Spending too much time enabling, that’s my role as a PM.
This excercise failed. I've since moved to sprints instead of tracking every hour of my calendar
I’ve struggled to understand, over the past year, where do I create value? I’ve started working full-time as a product manager on a project that is very dear to me. Product managers do that, don’t they?
We fall in love with our ideas whilst they are in our heads.
We keep a product/feature idea in our head and romanticise the thoughts till it’s time to write the spec document. Then once the spec is written it meets the eyes of people (other than the ones that reside in your head) and that’s when all hell breaks loose.
Every one has a plan, till they get punched in their face. - Mike Tyson
Your baby isn’t yours anymore. I have come to terms with creating a product that has inputs from many stakeholders.
What should I be optimising for?
But then what is my value to the team.
- Will I be judged on the merits of my initial spec, which was forced into multiple iterations?
- Or will I be judged on the success of the app launch, which is dependent on infinite factors, most of which are outside of my control.
I don’t have the answer. Experienced PMs, like Lenny and Shreyas think a PM’s job it to be an enabler. Which I admit, I had not considered.
Side-note: Please follow Lenny and Shreyas on Twitter if you haven’t already.
Is enabling just a fancy word for “Lets get on a call”?
I hate meetings. I still do. I romanticise the idea of deep work. To think deeply of a product and make it the best in the world. Like the architect in Fountainhead.
But that is a fairy tale. One product manager cannot make an out-of-the-world application. That requires the full strength of the entire team.
That is why a product manager’s primary role is to be an enabler. That is how I’ve started to quantify my value to my team.
“How good have I been in removing the roadblocks for my team?”
To be honest, I am still unsure about how to become a better product manager.
New things I’m doing
My calendar is now filled with two colours.
- Purple - Time spent on enabling/removing blockers
- Orange - Tasks I had planned to create a product.
What will I do with the data?
No clue. I am just collecting data at this point. Let’s see how much is purple and how much is orange, and also see how much impact I’ve created.
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