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It always fascinates me to get inside the heads of other product managers.  I love exploring how they think, how they approach various scenarios, but most importantly seeing that most of the struggles we all face on a day-in/day-out basis are common.

This morning I was reading an article titled Top Hacks … about Todd Jackson, a PM that has worked at Google and Facebook and now runs his own company.  In reading stories like the ones in the article, and understanding the various elements of the Product Management role he also had to deal with, I walk away with renewed energy and passion for ‘what could be’ within my own domain… I walk away with the strength and confidence to continue on despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges that continue to pop up … I am reminded of why I love this role so much!

The article will take a bit of time, but it is well worth the read.  Following are only a few of the points made with a few thoughts.  Enjoy.

  • Always know the current status and context: You should always know where key people in the company stand on what’s important and why. You should also know what’s going on with the competition. [PH thoughts] – strive never to be surprised by the questions that executives might ask you!

  • Jump from small details to big picture: “You should be able to articulate the highest level strategy behind a product but also be ready to explain why a particular UI element is placed the way it is.” [PH thoughts] – this goes back to being the master storyteller for your product(s), and understanding how all of the pieces fit together.

  • Be a master of influence, not authority: Obviously, you have no authority over the founders or cross-functional stakeholders you’re presenting to — you also probably don’t have authority over the engineers you work with. You have to be a good communicator and make things easy for people. “Fill in the whitespace everywhere for everyone,” Jackson says. Do the boring stuff that makes a difference and moves things forward.” [PH thoughts] – love the context here … fill in the whitespace, do the boring stuff.  What seems unnecessary and mundane will benefit you in the long run.

  • Get decisions made: You may not be the decider at the table, but it’s your responsibility to make sure a decision gets made. Half of this is getting the right information in front of them. The other half is getting the right people behind them. [PH thoughts] – understand the market, understand the customer needs, understand the right thing to do for the product/business, can carry that torch as a beacon for all others to see.