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Several weeks ago during one of our planning sessions, my boss referred to the Good Product Manager, Bad Product Manager post by Ben Horowitz.  While it has taken me awhile to get around to reading it, I am sure glad I did.  Love, love, love the context of the article … and disagree with thproduct-managemente opening statement about possibly not being relevant today and/or outdated.

The underlying premise and ideas behind what is shared are, in my opinion, timeless. If you are interested in being a successful leader in product management, this is where you need to start!

There were so many points in the post that resonated with me, and reminded me of topics I’ve covered relative to product management and leadership, I felt compelled to share the following table.  Essentially a 50,000 foot view into my posts from the prior year supporting what Ben Horowitz  laid out:

Good Product Manager

Bad Product Manager

Understands who they are serving Favors a build it and they will come approach
Defines the why behind the what Focuses on the how in support of the what
Crisply conveys the vision Can’t see the forest for the trees
Orchestrates with end goal in mind Reacts to every request that comes along
Focuses on doing the right thing (strategic) Focuses on doing things right (tactical)
Crisply conveys the value proposition Blames marketing when value not understood
Knows their existing business & customers (the numbers don’t lie) Removed from the customer, cannot define KPIs
Measures success against the numbers Measures success against tasks performed
Defines goals, action plans, and milestones towards achieving success Cannot always convey why certain things are being pursued
Disciplined in understanding status and reporting it regularly Believes status reporting is a waste of time
In touch with the macro level forces affecting their business Surprised by new trends, competition or technology impacts
In pursuit of what’s right/best for the team, organization or business (“we” mentality) In pursuit of what’s best for themselves (“I” mentality)
Acts with integrity Will do whatever is necessary to advance their own agenda
Accepts full responsibility Has lots of excuses
Focus on opportunities Focus on problems
Openly communicates; shares information broadly Hoards information so only they have access to it
Admits when they don’t know something, or are wrong Takes MSU approach (make sh*t up); covers tracks
Prioritizes their time effectively Never has enough time; overwhelmed
Proactive, defines what needs to be done Reactive, wants to be told what to do
Not afraid to face the difficult decisions or share negative news Afraid to ruffle feathers

Not exhaustive, but I hope it helps.  And of course, I welcome your thoughts on the topic!

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