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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.

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How can one develops his or her sense of humor :

1. Ability to laugh at self
 
It's amazing how genuinely funny self-deprecatory jokes can be. If you're a serious brooding person who thinks that you're better than the world, forget this genre. But you'll be losing a lot.
 
2. Being able to take things lightly
 
This is the foundation from which you can take off into the world of humour. If you usually get worked up over every single little thing, chances are you're going to struggle to crack a joke. Let's face it; you'll be in no mood to think of anything funny.
 
3. Enjoy being the cause of laughter
 
Almost every single funny person I've ever met has this trait. There's a certain pride and selflessness that's part of being able to make people laugh. When you get addicted to that 'high', you'll be digging out every opportunity to make people laugh. There're not too many better things in the world than seeing people around you uncontrollably laughing at something funny you said.
 
4. Educate yourself
 
The lesser topics you know, the lesser genres of humour you can explore. There's a reason why all people with a great sense of humour are informed and intelligent. It takes much exposure to the outside world to be able to make most jokes. If you're a quiet, silent guy, who likes to shield himself in the darkness of your room, you won't have too much room to play with. Literally.
 
5. Learn from the experts
 
Watch humorous movies. Watch stand-up comedies. Watch funny soaps. The trick is not to watch with the ulterior motive of trying to learn the art. I always tell people who want to learn English to avoid watching films with that motive in the back of their head. It's when you truly immerse yourself and enjoy something that your mind automatically picks up certain things. This way, the whole exercise also stops seeming like work.
 
6. Enjoy conversations and experiment
 
Face it, you can't say a joke if you don't enjoy conversations. Learn to be open-minded, and talk and listen to people. The more you talk, the better you'll get at it. Similarly, the more you joke, the more you'll discover your area of strength. Experiment. Try various genres. Word play, sarcasm, slapstick ... you'll figure out based on people's reactions what your strength is. The more you play, the better you'll get. Also, remember: There aren't too many things in the world that you cannot joke about.

7. Timing: Strike when the time is right. You need to know when is the opportune moment to unleash the humor Kraken. 

8. Quick thinking and Wordplay: "Most important part of English language are punctuations. They are the ones which differentiate 'I helped Uncle Jack, off a horse' from 'I helped Uncle jack off a horse'".

 

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You don’t have to get married

’I’m not a big fan of marriage
I think marriage takes really talented dreamers and creative beings that are capable of creating real change and puts them inside this widely accepted institution of marriage, where they will then spend most of their time, emotions, magic, and valuable energy trying to be “good“ citizens and live up to the impossible ”perfect marriage/perfect family“ illusion that has been so successfully placed in our heads. Marriage also has the potential to produce a lethal feeling that we now have ownership of another soul because they said “I do,” gave us a ring and signed a contract saying they would not leave us (do you ever stop to look at how crazy it all is?).
One of the greatest deceptions we can fall victim to is the lie that we should need someone else in our life in order to be complete.
We are set up waiting for Mr. or Mrs. right to come along so that we can begin our life and be truly happy
I’ve been with the same man for 15 years and we still really, really like each other. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that we each stand alone, beautiful, creating light, both working toward helping each other reach our individual goals. We are so incredibly different, but neither of us is fighting to change the other. We have grown to respect and appreciate each other as we are. We don’t need one another. We enjoy each other, but we don’t need each other... there’s a big difference. The most unromantic line in the world is ”you complete me" — it literally makes me want to scream when I hear it at weddings. I want to complete myself.

Spin solo until you are in perfect harmony with source and are able to create magic alone. Then you can, if you choose, attract someone who can spin along side you. The result is two beautiful souls who are spinning separately, but in perfect harmony... that’s where magic happens!

What about children?

I don’t believe we were all meant to have children and the pressure created by our culture to have a family is RIDICULOUS! That being said, once the decision to have children is made or made for you, then yes, it’s beneficial for their sake to find a mate willing to help you give them the best life possible. That doesn’t mean you both live in the same house, but you are committed to working together peacefully to make sure the children are given the support they need to grow into healthy, confident and emotionally stable members of society.
If you do get married, because that’s what you want... WONDERFUL! Just make sure to keep your expectations realistic and be open and honest about how you’re feeling. It’s unhealthy for anyone to be in a long term relationship where they feel trapped and miserable. It’s also why we have so much trauma related to relationships in our life that didn’t last... mother/father, first love, etc. because we had this fairy tale image of what love looks like and when it turned out different we were crushed.
Don’t marry your soul mate

Billy is a good friend (the best, really). He’s the man that thinks I’m wonderful, amazing and incredibly gorgeous. He’s all in and ready to help and support me and this unit in anyway he can. He’s the most incredible father and team-mate. We are perfect for each other in so many ways. We bring out the best in each other almost always. We don’t need or cling to each other and are able to stand alone even though we’d prefer to stand together. This relationship is easy and gets shit done. Billy is sweet, patient... downright wonderful and I love him, but he’s not my soul mate in some kind of mystical, ancient bond, finish your sentences kind of way. We are together in a perfectly unique union that has a purpose completely unique to itself.

What is a soul mate? Is there such a thing? Each of us will answer these questions differently depending on your belief system. I personally believe soul mates are people we’ve been connected to since the beginning of time. People that weave in and out of this massive interconnected web that is a collection of our many lives. Souls matched perfectly with ours to help us grow. Our soul mate or mates aren’t always meant to be our lovers. I think this is really important for all of us to understand. As a culture we seem to struggle with understanding deep relationships that aren’t sexual or unions that aren’t romantic, but have a greater purpose. Any deep connection sensed between two people is meant to become romantic, right? No. There are all kinds of connections in this wild life.
I believe soul mates exist and they will show up in each life when you need them. They come to push you, challenge you, wake you up and push you forward. Honestly, you’re probably better off not marrying that person, because then you’ll get caught up in creating the ideal marriage (WHATEVER THE HELL THAT EVEN IS) and forget why your souls were put together from the beginning. You’ll all too easily forget that your job is to help each other evolve as quickly as possible not torture each other into this bizarre role we’ve created that a husband and wife ought to play. Because who knows what that looks like for each of us. Lord knows we’ve all experienced interesting versions of those characters.
It’s this idea that one person is supposed to meet all of our needs that sets us up for heartache and disappointment. Instead, why don’t we look first at what it is we would like our relationship with another human to create or accomplish. Then believe that the universe will send us a perfect match for that goal. If you just want to have great sex and travel around the world then you will call forth a completely different soul than if you want to raise a family. If you aren’t sure, just trust me on this one. Knowing exactly what we want is the first step to being able to create the most magical union ever.
Listen, I’m not an expert, and I certainly haven’t figured it all out. I do know one thing for certain though, and that is the reality that what we are doing is working. How many happy couples do you know? Okay. How many do you know that have been together longer than a few years and have kids? Not just comfortable, but truly happy. It makes you wonder if we have it all wrong. We are all searching for that crazy, wild, intense love of our life to match up with and stay with that person at all costs till death do us part. Maybe, just maybe, we should be looking for something completely and totally different.
Let’s rewrite the norm.
Let’s hack parenting, love, partnerships, friendships, connections, soul mate unions, LIFE, and marriage as we know it and create what works, what feels right to our soul without being afraid of upsetting the norm.
Because in case no one has told you, normal is WAY overrated.

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7 Best Lower Back Pain Exercises You Can Do at Your Office Desk

“If you look after your body, your body will look after you” - Paul Boxcer, Eminent Physiotherapist.
Backache is a very common complaint which affects all age range. Pain in the lower part of the back is commonly referred to as Lumbago. It can be defined as mild to severe pain or discomfort in the area of the lower back.The pain can be acute (sudden and severe) or chronic if it has lasted more than three months.

Most people will experience lumbago at some point in their life. It can occur at any age but is a particular problem in younger people whose work involves physical effort and much later in life, in the elderly.

Lower back ache is one of the world’s No. 1 health complaint amongst corporate employees. It is the most common cause of job-related disability. Lower back ache is gender agnostic, ie. it attacks both men and women equally. It can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp sensation that leaves the person incapacitated. Sedentary lifestyles are the main cause of lower back ache. Most lower back ache cases are acute, or short term, and the pain lasts a few days to a few weeks. It tends to resolve on its own with self-care and there is no residual loss of function.
The lower back, or lumbar area provides structural support, movement, and protection of certain body tissues. As most of the employees spend their working hours sitting, lower back is subjected to a lot of stress and strain due to weight of the upper body. Lower back ache is caused due to conditions affecting the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, muscles of the low back, internal organs of the pelvis and abdomen, and the skin covering the lumbar area.

Symptoms
Lower back ache symptoms may include any of the following:
1. Dull aching pain2. Sharp pain3. Tingling or burning sensation4. Weakness in your legs or feet
Lower back ache can differ from person to person. The ache may be mild, or it can be so severe that you cannot move. Depending on the cause of your back ache, you may also have pain in your leg, hip, or the bottom of your foot.
Lower back ache is triggered by everyday activities, injury, overuse and it is aggravated by prolonged rest or inactivity. Long hours of sitting or standing and incessant quick movements can be other triggers.
Remedies
However, lower back ache can be overcome or controlled by regular exercises to strengthen the muscles that support your back -- especially the abdominals, hips, back, and pelvic area. These exercises strengthen core muscles and relieve the ache. Here are a  few important exercises that help employees soothe their muscles and quell the ache.


Exercises for the Back You Can Do at Your Desk
1. Just stand up and sit down – not using hands- If you stand up and sit down (over and over) without using your hands - it can be a challenge.
2. Substitute exercise for sitting - while you work- Get rid of your desk chair and substitute an exercise ball. All day you are engaging all the muscles in the back, specially core muscles, to stay balanced."
3. Release the whole back with a torso twist- Inhale and as you exhale, turn to the right and grab the back of your chair with your right hand, and grab the arm of the chair with your left.- Use your grasp on the chair to help twist your torso around as far to the back of the room as possible. Hold the twist and let your back continue the stretch - see how far around the room you can peer.- Slowly come back to facing forward.- Repeat on the other side.
4. Stretch your back with a "big hug"- Hug your body, placing the right hand on your left shoulder and the left hand on your right shoulder.- Breathe in and out, releasing the area between your shoulder blades.
5. Stretch your back and shoulders with a "leg hug"- Sit on the edge of your chair (if it has wheels, wedge the chair against the desk or wall to make sure it does not roll). Put your feet together, flat on the floor.- Lean over, chest to knees, letting your arms dangle loosely to the floor. Release your neck.- Now bring your hands behind your legs, right hand grasping left wrist, forearm (or elbow if you can reach that far), left hand grasping the right. Feel the stretch in your back, shoulders and neck. Hold.- Release your hands to the floor again.- Repeat three times or as often as it feels good.
6. Look up to release upper body- Sit up in your chair, or stand up. Stretch your arms overhead and interlock your fingers.- Turn the palms to the ceiling as you lift your chin up, tilt your head back, and gaze up at the ceiling too.- Inhale, exhale, release.
7. Substitute walks for email- Instead of emailing a colleague, just walk over instead. The exercise is effortless and will keep you in shape if habitual.

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if they stand behind you,protect them.
if they stand beside you,respect them.
if they stand against you,defeat them.

 

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