Nostalgia kills | Practical tips for leaders

Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory – Franklin Pierce Adams

We’ve all read about how culture eats strategy for lunch. The internet is jam-packed with a million blog posts on the superficialities of culture. Its time for some inside baseball with some actual actionable things to watch out for and prevent.

It is absolutely true that the culture of the company dictates how it can adapt to change and eventually succeed. Culture is hugely important, however along the journey from a small company to a midsize company to a large public company, the culture will change. At all these stages, different parts of the company will have different cultures and norms. In fact sometimes within the same team, you will have differences based on where the teams are located and their size.

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Its been 10 long years | Lessons from the GFC

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Cartoon by Mike Luckovich

It’s been 10 years since the 2008 financial crisis. Astute observers will correct me and point out that the crisis actually started in early 2007 when the Bear Stearns High-Grade Structured Credit collapsed. This was the first collapse of a hedge fund that was loaded up to the gills with subprime CDO’s. If you were following FT Alphaville in late 2006/ early 2007, you’d be ahead of the game. The signs were there! Some great coverage to relive and re-read

So how does this relate to you, young product manager? Some obvious and simple lessons articulated below. Continue reading “Its been 10 long years | Lessons from the GFC”

Practical tips for accountability in product teams

Accountability is a fascinating topic. The textbook definition is “the quality or state of being accountableespecially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions”. While a lot has been written about individuals, I’ve found in my experience, the actual mechanics of how to think about team accountability for product teams, pretty lacking. This post is an attempt to describe the framework that has been useful for me. A few of these tips are borrowed from the great executives I’ve had the pleasure to work with and a few are homegrown. Hopefully, this helps somebody who is just starting out or well into their manager/team leader journey.

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Scaling product teams the structured way

You’re the first PM at a startup. You are a small company with one product, searching for product market fit. You grind and preserve and you achieve the holy grail of product market fit. CEO walks over and says “It’s time to start scaling, give me a plan, how are you going to scale the product management team? Let’s chat in a few days”. At this moment you are probably thinking “whoa what? team? There is going to be more of me (PMs)?”

How can I do it? So many questions. Where do I start? How do I hire? What do I do?

Have no fear, read on.

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PM Personality types a.k.a Myers Briggs for PMs

The Myers Briggs Type indicator (MBTI) is used to understand your personality type. The idea behind the indicator is that if you understand your personality and default preferences then you are able to play to your strengths. In addition, by knowing your team’s preferences, you can communicate better with your teammates and thus become a high performing team.

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The ultimate guide to product management hiring, Part 2: The hiring process

This post is #2 in the series of “The ultimate guide to hiring PM’s”. Post #1 is here.

Continuing with the theme of approaching the hiring process as a product, the hiring process has two main goals:

  1. Targeting: Find the right person. Create an efficient interview process that provides a full view of the candidate.
  2. Conversion: Reduce the candidate’s friction. Once you have decided you want a person on your team, ensure you have the best method to convert the user (candidate) to a customer (full time hire).

Continue reading “The ultimate guide to product management hiring, Part 2: The hiring process”