Lemon #52. Good manager / Bad product manager
While reading ‘The hard thing about hard things’ from Ben Horowitz, we learned about how a good and bad product manager is:
Good product managers know the market, the product, the product line, and the competition extremely well and operate from a strong basis of knowledge and confidence. A good product manager is the CEO of product.
A good product manager knows the context going in (the company, our revenue funding, competition, etc) and they take responsibility for devising and executing a winning plan. No excuses.
Bad product managers have lots of excuses. Not enough funding, the engineering manager is an idiot, etc…
Good product managers crisply define the target, the «what» (as opposed to the «how») and manage the delivery of the «what». Bad product managers feel best about themselves when they figure out «how».
Good product managers communicate crisply to engineering in writing as well as verbally. Good product managers don’t give direction informally. Good product managers create collateral, FAQs, presentations and white papers that can be leveraged by salespeople, marketing people and executives.
Bad product managers complain that they spend all day answering questions for the sales force and are swamped. Good product managers anticipate the serious product flaws and build real solutions. Bad product managers put out fires all day.
Good product managers focus the team on revenue and customers. Bad product managers focus the team on how many features the competitors are building. Good product managers define good products that can be executed with a strong effort. Bad product managers define good products that can’t be executed or let engineering build whatever they want.
Good product managers send their status reports in on time every week because they are disciplined. Bad product managers forget to send in their status reports on time, because they don’t value discipline.
Ben Horowitz @ The hard thing about hard things.