17: Remember your manners

17: Remember your manners

I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned about being a product manager.

My folks brought me up to remember my manners.  I consider I’ve perhaps taken this a little too far when I find myself apologising to people in London who have just shoulder-barged me into the path of an oncoming bus.  But manners are important, especially for a product manager, where your success relies on the help of many others.

Think of all the things that people do for you:

  • Developers and engineers have to guess what you mean in your user stories because the relevant context is in your head, not written down, and YOU ARE NEVER AT YOUR DESK.
  • Marketing have to take all the cool new things your product does and find the people who’ll give a crap.
  • Sales have to penetrate all your technobabble and marketing fluff to find the thing that will part clients from their cash.
  • Finance have to figure out how your clever multi-tiered pricing model works to ensure they’re chasing the right clients for the right amounts.
  • Tech Support have to put up with dozens of confused customers because a small but crucial feature has changed without warning.

So be grateful for any help from others. Thank them sincerely whenever you can even if they’re ‘just’ doing their job.  You will most likely need to call on their help again, because you can’t do your job without them.

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The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management book cover

The Practitioner’s Guide to Product Management
by Jock Busuttil

“This is a great book for Product Managers or those considering a career in Product Management.”

— Lyndsay Denton

Jock is a freelance head of product, author and conference speaker. He has spent nearly two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. His clients include the BBC, University of Cambridge, and the UK's Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS). In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, a product management consultancy and training company. He is also the author of the popular book The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management and the blog I Manage Products.

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