As the Esteemed Crankerati already know, the Cranky Product Manager has been creeping around the software product management universe for quite some time. Long enough that perhaps she should replace her blog’s masthead photo with a less youthful and more saggy derriere.
In that extended time, the Cranky Product Manager has encountered LOTS of product managers. Hundreds. And thus she’s heard about every lame product management excuse that ever existed.
So she’s here to ask — no, BEG — PLEASE, STOP IT! Please stop making EXCUSES for not doing your freakin’ job.
If you can’t do the Product Management job, if you don’t have what it takes, if you don’t have the passion and the drive, if you don’t have the scrappiness to figure out how to Get Shit Done (TM), well, PLEASE leave the profession. The Cranky Product Manager begs you.
In this economy, there are plenty of GOOD, resourceful, and influential product managers who will gladly step up and take your place. The world will be better for it. No doubt you will be happier too.
(Note that the Cranky Product Manager knows that you, as a wicked awesome and elite reader of this blog, would NEVER be so lame. But if you could please inform all the other PMs out there, she would be grateful).
So, let’s list some of the most common Product Management Complaints, and the Cranky Product Manager will explain why each is a freakin’ cop-out.
And SURE,some of these cop-outs have some validity. Some organizations are truly screwed up (trust the Cranky Product Manager, she KNOWS), and some people are real dysfunctionals. But just as you should NEVER call your former boss an idiot in a job interview because it makes YOU look bad — not your former boss — don’t say these things either. Especially in the Cranky Product Manager’s presence, and you never know, she might be your boss or your co-worker. So STFU. And Suck it Up, Buttercup.
EXCUSE #1: "The developers just do whatever they want because Product Management has no authority over Development."
Barf. And So WHAT. Probably only 1% of product managers in the world have ever had official authority over Development. Yet, somehow, every single day, product managers the world over manage to convince developers to take their direction. It’s called leadership. You do it by respecting people, gaining their respect back, and convincing them that your vision of the future is a compelling one.
And sorry to tell you, even if you had the power to fire every last developer tomorrow, well they still wouldn’t do what you wanted unless they bought into your vision. People with brains are like that. (OK, to keep their jobs, maybe they’d do 10% of what you want. But that’s it. They’d claim the rest was "technically impossible.")
If you want to whine that "all the responsibility and no authority" blahblah yet AGAIN, instead why not put a neon sign above your head that proclaims "I am a bottom 20% product manager, with no ability to lead or influence" instead? It would be less annoying to the rest of us.
SHAMELESS PLUG! Buy a "No Excuses Product Management" mug or t-shirt!
(This post is getting way too long, so it’s been broken into 4 parts. Tune in NEXT WEEK for Lame Ass Excuses #2 ("I didn’t get training"). Plus at least two more.
Also in No Excuses Product Management
- No Excuses Product Management (Part 1)
- No Excuses Product Management (Part 2)- Stop Whining About Training