Every now and then, the Cranky Product Manager receives a sniveling email from a product manager who is being asked to do something outrageous such as put together a detailed product roadmap or forecast revenue for their product.
The email says things like “don’t you think it’s unreasonable for them to expect me to do these things?”, because the company never asked for it before or because the PM never received any training on how to do it.
Alas, the sentiment is not uncommon. At the Cranky Product Manager’s former employer, ChaoticSoft, she inherited a team of PMs who were so focused on feature-level requirements that they didn’t know how to write MRDs or strategic plans for products. Attempts to get them focused on strategic issues were met with the “but no one ever trained me” excuse.
To which the Cranky Product Manager says,
Shut the hell up and show some initiative.
Honestly. You’re a Product Manager for Cheezus’s sake. You’re supposed to be this pseudo-entrepreneur with all the responsibility for making your product a success. You know, like a mini-CEO of your product, except you don’t have to schmooze investors or deal with vulture capitalists or Wall Street.
Does your CEO whine that no one ever trained him to do CEO-like things?
So you shouldn’t either.
Instead of whining, DO something about it. Be the CEO of your own career.
Figure out what you need to learn. And then GO LEARN IT. Be resourceful. Figure it out. The Internet is full of resources you can use.
And don’t whine to your boss. It’ll just make you look bad.
Because if you can’t manage your own career, why should you be trusted to manage your product?