Ten Product Manager Tips

  1. Demo in a development or local environment with the end-users. Even if it seems like a simple update, you will build trust with the end-users and they will probably provide some great ideas that you had not considered.
  2. Know the boundaries of your product. Don't be all things to all people. Be very, very good at what you do. If you see an opportunity elsewhere, build a new product instead of Frankensteining your product.
  3. Make crappy wireframes. Take screenshots and notate what you want to change. Your ideas are not as concise as you think. Even a simple screenshot notation will help clean up any miscommunication.
  4. Find the limits of your product and know what is possible. If you are asked to change those limits, you might be able to but might also need to get someone with authority to extend your product's capabilities. Just because it can be done doesn't mean it should be done.
  5. Give yourself reminders. I use Jira subscriptions to send me weekly and monthly emails to remind me of the items I might forget. My list contains stale cases, cases that need updated, critical cases, and planning work for the next quarter. Most likely, the software you are using will have similar functionality.
  6. Dig into the real problem. Most of the time, people will describe their symptoms and not the real problem. Ask, "What is the problem?" listen and then ask, "Okay, so what is the real problem?"
  7. Quantify the size of the problem. Some problems are not worth fixing, even if they are a pain for the end-users.
  8. Know the scope of your work and push additional work to the subsequent phases of work. You will need to say no, but you can also say "no for now" and put reasonable requests into your backlog.
  9. Spend time with designers or someone who isn't familiar with your product. They will help you have clearer communication, which will help your developers develop faster.
  10. Ask how questions to yourself and your developers. Be curious about your product. Think about upstream and downstream processes. Creative solutions come more easily when you know the "why" and are curious about the "how."