August 23, 2017

Connect diverse teams like a Product Manager

The product team is like a small globe. Each team is a country. They have their own customs, practices, culture, and language. Whenever these countries need to connect, they need to send messages through airplanes -- communication channels. These airplanes have to go through the airport which is, in this case, the Product Manager. He makes sure that all the messages go through customs. He then redirects them to the right “connecting flights”. If there’s something wrong, he flags it and deals with it properly to prevent delays.

One of the product manager’s key roles is to connect the different teams he’s working with. Meaning that he usually plays the role of the bridge between the development and the business teams. Being an effective communicator that gets things done is definitely a challenge. Especially when most of the work requires a great deal of thinking, imagining, and putting together strategies. Being an information hub is a tough job. PMs need to optimize their process by:

Using the tools at their disposal as efficiently as they can

  • Hacking the tools in the sense where you make them work better for you. Each team has their own practices so finding the best way make your tools work for you can be the difference between doing good and doing great.

Giving feedback any chance they get

  • Feedback is essential to the growth of the team but also to each person in the company. Constructive feedback helps them (a) better assess their skills, (b) adapt them according to what’s needed, and (c) submit the right content that was expected of them, if not better.

Empathizing with their teams

  • When the PM identifies the needs of the team members, it becomes easier for him to manage them. Knowing their people and what makes them tick helps them better connect and that improves the quality of their work.

Being proactive

  • One thing PMs need to master more than anything is predicting problems before they happen. PMs have to stay on top of everything. At all times. Only then their teams succeed and their products break the charts.

Investigating the problems as soon as they arise

  • The thing is that, no matter how much a PM is alert, they are bound to miss something. Then, it’s time for an investigation. Going back in the team’s tracks is not the easiest job, but it’s the only one that will uncover the blocker.

Keeping a high-level overview of the current project(s)

  • Working so close to the product causes the PM to lose the bigger image. Chances are, they are working on more than just one project. That’s why keeping a grasp of the full progress of each project is the PM’s priority and challenge.

PMs face countless challenges every day as they try to meet their deadlines and deliver properly and on time. However, one of the biggest struggles is the ability to supervise the project at both a high-level and detailed-level.