Tag Archives: product manager

Be a Balanced Product Leader, Not a Feature Broker or Product Dictator

Being an effective product leader is not easy: It requires embracing people’s ideas as well as saying no, being neither too accommodating, nor too assertive. This post helps you recognise and overcome two common, ineffective leadership styles, feature broker and product dictator, and develop a balanced, successful leadership approach.

Leading Through Shared Goals

As a product manager or product owner, you guide and lead the development team and stakeholders. But you usually don’t have the authority to tell people what to do. Creating alignment and ensuring that everybody is moving in the same direction can consequently feel like herding cats. Luckily, there is a solution: working with shared, connected goals, as I explain in this article.

Dealing with Difficult Stakeholders and Team Members

Experiencing disagreement and conflict is part of our job as product managers and product owners. We work with a broad range of people from different departments, and it’s only natural that we don’t always agree and sometimes clash. But constructively navigating conflict can be challenging. This article shares my recommendations for dealing with difficult people and successfully addressing conflict.

The T-Shaped Product Professional

Product management is a multi-faceted discipline. This makes our work interesting and varied. But it can also make it hard to see which skills we need to develop so we can do an even better job or take on more responsibility. In this post, I discuss balancing product-specific skills with generic product management capabilities. I suggest developing a t-shaped skills profile that ensures that you have the necessary deep skills to progress your product, as well as the broad skills required to systematically deal with common, recurring product management challenges.

Boost Your Product Leadership Power

As product people—product managers and product owners—we usually don’t hold any positional power. Unlike a line manager, we cannot reward people by offering a pay rise or bonus, for instance. We cannot tell people what to do either, as the development team members and stakeholders don’t report to us. This puts us in a challenging position: We must lead others to achieve product success but we cannot leverage traditional management instruments. Luckily, there are other power sources you can tap into to boost your leadership, as I explain in this article.

Product Manager vs. Product Owner

For years, people have debated what the difference between the product manager and the product owner role is, if the roles can coexist or not, and which one should be used. This article shares my thoughts on the topic and reflects on the origin of the product owner role.

Making Unanimous Product Decisions

Unanimity is a powerful approach to take advantage of the collective wisdom of the stakeholders and development team members and generate strong buy-in and shared ownership of a decision. But it can be challenging to apply, and if used incorrectly, it can create mediocre results. This post helps you leverage unanimity to make successful product decisions. It explains when and how to use it, and it discusses common traps and how to avoid them.

Use Decision Rules to Make Better Product Decisions

As product managers and product owners, we make a myriad of decisions—from shaping the product strategy and determining the product roadmap to deciding the detailed functionality of our products. But do we make all these decisions effectively? And do we always secure the necessary buy-in? This post helps you make better decisions. It discusses five common decision rules and explains when to apply them.

Should Product People be Servant-Leaders?

Being an effective product professional requires leadership: Product management teams, stakeholders, and development teams need guidance and direction to collaborate and achieve product success. Can the servant-leadership model help you with this challenge?

Mindfulness Tips for Product Managers and Product Owners

As product managers and product owners, we are busy people with a diverse range of responsibilities. This makes it all too easy to hurry from one meeting to the next, to try to accomplish several things at once, and to get lost in the busyness of our work. Unfortunately, this approach is not only unproductive, it also affects our wellbeing. Mindfulness offers a different path: becoming more aware of what we do and how we do it so we can make better decisions and be more creative. This post shares six practical mindfulness tips to help you work better and feel happier.