The Process. Over Results

During the interview process for any profession. Topics will be discussed. Questions asked. The most important question for a product manager to be able to answer is:

What exactly would you do in your role as Product Manager?

This is the answer:

I would define a goal, analyze data/information quickly, use predictive indicators to gain efficiencies, calculate the range of outcomes, prioritize effort, execute plans, identify trends, adapt accordingly, think long term, measure success, audit progress, deliver value. Rinse and Repeat.

What exactly would I do?

That first initial question would trigger several follow-up questions that would multiply into more questions, and because I’m naturally an inquisitive person, those questions will also multiply and produce yet another layer of questions. From there it becomes about prioritizing those questions, first by deciding which level to start with. By that, I mean which exponential level of multiplication represents the most appropriate starting point to begin to gather data and information. The more time you have to gather information, the more macro the level you’re able to start with.

I would begin to gather information/data. Ideally, with full transparency. Information access and value-added obviously have a strong correlation for product managers. If we’re considering a limited timeframe, analyzing all the data available may not be plausible. At this point, processing just enough information to begin to recognize trends or patterns will have to suffice to unlock and expose predictive indicators needed to arrive at a reliable conclusion and manifest any remaining puzzle pieces.

My Ideas would scale. The ideas will come, immediately and continuously. They won’t be complete because ROI is like a puzzle. The first thing you do with a puzzle is separate and group the pieces with other similar related pieces. You take those pieces and they start to evolve into larger components. Ultimately fitting all the pieces together completes the picture.

I’d start to make some assumptions. I’d have more confidence in some, less in others. Basic assumptions I’d make assumptions on how revenue is generated. I have to assume adequate access to resources. I’ll use previous examples of acquisition, partnership, or production to get a good feel for the level of expertise these resources are capable of exhibiting.

The ability to evaluate anything should be innate for a product manager. When the time comes to convert the best ideas into solutions, is there a better person in the organization to evaluate those solutions? It’s been a while, but I’m confident it would only take a few seconds to find dozens of articles describing a product manager as “the CEO of the product”. This process should be the fun part for product managers.

The planets are aligning. Planning begins. The earliest versions of the roadmap will lay out exactly how and when the iterative value will be delivered to the customer. Subsequent versions will reveal a finely tuned minimum viable product. If we’ve remained committed to the fundamentals along our journey, spinning up the backlog should be like riding a bike for the well-integrated product owner.

At this point, the “I” in Product Manager has all but faded. Success is now measured through the wide lens of a strong team dynamic, well-defined objectives, and whether or not they lead to your company’s desired key results…