22: Blow your own trumpet

22: Blow your own trumpet

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

If you’ve worked in product management for a while, you’ll almost certainly have been annoyed by others taking credit for your hard work.  Your boss will make some kind of announcement that Salesy McSalesdroid had won a massive deal, aren’t they great, they get a free island and half of your salary as bonus, yadda yadda yadda.

Everyone conveniently ignores that you held their hand to all the customer meetings, wrote AND DELIVERED the pitch to the customer, rearranged your roadmap to squeeze in some customer-specific features, and basically did everything needed to secure the deal.  But the main reason nobody else knows this is because you didn’t actually tell anyone!

Many product managers say how difficult they find it to trumpet their own successes

From the product managers I’ve met over the years, many of them have said how difficult they find it to trumpet their own successes.  Unfortunately, this also meant that they generally failed to be recognised for the extent of their contribution.  It wasn’t necessarily because they were shy, retiring types either, more that they felt it was a little crass to take credit for something they felt was a team achievement.  Incidentally, I don’t know whether this attitude is exclusively a British thing or more generally a product manager thing.

You know what?  It doesn’t hurt to remind the people who review your salary each year how much you contribute to the success of your products and company.  Sure, product managers achieve results through team effort, but as long as you’re highlighting your contribution and crediting others’ efforts appropriately, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of self-publicity to balance the praise heaped upon the needy Sales team.

You’ll also be doing the profession a favour by illustrating the kind of things product managers do, and how important we are to the business.  So get out there and blow your trumpet!

Do you find it particularly difficult or easy to publicise your achievements?  Share your experiences in the comments.

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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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1 Comment on “22: Blow your own trumpet

  1. I agree with you. Sometime ago I had proposed a product. Sales head changed the product completely and said that he had market data and this whats gonna sell. I opposed. Product didnt make sense. He said – you are new to company.. you dont know how it works here. As we are a startup – CEO said – do what he says. So we did it. Number of people used it = 3. (We make VAS products).

    Now he said – grumpy – you proposed it. It is a failure.

    Incident 2. A product successful from start. Was thought about in certain way and kept it that way only. Now he says : My team achieved sales targets thats why.

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