Contrary to what you may think, most of product management is actually selling. You are continually selling new product concepts, ideas for improvement as well as pitches for projects. What you may not realise is that what most people think is selling isn’t actually selling.

One of the easiest ways to spot a product manager in the wild is to look for the slightly frazzled person with the longest to-do list and a determined look in their eye.

While I think we generally enjoy keeping ourselves busy, I’ve often noticed over a beer with colleagues that we (myself included) also quite enjoy having a bit of a moan over how much there is to do and that the work is never-ending.

Do you spend more time writing documents about your product than actually managing it?

Many companies with some kind of product management function become all caught up in the process, drowning themselves in increasing numbers of documents. These rapidly become overwhelming to manage, contain duplicated detail and ultimately obscure the real objective of product management, namely to create successful products.

One of the many personal challenges I’ve faced in my working life was to overcome my natural tendency towards being erratic. I’m not talking about endearing (to me at least) eccentricities, more about practical things such as a rubbish memory for dates and poor time management. Throw in a crisis and I could generally be found running around with my head on fire.