Like many (most?) software companies, DysfunctoSoft is goin’ through some hard times. Q3 sales sucked and then that whole October-through-now financial meltdown thing happened.
So the axe fell. And as it often does, the head-cutting machete hit Product Management extraordinarily and disproportionately hard.
(Out of respect for fallen comrades, the Cranky Product Manager will not be making any of her signature lame attempts at humor in this here blog post.)
The Cranky Product Manager had to lay off one of her team members. This really sucked. Big Time. The guy was a really good PM – he was absolutely fantastic with the Sales team, although less so with Development. But, alas, the Cranky Product Manager is also really good with Sales, and less so with Development. Thus, she needed to keep the dev-focused Product Managers instead.
(Lesson: If your strengths and weaknesses are the same as your boss, your boss will adore you and “get” you, but might lay you off more readily.)
When the dust settled after DysfunctoSoft’s Week of Carnage, one third of the entire product management team was gone. Much worse than Sales. Far better than IT.
All this badness got the Cranky Product Manager making lists and rating stuff. She now presents her list of software company job functions, ordered from most likely to be canned in bad times to least likely.
MOST LIKELY TO BE LAID OFF IN A BAD ECONOMY
- Internal Training
- Customer Support
- Product Management
- Marketing (PR, Corporate, Events, Website, Lead Generation, Analyst Relations, …)
- Product Marketing
- Professional Services
- Human Resources (need someone around to help cut those heads)
- Telesales / Inside Sales
- Investor Relations
- Sales Reps & Sales Engineering
- Finance (because the CFO wields the axe but spares his own team)
LEAST LIKELY TO BE LAID OFF IN A BAD ECONOMY
Conclusion: Product Management is cut much too early and too deeply compared to other functions, especially when you take into account how critically important good product management is to the success of the company. The Cranky PM is no finance expert, but she’s been told this is because PM often falls under the “R&D” cost bucket on the income statement, and thus competes with Engineering and QA for funds, even if Product Management does not report to Engineering and is in its own Products organization. In contrast, Marketing falls under the usually much bigger and more fungible “SG&A” cost bucket.
Is this right? The Cranky Product Manager would appreciate any corrections or comments on this.