the teachers as close as possible to see it properly.
Auditory means that you have a particular need for explanation. You understand better when someone tells you it shows or makes you feel.
How do you recognize this? Bothers you are really like people talking during the explanation. You listens to details and you have to know exactly what the need to do before you start exercising.
Kinesthetic means that you want to feel and experience above all. Just do say.
How do you recognize this? You recognize it mainly because you are less visual or auditory set. You just need to experience it to do. You’ll soon feel impatient when something is explained in detail. An example is nice but not too long.
Please note that if you learn visually then you also learn auditory and kinesthetic. Only in that case is visually stronger than the other 2. This is also true if you learn auditory or kinesthetic.
By knowing how you learn you can look for a teacher who responds to those needs. Usually, a teacher who teaches in the same way as you. This will significantly speed up your learning process.
Do not give up!
There is a nice saying: “You only fail When you quit”. In other words, as long as you do not give up, there is no failure. And that is true.
If you really are going to learn to dance, and you’re physically able to, then do not have to keep at. And you have it tough? Or do you ask yourself whether you ever really going to learn well? Please ask for a private lesson. Often you get during a private lesson just the tips that you will not get a dance class. This is because a private lesson is tailored to your needs. For private lessons you can visit my facebook site to watch free online couching dance videos: Free Belly Dancing Lessons
Go past your plateau
When you just start dancing you learn the fastest. Within a few months you see yourself doing things you do not until shortly before thought possible.
But there comes a point where your growth will slow and you get do not really feel further. 90% of people who quit dancing, quit because they have reached a plateau.
What these people do not see is that they are about to make important technical breakthroughs dance. It is precisely at this stage where mastery is in the making. It is this phase where you suddenly discover that you can skip a pass afterward to get back in perfect time. It is this stage where you will hear a musical break to come and you are suddenly able to lady in a dip to land in your arms. This is the stage where you will discover why you ever started.
I sincerely hope you take to heart the above tips, and she knows how to apply. They made my life years ago dramatically changed and I hope that they may influence your life in a positive way.
5 WTF snaps from the Comedy Animal Photo Awards
The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards (yes, that's a thing) are back once again, showcasing candid shots of the funniest critters on the World Wild Web.
So good are some of these snaps, it's almost as if the animals knew the brief. From peekaboo eagles to ballet-dancing ants, and friendly polar bears to snowball-flinging monkeys, the most comedic scenes from the animal kingdom are all here.
Kick-started last year to help raise cash and awareness for conservation efforts in a lighthearted way, you can enjoy a handful of 2016's funniest shots below before heading over to the CWPA website to LOL at the rest of the entries
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a 'peli-can't catch a fish to save his life'
*Plays 'The Great Escape' theme tune* © Nicolas De Vaulx/Comedy Wildlife Photo 2016
That feeling when you forgot something important
"Shit. Did I leave the iron on?" © Barb D'Arpino/Comedy Wildlife Photo 2016
Oh yeah. Laugh it up
"You want a funny photo? Owl handle it." © Edward Kopeschny/Comedy Wildlife Photo 2016
Who needs hand-eye coordination anyway?
"Oh yeah, this is awkward for you, huh?" - fish © Rob Kroenert/Comedy Wildlife Photo 2016
That's a bad day in the office
"Hey, Dave, I'm taking the rest of the day off." © Tom Stables/Comedy Wildlife Photo 2016
Check out the rest of the entries to this year's competition right here.
7 Secret Tips to Make Your Relationship Last Longer
There is no elaborate strategy or blueprint to the perfect relationship. In all honestly, all relationships are messy, and they all come with their own share of drama. It is your personal decision to make about whether you chose to work through it, or drop it completely. Make this decision as early in the relationship as possible, this will ensure that minimum damage is caused.
Here are a few secret (but seemingly simple) tips to a long lasting relationship:
1.) Be spontaneous.
At no point in a relationship, should you give up. Keep them on their toes and always try to surprise them. Take random trips, plan crazy dates and take their breath away at every chance you get. Male or female, it is your duty to keep each other happy and interested throughout the relationship. If it’s worth it, put in the effort.
Don’t bottle up your feelings. This might work in the short term, but eventually, you will implode and cause more drama than you can imagine. Tell them if something bothers you, and more importantly if something makes you happy. This will ensure that they know what to avoid doing, and what to do to make your day better.
3.) Hook up.
Don’t underestimate the power of some good between the sheets time. While you should be careful to prevent this from becoming all you do in your relationship, it is important to maintain a healthy balance. Not only is it a great stressbuster, it also gives you the opportunity to try out new and interesting things here too.
4.) Don’t lie.
White lies to prevent drama and hurt are excusable – but do not make it a habit. When you find yourself lying about serious issues, or trying to cover up for yourself, you know you’ve taken it too far. Honesty is of utmost importance in a relationship. Without it, you lose your trust and then there’s no way to save whatever you may have with them.
5.) Don’t overshare.
Don’t talk about sex with your ex, don’t constantly compare them to your past and definitely avoid criticizing them too much. Somethings must be kept to yourself, but do not use this as an excuse to be dishonest and hide the truth from them either.
6.) Be supportive.
Support their dreams. While it is important for you to keep them sane and grounded, do not abuse this power by holding them back. Let them live their lives and fulfil their goals. Your job as their partner is to build them up and help them achieve everything they want. Be sure that this will always be reciprocated.
7.) Don't Judge
Be the person they can come to with their problems. If they’re constantly worried about what you will think of them, or if you will judge them, they will find someone else to confide in. Provide them with a safe and secure environment in which they can share their deepest insecurities and feelings. This will bind you together in an unbreakable hold.