Twelve months ago, I became Product Manager in an AdTech. Our main value is to create beautiful and smart adformats on desktop and mobile for advertisers. Products have to be well built for our clients (the advertisers), our publishers and our end users (people that are surfing websites). Our products are a variety of things, including formats and interfaces.
This job is thrilling because it implies a lot of interactions within the company and we have to address a lot of different people with our formats.
When I started, I realized that even if you can explain your idea in person, providing a “working” prototype is better than ever, as you won’t have to explain the whole product/feature and people will be able to discuss over it, find solutions and get to work on it even better than if you would haven’t done it. So, I give the advice to take (more) time in advance to work on a functional prototype in order to make the developer’s job easier and more quickly actionable.
Yes, a paper is from my perspective, the best way to start designing your ideas as your brain can design directly through your hand. Then, you have to let your idea make his path and make mistakes, then iterate. Also, I understood that you have to let your idea maturate during days in order for you to review it later and confront it to your counterparts. Then, once the idea is stabilized, you can start digitalizing it.
Humility is the key in this job and I personally think that working in a respectful environment is key to well-being at work and productivity. Thus, don’t assume things and don’t hesitate to say “I don’t know” when you actually don’t know. You will learn a lot and putting ego aside is always better as we grow.
I realized that it is very important to speak to people that use products you work on. It can be clear that a good PM speak to these people but when we are stuck in routine, it is hard to defocus on work and just talk and understand their experience from their point of view. I recommend creating a feedback routine, wether you are in B to B or B to C, there are plenty of ways to do so (internal tool: just talk often with your colleagues, consumer app : select people that talk about you on twitter and ask them to know their pain points and why they are using your app).
Let them talk and don’t chase for solutions, chase for problems, solutions will come later.
You know these simple words such as “just”, “only” or “small”. You can use them in a sentence that sounds like “It’s just this only small feature that I want to add”. Actually, it’s not that simple, and this sentence is very dangerous as it minimize other people’s work using words. You must sit on their side and understand the difficulty of the asked task, don’t minimize their diagnosis, because you don’t know everything and you don’t master the entire amount of work hidden “small” tasks. But, trust your guts on when you get cheated about an answer.
You have to let your brain process information in order to enhance creativity.
Indeed, our daily lives are struggled by efficiency and productivity. I made the mistake to create things fast and deliver early. It is a good thing, but I realized that taking time to reconsider my work the next days helped me see things I couldn’t see earlier. You have to let your brain process information in order to enhance creativity.
You know that moment where you are dedicated to the task you are doing. When you could have not finished it because no one will ever see this project again and because it does not worth it to loose time to close it. It is precisely the moment to do it good, to finish it properly, even if no one is watching. The product department should be the responsible of quality inside the company. Thus, he has to create the envy and dynamic for other people to do things in the right direction, with the right guidelines, according to the business purpose.
Having a point of view about what should be done and how is necessary. Indeed, having a purpose-oriented mind is better in order to create and design logically. Purpose-driven companies are often more successful, see this FastCompany article.
Wether it is making the Q/A or checking metrics, a delivered product should always be maintained over time. I realized it because metrics help you driving your actions and prioritize your tasks. Don’t hesitate to be clear on what you want or don’t because you are the main creator of your product, if it has to be deprecated, it’s your duty to ensure you that it will be properly done.
Once a coworker told me : “Small mouth and big ears”, I will never forget this precious advice as when you are in your company or at home. Speak only when it useful and the remaining time, just sit and listen to other people. I then realized that during my whole professional life, I worked as a Product manager, making all of these.
It is hard to define and literature is poor as it is a new job in the landscape. Let me explain myself about the last one :
Also shared on Medium.