August 24, 2017

High-level visibility or detail digging? Or both, equally

As we mentioned in our previous blog, PMs work so close to the product they sometimes lose track of the bigger image. They need high-level visibility for the overall progress but also a close-up scope to detect problems and fix them.

Supervise the project at high-level

High-level visibility is very important for the PM. However, it happens that they lose track of the project they’re working on. That’s why they always need to keep a distant higher view of the overall advancement, the successfully hit milestones, and the predicted problems ahead. But this simple task is much harder than it seems.

PMs need to have all the information available in order to assess the wins and risks. They need to know what everyone has done, is doing, as is still yet to do. This, however, depends on many factors, half of which are human/behavioral. At high-level, the PM can only see what’s on the communication channels. They can’t see the missed calls to action, the “I’ll check it later”, and all the forgotten requests for feedback.

This is when delays happen. It’s also when PMs need to move back to the close-up looks to try and figure out what went wrong.

Dig deeper into all the issues that arise

Solving problems, either serious or minor, starts with identifying the cause. But of course, it is easier said than done. In the world of product, anything can be the cause of a huge delay! Even minor unanswered CTA may be the company’s biggest issue.

Imagine the designer (person A) asked the creative marketer (Person B) to decide on the red or blue design. The question sounds very simple and harmless so B leaves it hanging for 2 days. Except, all of B’s work and final look depends on that choice of colors. Before you know it, a shipment order of 2,000 pillow cases with that design is put on hold, waiting for B to give the final word!

That’s why the PM needs to trace back the CTAs, work the problem’s scenario backward, to find what is really putting the whole company on hold.