For those learning the Product Management discipline, Inspired is one of the best books you can start with. However, don’t take the book literally, Marty Cagan offers some extremely hazardous guidance in advocating for high-fidelity prototypes as the only means of shipping software:
We write to think
We write because you don’t know what you know
We write because it’s the only way to onboard others on your thoughts
Temporal knowledge vs durable knowledge
If you want to predict a competitors future moves, look at their leadership team’s previous moves.
This is summarized in a simple maxim I learned from Ben Gilad at the Academy for Competitive Intelligence:
Leaders repeat the strategies and tactics that get them promoted until those strategies and tactics get them fired.
Every discipline and domain has foundational texts. These texts are oft cited and under read.
They represent the dominant philosophy of the domain. For example in business: Innovator’s Dilemma, Crossing the Chasm, and Strategy books by Michael Porter.
Everyone cites their superficial perspectives. To be an expert in your domain you have to read the foundational texts. No matter how dense no matter how boring. You have to have a perspective. Otherwise you don’t have a point of view ok the foundations of your own domain and are suceptable to colleagues’ sophistry built upon misinterpretations.
Recently I’ve had the opportunity to work with a few talented Product Managers who are new to the discipline. So I decided to capture a few of my thoughts on onboarding in hopes that at it will be useful to others.
It’s still very much a work in progress, full of typos and incomplete thoughts, but please check it out even in this raw form and please share your thoughts.
Most accountable party. Product Management has accountability for defining what we deliver to our customers. However, what is a highly-opinionated question. Take for example a successful product like the fitbit…
The core asset an organization gains from seniority in the Product Management discipline is experience. Prior knowledge that is ready-to-hand for today’s problems as well as the unforeseen opportunities of tomorrow.
To grow in an organization — you must grow in experience. Most people think this is simply a function of years on the job or a function of how well you are excelling in your present job.
It’s a mindset that betrays us all:
Person: I’m really doing well at my role, I think I’m ready to get promoted.
Organization: The role you’re seeking requires a different mix of skills than the ones you’re using to succeed.
Simply put — you can be successful in a role without developing a breadth of experience. An organization gives raises for successful performance, an organization promotes for experience.
Your career is defined by your skills and how you’ve used them, not by any external measure of your progress.
Continue reading: Julie Zhou VP of Product Design, Facebook How to Think About Your Career