Category: Blog Business

Cranky Product Manager #Fail.

The Cranky Product Manager sincerely apologizes, but there will be no book. No tome entitled ‘Product Management, the Cranky Way’.

This was an effort that so many of you generously supported via KickStarter, and the Cranky Product Manager is so very sorry to let you down. She is also deeply disappointed in herself.

Writing this book was a long-term dream of the Cranky Product Manager. She really wanted to share what she’s learned about product management, and maybe share some of the humor and pain as well. She was motivated to contribute to the field and the profession she loved.

But, alas, the book has defeated the Cranky Product Manager. There are many reasons, but it’s mostly because she’s a working mom with a demanding job, plus two small children for whom she is primary caretaker. The family is her absolute top priority, and the job is second because it helps keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. All attempts to fit other, lower priority activities — like writing — into the schedule have left the Cranky Product Manager feeling extremely overextended, stressed out, and sleep deprived, which meant she couldn’t be at her best for her family, colleagues, or customers.

The situation is unlikely to change for some years because the kids are still small. To finish this book in the near future, the CPM would have to see a lot less of her family, and that feels like the exact opposite of what her kids need right now.

The other major reason? The Cranky Product Manager sucks at writing books. She can’t keep such a large thing in her head at once, and this caused all kinds of problems, resulting in an unreadable 600-page blob at one point. If you’re interested in the details, you’ll find them in the "FAQ" at the bottom of this post.

In hindsight, the Cranky Product Manager should have realized that writing a book was too ambitious at this point in life. When she hatched this KickStarter campaign in 2012, she had only returned to full-time work just two weeks earlier, after a maternity leave and working part-time for several months. Already, she was already having difficulty keeping up with the blog. Why the Cranky Product Manager thought a book would be less time-consuming than a blog can only be chalked up to extreme naivete!

And so again, the Cranky Product Manager sincerely apologizes. She knows that you all believed in her, and you all supported her. She’s so sorry to let you down, and so disappointed in herself. She expects many of you will be angry, and she finds that very understandable. She takes full responsibility. She will do what it takes to make it right for each and every one of you. She hopes that you will eventually forgive her.

So this is what is going to happen.

  1. You’ll get back 100% of the money you contributed. Because KickStarter does not have a built-in way to refund money, it will be a semi-manual process that will take a few weeks. The Cranky Product Manager strongly prefers to do refunds via PayPal transfers, to avoid even more transaction fees (she’s already in the hole from KickStarter fees), but if that won’t work for you, we’ll find another way.

    • Within a week, she’ll contact you via a Kickstarter survey, to gather the details needed to send you money via PayPal.
    • If PayPal won’t work for you, make sure you tell me in the survey. I’ll then contact you individually so we can figure out another way to get money to you, even if I have to mail cash in a paper envelope.
    • WARNING: the refund process will take a few weeks (money has to be moved around and there are waiting periods, plus there’s a lot of manual bookkeeping involved), but it should be all done before Christmas.
  2. The Cranky Product Manager will occasionally publish content over the next year, but it will not be in a big book. Instead, it will be in long articles and e-books that each focus on a specific topic (such as Market Feedback Programs or Doing Product Strategy). After all, the Cranky Product Manager did write a bunch of stuff already, and she doesn’t want it to completely go to waste.

    But the CPM now realizes that she cannot make any promises about dates, given that this is basically a hobby and will always be lower priority than family and job.

    Note that as a former supporter of this project, you will be entitled to any e-books for free. If you want, she’ll email you a note when they are ready.

  3. Last but not least, the Cranky Product Manager thanks you. Even though she never managed to write this thing, the research and writing process made her a far more knowledgeable and capable product leader. At the beginning, she had a lot of experience and practical knowledge, but writing forced her to dissect all her beliefs about product management under a microscope and learn more — lots more. She researched deeply, learned from others, and did on-the-job experiments. As a result, she has made some big changes to the way she "does" product management, and is much more effective and knowledgeable than before.

Thank you for the opportunity you gave me and for your generous support. I sincerely regret that I was unable to deliver.

FAQ on the Failure of the Cranky Book

Q: What did the Cranky Product Manager find so difficult about writing a book versus writing shorter articles?

A book can hold a lot of stuff, and somehow the Cranky Product Manager thought she’d be able to stuff everything — yes, everything — she knows about product management into just one book. Alas, turns out she could fill around 10 books.

Having too much to say led to much difficulty structuring the book and letting go of the non-essential. Because she only had time to work on the book sporadically, she’d go sometimes go 5-20 days between writing sessions, and would then forget what she had already written. For instance, she’d forget that she had already introduced a topic, and so would introduce it again in a different section.

Result: the book soon became a big rats’ nest of overlapping content and unconnected topics without a central narrative. At one point, the book had ballooned up to 600 pages (mostly bullet points, alas), and read like The World’s Most Boring yet Schizophrenic PRD.

At other points, the writing process made the Cranky Product Manager realize she didn’t know a topic as well as she thought. So, she’d go off and extensively research, say, product editioning, metrics-based Product Management, end-of-life best practices, or whatnot. But then she couldn’t bring herself to actually write about these new ideas without first trying them out for real, on the job. And in trying them out, she’d learn so much more and have new ideas that she wanted to try out and write about….and so on and so on…Result? More delays.

Finally, a proper structure for this book never emerged despite dozens and dozens of attempts.

Q: Why didn’t the Cranky Product Manager apply what she knows about Product Management to the writing of this book?

Excellent question, dear reader. The same thought has popped into the Cranky Product Manager’s head on many occasions. The irony is super thick. As the Cranky Product Manager wrote about the virtues of Agile, she ensnared herself in a very Waterfall approach to writing. And not surprisingly, the results were similar to what she’s seen with many waterfall projects: bloated, poor usability, where the product does not "hang together properly," and then the product ultimately fails.

In retrospect, it seems obvious that she should have used a more Agile approach, doing one chapter — or even smaller — at a time, releasing early drafts instead of fully baked chapters, soliciting frequent feedback, etc. In fact, a few readers explicitly recommended she go Agile after the second schedule slip.

So, why did the Cranky Product Manager resist "going Agile"?

  1. Rightly or wrongly, the Cranky Product Manager viewed the book as "Art" more than "Product." With Art, the artist has a vision of what he/she wants to create, achieve, and give to the world. The satisfaction of realizing the creative vision, which was fully born and germinated inside the artist’s head alone–without compromise driven from the outside–is what drives artists. The desire to achieve her specific artistic vision is what drove the Cranky Product Manager in this endeavor. It was what drove the blog, as well.

  2. She believed an Agile process would suck the humor right out of the book.. The Cranky Product Manager knows damn well that her snarky-assed sense of humor/tragedy is the only thing that distinguishes her blog from countless others on Product Management, and is the only reason this book ever got funding. So the book had to be funny. But all humor relies on SURPRISE. There’s a reason why comedians don’t do Beta tests with their actual audience. The Cranky Product Manager worried that putting out early partial drafts, before she had fully figured out the jokes, would suck the humor right out of the book.

The Cranky Product Manager now realizes the folly of at least #1. But for #2, she is still not sure. With Agile methods, she might have been able to deliver a decent book. But it probably would not have been funny.

Defending the CPM’s Fictional Name

You “regular” people will probably never understand this, but it is TOUGH TOUGH TOUGH being a fictional product management celebrity. (Please, cry for me, Argentina.)

For one, the paparazzi never leave you alone.

Second, you never get any “real-world” Web-2.0 cred – even at a time when everyone else is vomiting  “social media brand-building” all over their resumes.  Well, guess who has more social media cred than 95% of you?  THE CRANKY PRODUCT MANAGER, THAT’S WHO.  But does the Cranky PM get to brag about such things on her “real world” resume, and maybe angle for a better paying job (or at least keep the one she has)?   HELL NO. In this respect, the CPM’s “real world” resume looks like a 60-year-old grandma’s (see note 1).

Third drawback?  Well, every now and then, an attention-whoring, self-promoting, link-baiting JACKASS has the AUDACITY to call you FICTIONAL! 

GAH!  How DARE he? That JACKASS!

But then the CPM is like, “Well, DUH, of COURSE I’m fictional!” 

But CRIPES it ticks her off, especially when he further posits that the CPM is a project of a commercial firm, written by someone who is familiar with product management but never had the role, and that the author is just making shit up in her posts. 

So the CPM debated the issue with herself: 

CHOICE #1: Bitch about it on Twitter for 60 seconds and then move on.  Reasons for:

  1. Attempting to “prove” the CPM’s legitimacy might compromise her real-world identity.
  2. What this Jackass wants – DESPERATELY, more than ANYTHING — is for the Cranky PM to send her 5000+ regular readers to his site. all so the Jackass can attempt to convince them to buy training from HIM.  (not gonna happen…)
  3. Tom Grant already defended the Cranky Product Manager’s honor on her behalf.  Why beat a dead horse?

CHOICE #2:  Defend self & take The Jackass to task. Reasons for:

  1. The Cranky Product Manager rarely backs away from a fight, especially when her FAMILY NAME is besmirched so scandalously.  She has the scars from many a middle-school scuffle to prove it.  
  2. The Cranky Product Manager is extremely flawed, prideful, and dumb. Emphasis on dumb.

Hmm…. Well, Choice #1 seems to be the most rational, thoughtful choice.  But the CPM has been dealing all day with a whining toddler who has apparently forgotten everything about using the potty.  She is on her last nerve and therefore she unwisely picks Choice #2.

SO, FOR THE RECORD, the following is THE TRUTH:

  1. The Cranky Product Manager is written by an INDIVIDUAL, with occasional guest posters and the help of a “Cranky Sales Engineer” friend.  All guest posts are clearly labeled.  The Cranky Product Manager is NOT the project of a commercial firm or product management organization.  The Cranky PM only WISHES she was actually paid to blog or had regular help to keep this schtick up.  (Hear that, Pragmatic /Sequent /ZigZag /Pivotal /Enthiosys /PDMA /280 Group /Rally /AIPMM /Blackbot – and yes, you, Aass University?   BUY ME!  The CPM will gladly entertain any reasonable offer. She is a capitalist, after all.)
  2. As is abundantly apparent to every reader EXCEPT The Jackass, the Cranky Product Manager’s author is a REAL product manager at and has been for <insert number between 5 and 15> years at <insert number greater than two> software vendors and online services.
  3. Regarding the story The Jackass claims “didn’t happen,” and thus cites as “proof” that the CPM is not a real product manager….well, SORRY, Jackass, but it DID happen. Not to the Cranky Product Manager personally, as is the case with 75% of the stories in this blog (seriously, the CPM would have a seriously sucky real-world life if all this crap really happened to one person), but to a <former/current> co-worker who is indeed a product manager.

The Jackass claims any PM would be fired if s/he called sales people to develop a product forecast.  OK… well, maybe if the product manager was enslaved at one of those dreary companies with which The Jackass is familiar, where the primary (sole?) function of the so-called Product Manager is “keeper of the tick-list.”  The Cranky Product Manager can’t comment on that type of company because she has never — and would never – work at a place with such an profoundly limited view of the product management role; her jobs have always had more of a “Product Leader” (both tactical and strategic), “Voice of the Market,” and “Buck Stops Here” emphasis.

But even at that dismal type of company, the PM would NOT be fired if the CEO ordered her to call individual sales reps to build a forecast.  Seriously, Jackass, did you even READ the post

The Cranky Product Manager has to say, she is really dismayed by The Jackass’s small-minded view of product management, especially given his own history in the PM trenches.  Thank Cheezus she never worked for or with him. Keeper of the Tick-list! GAH!  The CPM thought we left that  limited definition behind over 10 years ago. 

That The Jackass is out there proselytizing this outmoded view… well it makes the CPM sad. Very sad. Because he might be undoing the good work others (including the PM training firms that The Jackass disparages) have done educate senior executives and to show how the product management role can operate at its finest.  And, frankly, it’s an insult to PMs everywhere for him to present the 5% of the job that is the most boring and trivial as the whole picture of the product management profession. 

But, gentle readers, it might surprise you that the Cranky PM agrees with the Jackass on one main point:  if  the PM function reports into you, if you think product management’s main job is maintaining the tick-list, and if you simply cannot be convinced otherwise, well then the Cranky Product Manager URGES you to do what the Jackass recommends.  Automate away the PM role with some kind of feature voting tool. 

Why? Because the CPM does not want to WASTE HER TIME applying for your so-called “product management” job.  She’d rather focus her energy on companies that want someone to research customer problems, to be the voice of the MARKET (and not just current customers), to develop visions and road maps for the product’s future, to develop business cases and product strategies, to shepherd new products from concept to reality, and to properly position products and successfully launch them.  And she will then KICK YOUR PRODUCT’S ASS since you ignored all those activities, concentrating on “feature votes” from current customers instead of focusing on the MARKET problems and solutions that land the customers you don’t yet have, and thus providing the only real avenue for growth.

‘Nuff said.  Now excuse the Cranky Product Manager while she gets back to getting a fictional pedicure while sipping a fictional margarita on a fictional tropical beach.

(Oh, and thanks to Tom Grant for chivalrously defending the Cranky Product Manager’s honor.)

————-

Note 1: For those of you who suggest that the Cranky PM’s real world author establish her own independent social media presence…. well, she tried that.  Let’s just say it is the road to madness and to getting caught. If you are a highly distractible and semi-careless individual like the Cranky PM, you will — without a doubt — tweet/email/blog/update from the wrong account.  Trust her. She’s done it, a few times.  How the Cranky Product Manager’s true identity continues to remain a secret is a miracle.

All You Ever Wanted To Know About The Cranky Product Manager (well, not quite)

Yo, the Cranky Product Manager has a few loose ends to clear up.  Questions from readers that have gone unanswered, things the CPM promised to do but forgot about, things she meant to do, … that type of thing.

First off, the Cranky Product Manager needs to send a shout-out to cartoonist extraordinaire and human behind the Meeshka World blog.  She did all the cartoons for the 7 Types of Engineers.   The Cranky PM was a beeyotch and forgot to publicly thank Meeshka’s person for all the help.  THANKS!

Second, some answers to questions the Cranky Product Manager was asked long ago and neglected to answer:

1. “Cranky Product Manager, are you really a woman?

Yes. The author of this blog is indeed in possession of two X chromosomes, other feminine body equipment, and an ass that goes on for days.  And days.  Hmm… Ok, well, maybe weeks….

…Years, anyone?

2. “Is this blog really written by just one person?”

Yes. With the exception of one post that was clearly labeled as a guest post back in August, every single post has come from the tortured mind of one –and JUST one — sarcastic and embittered (but WICKED AWESOME) individual.

So far, that is.  The Cranky Product Manager is getting a little burned out on blogging lately, and wouldn’t mind getting some help.  A blog is a beast that must be constantly fed — no time for rest unless you want your readership to plummet like the real estate market.  So expect some guest posts in the future, but they will all be clearly labeled.

(AS IN TOMORROW.  GUEST POST TOMORROW.)

If you are interested in being a guest poster, drop the Cranky Product Manager an email (crankypm AT crankypm.com) or send her a tweet.  Three rules for guest posting: 1) be cranky, 2) don’t be sexist/racist, 3) replace swears with more PG-rated phrases.

3. “Has this blog changed hands at any point?”

No. This blog was started in June 2006 and for the past 2.5 years has been written by one person — the SAME pathetic person the entire time.

4. “Cranky PM, is that really your ass in the blog’s masthead photo?”

Only in the Cranky Product Manager’s fantasies.  And this blog is her fictional fantasy, where she gets to tell everyone exactly what she thinks.

5. “Have you sold out?”

Hah! That would imply someone is buying.  Yes, the Cranky Product Manager tries to make a few bucks to cover web hosting costs and her obscene triple-grande-nonfat-latte habit via:

  1. Google AdSense ads
  2. Some Amazon Affiliates links to products she honestly likes
  3. By selling mugs and t-shirts

The above are the only attempts at revenue — no pay-per-post shenanigans, no recommending products the CPM doesn’t actually like, none of that crap.

But pretty much none of you click on ads or buy mugs, so BIG THANKS for that.

6. “Do I know you, Cranky Product Manager?”

Probably not.  But wondering is half the fun, isn’t it?

7. “Help! I’m a female PM who is somewhat blunt and EVERYONE accuses me of being the Cranky Product Manager. What should I do?”

Do what the Cranky Product Manager does. Deny it. Flat out. Say “It’s not me. In fact I feel sorry for her, she seems like such a bitter person.”

That’s right, you heard it. The real Cranky Product Manager just lies when confronted with that most-dreaded question. Right after she has a panic attack, throws up in her wastebasket, and starts sweating profusely.

Twitter Experiment

OK, the Cranky Product Manager heard that all the Cool Kids are doing this thing called “Twitter” which involves sending “tweets” and getting a phone full of SMSs with critical information, such as what your BFF ate for breakfast that morning.

So, in an effort to recapture her already-spent youth and waste even MORE time than EVER before — because god knows she doesn’t already have enough to do — the Cranky Product Manager has signed up for Twitter.

FURTHER, the CPM has committing to sending some tweets.  At least a few.  About what, who knows?  Because remember, the Cranky Product Manager is a fictional character with a very fictional life, and as such her Tweets will be fictional too.  In other words, ALL LIES ALL THE TIME.

Unfortunately, keeping track of a morass of lies is complicated business.  Will the CPM be able to do it?  Or will she introduce ridiculous continuity errors into the narrative? Will she look like a jackass?  Will she be unable to maintain her snarky and bitter fictional persona when called upon to “assume the character” a few times a day intead of once or twice a week?  We’ll see.

Anyway, if you’re interested, follow the Cranky Product Manager at www.twitter.com/crankypm.

Oooh la la for Alltop

Hey you!  Look over there —->

You will notice there is a fantastically red and circular badge-thingy over there on the right, emblazoned with the name “Alltop.”

YES, the Alltop Gods on Mount Olympus — of which the hunky Guy Kawasaki is the numero uno Big God (and YES, the Cranky Product Manager does think Guy is hot) — have created a Product Management category.  And OH MY GOD they’ve listed the Cranky Product Manager as one of the top blogs on product management.

As you all know, this corner of the blogulastic universe is overrun with hundreds of thousands of product management blogs (ok, well in reality there are maybe 25-30 PM bloggers) so it is a big honor to be selected one of the _28_ listed in Alltop. Yep.

Now, at LAST, the Cranky Product Manager’s sense of self worth has been restored.  It had been hard-going since high school, when those mean cheerleaders made fun of the future-CPM for being captain of the Math Team. And for always getting food stuck in her hair. And for being a dork.  But now, at last, all right is with the world.  In YOUR FACE, mean cheerleaders!  The Cranky Product Manager is featured in Alltop!  What about YOU, beeyotches???

THANK YOU ALLTOP GODS, THANK YOU!

—–

Ok, now that we got that out of the way, let the Cranky Product Manager exercise her constitutional right to be cranky and skeptical. Please, someone, tell the Cranky Product Manager what truly is the big deal about Alltop?  It kind of reminds the Cranky Product Manager of Yahoo! back in 1997 – a quaint little human-generated listing of websites, classified by categories.  The Cranky Product Manager could export her bookmarks and create a similar site in an afternoon.

Honestly, she thinks that the smartest thing about Alltop is that they’re getting all the “specially selected bloggers” to write the most obsequious blah-blah articles about them, with some bloggers even claiming Alltop to be a “disruptive business model relative to the New York Times“.  Gack. You’ve gotta be kidding the Cranky Product Manager.

(Biting the hand that feeds her is the Cranky Product Manager’s speciality.  Let’s see if she CPM gets kicked out of Alltop now. She hopes not.)

Finally, an Award for a Product Manager.

The Cranky Product Manager, like most good product managers, usually wins nothing. Absolutely nothing.

OK, that’s a lie. As a wee lass in grammar school, the Cranky Product Manager “won” an immense collection green “participant” and “good sport” ribbons.  In any prepubescent contest — be it the broad jump, the spelling bee, or the flexed arm hang — you could count on the Cranky Product Manager to be solidly mediocre, yet her elementary school teachers would fawn over her “achievements” lest they shatter her fragile self esteem. Alas, it did not work.

Sorry,… a digression… Back to it…

While the Cranky Product Manager’s PRODUCTS have won a few honors – most notably KICKING THE C&$# out of the COMPETITION in the market - the Cranky Product Manager HERSELF has won very few awards in her career.  Computer Weekly Blog Awards

Until now. The Cranky Product Manager is pleased and simultaneously shocked to have won SECOND PLACE in the Computer Weekly Blog Awards.

A BIG thanks to all who voted for her after her pathetic begging last month. Thanks. This is a big fraking deal, you know. No really, it is. Seriously.

OK, so it is only second place and not first.

And it is for the “Best ProJECT management blog” a topic the Cranky Product Manager does not write about.

And clearly it was a link bait attempt by Computer Weekly.

Whatever. It still feels good. When you write anonymously, any amount of validation is welcome. Especially when all you have is a bunch of green ribbons. And you pathetically crave attention and fame, yet ironically blog anonymously.

So thanks for voting!

And welcome any new readers. You won’t learn about how often to administer beatings to developers nor how to manage project risks here, but you will find the rantings and ravings of a woman trying to  make her company a few bucks by selling software that actually solves some real problems for customers.

Favorite Google Searches

The Cranky Product Manager has been hanging out in the blogosphere for 2+ years now, and is thus well-indexed by Google and its ilk.

Odds are YOU first arrived here via a search – seems like most people do.  And if you did, The CPM would lay bets that you are an “odd individual”, to put it politely.

Seriously, you’re a very strange bunch.  Check out your searches below.

Most “Interesting” Searches

  1. product manager puke during interview
  2. list of all the cuss words
  3. golf trip whores
  4. engineers and product marketing fist fights
  5. define hooker in scrum project management
  6. internet restraining order
  7. pms haiku
  8. present beautiful whores
  9. why the british suck
  10. world’s worst haiku
  11. software release manager personality disorder
  12. lick hot trade show booth babes

Lots of Love to You Too

  1. product managers are idiots
  2. i hate product managers
  3. product managers are assholes
  4. damn product managers
  5. thanks to product management the product failed
  6. dilbert the vp of product management
  7. my product manager is stupid

Most Common Searches  (there were 10+ variations of each of these)

  1. how much does a product manager make
  2. all of the responsibility and none of the authority
  3. do you need an mba for product management
  4. best product management blog
  5. life of a product manager
  6. cynical product manager
  7. how to interview a product manager
  8. new product manager what to do first
  9. responsibilities software product management

Stalker Searches – How Dare You Try to “Out” the Cranky Product Manager!?!

  1. “real name” “cranky product manager”
  2. anna smith product manager
  3. dysfunctosoft
  4. is cranky product manager named ….
  5. where does the cranky product manager work

Shameless Begging

Holy grande triple latte. The Cranky Product Manager has been nominated for a big-league award. And it is an award that requires that you be a humungous super genius, no lie. Totally.

Guess which one it is?

The CPM knows what you’re thinking. It goes like this: “WOW, the CPM must have been invited to speak at this year’s TED Conference! Alas, you are incorrect. For some reason TED did not deem the embittered rantings of a spat-upon, cynical product manager to be worthy of a speaking slot. Assholes.

Computer Weekly Blog Awards Shortlist: Project ManagementInstead, the Cranky Product Manager has been nominated for a far more prestigious award: The ComputerWeekly.com IT Blog Awards 2008 in the IT Project Management Category. And in case you are as ill-informed as the CPM, note that ComputerWeekly is based in the UK.

Mind you, this is a big fraking deal. Oh shut up. The Cranky Product Manager sees you rolling your eyes and muttering to yourself “Oy vey. Yet another blogular awards scam. Some website invents a bunch of blog awards — all a scheme to get nominated bloggers to link back to the award bestower’s site with ‘vote for me’ posts.”

To which the Cranky Product Manager says, shut the hell up already. She knows the score. She’s perfected the fine art of cynicism after all. But, shit, her self-esteem is in the toilet after the whole TED thing. And because she’s never gotten an award related to her profession before, other than “Best Requirements Document” (an award that made her mother SO fraking proud).

An aside…  Lest you think the CPM’s lack of amassed awards must mean she is not so great at her job, let her remind you that 1) She is a Product Management Goddess and no one does it as fantastically as she, ask anyone, and 2) She’s not in Sales where they give you 4 or 5 awards a year if you manage to wipe your own ass without the help of your District Manager.  She’s in Product Management, the land of no awards, ever.

Back to business.  To make a tedious story short, the Cranky PM is actually genuinely psyched to get nominated, even though it is not quite for a MacArthur. She is very vain yet highly insecure and pathetically craves the validation.

So — begging here — stop yer eye rolling and go to the ComputerWeekly.com site and vote for The Cranky Product Manager.  You know you want to. Please?

The Cranky Backside

The Cranky Product ManagerSince starting this blog a few short weeks ago, the Cranky Product Manager has become an Internet celebrity of sorts, her email inbox overflowing with two, maybe even three, emails.

The Cranky Product Manager knows full well that her massive fanbase has an unquenchable thirst for information about her crankiness and crankitude. She will indulge you by answering a few “commonly” asked questions.

1) Why doesn’t the Cranky Product Manager post more often?

Because she is working 70 hours a week as an actual product manager, simultaneously pushing one major release of her product line out the door while researching and planning for the next one. Rest assured, it is not because the Cranky Product Manager actually has “a life.”

2) Why is the Cranky Product Manager so cranky?

Despite popular legend, the Cranky PM is not naturally cranky. She was made that way by all the over-confident developers, incompetent marketers, unrealistic customers, indecisive prospects, hysterical sales people, unknowedgeable support engineers, annoying competitors, whorish industry analysts, idiotic magazine reporters, effed-up airlines, unfathomably bad drivers, and her egotistical fellow product managers.

3) Is the blog photo a genuine depiction of the Cranky backside?

Alas, no. The Cranky Product Manager has never had jeans that fit so well. And frankly, fit aside, it is debatable whether her posterior is as slim as that depicted in the photo. (Although the Cranky Product Manager’s better half, aka Delightful Husband, assures her that it is. Smart man.)

Who is the Cranky Product Manager?

The Cranky Product Manager The Cranky Product Manager is a fictional product management professional at a fictional enterprise software vendor named DysfunctoSoft.  These are her fictional stories.

The Cranky PM has been officially in product management for many years, but before that spent time in the trenches as a developer and professional services slave.  All told, she’s been working in tech for lots of years, at companies ranging from itty-bitty startups to IBM-sized behemoths. 

The Cranky Product Manager’s personality flaws and character failings include a passion for sodium-encrusted food, snarkiness, cynicism, abject driving skills, bluntness, and an absolute inability to tolerate pompous jackasses.

The Cranky Product Manager has decided to fulfill her lifelong ambition of one day referring to herself in the third person. This blog is the product of this misguided goal, when combined with a lust for fame, the antithetical desire for anonymity, and a vast store of cynicism that must be vented in order to preserve her mental health.

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Addendum: Just to make it perfectly clear: this blog is fiction, although “inspired” (as Disney would phrase it) by the true-life experiences of a real software product manager, her colleagues, and her friends. The characters described in this blog are not real people; they are compilations of common software industry personality types that the author has encountered during her career. As they say, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Do not try to figure out who the author of the Cranky Product Manager blog is, because her life is completely different than the Cranky Product Manager’s.  FOR EXAMPLE, the author may not even be a product manager any more. She might no longer even work in software. Perhaps the author is a lot more experienced than her snarky, although naive, fictional alter-ego. Hell, the author might not even be a “SHE” for all you know!