Product Managers are always termed as a CEO of a Product. Some say it is mere rhetoric. Others argue it is a classic lie as Product Managers have hardly any authority to move the needle that can propel the Product on the path of success. Nevertheless, I still believe Product Manager is a CEO of the product, (s)he owns. For me, it is less about authority and more about the responsibility of doing what is right for the product and standing up for what we believe is right for the product even at the risk of being alienated.
Question to all my fellow Product Managers – How many times, have you ever stood up for what you believe is right for the product. Have you not stood up before because your organization does not foster the culture of questioning or are you just clueless on how the proposed changes could impact the product? I am not insisting Product Managers to either revolt or take sides, I am just insisting them to articulate their position or viewpoints with a strong backing of either quantitative or qualitative data.
An ideal Product Manager by virtue of owning the product, having a broader understanding of the market in which the product operates and with absolute awareness of which customers use the product, why they use it and how they use it should have the ability to connect dots to anticipate the impact of any proposed changes. Anyone one else in the organization might not have such a depth of understanding, thereby making it essential for Product Managers to stand up to make sure their voices are heard.
It does not matter if the view of a Product Manager is turned-down, what is important is that the voice of Product Manager should be heard. However, end of the day we take decisions as a team and we should collectively stand by it. I believe we as a team should own it rather than blaming individuals and see how the risks associated with the decision could be ascertained.
If you are not a Product Manager, have you ever come across a Product Manager in your organization who has stood up for what (s)he believes in. If not, then your organization is either not hiring great Product Managers or it is not fostering a right product management culture that can let Product Managers stand up for what they believe in. In my next blog, let me explicitly focus on what kind of product management culture should we instill in an organization.