You can learn all the theory you like, but at some point you just have to stop thinking about what the answer might be and dive in to find out.
Despite relying on each other for the success of their products, the Sales and Product teams often have a jarring relationship. This is far from ideal. By looking at where things go wrong we can identify a better way of working with each other. The prizes on offer: shorter sales cycles, more easily achieved targets and customers who are always happy to hear from you.
One of the easiest traps for a product manager to fall into is unquestioning routine or habit. I learned about this most through my time at university training to fly with the Royal Air Force. Let me explain how it applies.
Quite a few people are put off usability testing because they think it’s complicated, time-consuming and expensive. What you may not realise is that you can run a set of usability tests in a single afternoon that will uncover eighty percent of the problems your product has. And the only specialist equipment you’ll need is a pen, some paper and the computer you need to access the software or website.
You expend a lot of effort getting people to buy your product and they’re happy with it.
You then go back to your satisfied customers and tell them what they have is now mediocre, so they have to move onto your latest and greatest product version. You see this everywhere, from washing powders to family cars, so it must work for enterprise software, right? So why are your no-longer-happy customers now chasing you with pitchforks and burning torches?
Your developers may be happiest when they’re hacking gnarly code, leaving you to get on with engaging with the market, but this doesn’t mean you can ignore their need for context – the ‘why’ of their project.
There are many questions that a product manager needs to ask to determine the best course of action or to analyse underlying motivations. Of them, I use the following three questions most often:
1. So what?
3. What’s stopping us?