May 25, 2017

Why #1: What is causing failure in Product Management

Failure. Nobody wants to fail at what they are doing. But sometimes, we just can’t help it.

I’m not talking about being a huge failure, that would be too extreme, but rather about failing to do something the right way. 

When you have to manage a diverse widely-spread out team with different skills, the chances of something going wrong are pretty high. And that is absolutely fine. Normal even. The thing is, you shouldn’t focus on the fact that you failed as much as figuring out the WHY for future reference.

This is mainly why we decided to start a series where we break down the reasons of WHY PMs might fail at.. PM-ing, basically.

In order to dig deeper into the issue, we need to start by asking the right questions. Questions like:

What is the real problem here?

This question is all about figuring out what is wrong. Meaning that, as a PM, you need to know what loop of the chain is not working correctly. Is the workload too much? Is the team not competent enough? Are they having problems working together because of huge differences or is it the means they’re using? Maybe your team needs to “spice things up” a bit around the office. Or maybe they need more motivation -incentives maybe? Or, quite the opposite, they are perfectly fine yet are having problems getting things done “efficiently”.

Now efficiency is very important. Getting work done is not enough in today’s very dynamic entrepreneurial world. PMs are constantly looking for ways to optimize efficiency. That way they can get more work done using significantly less their scarce resources one of which is definitely TIME.

But things don’t stop at figuring out the problem. We need to dive even deeper and see what’s causing it.

What is actually causing the failure?

Failure might be a bit of a big word, but to prevent it we need to first accept it. Once we accept that yes, something is wrong, we automatically start thinking of how we’re going to fix it. The first step to fixing something is to determine its roots.

Many PMs fail to see the real issues behind their unmet metrics and deadlines which is why we decided to further investigate. We found out that, obviously enough, delays are the number one thing that is causing projects to fail!

Because of recurring delays, timelines keep changing and milestones keep getting postponed. This interferes with other tasks and projects which, in their turn, get delayed and before you know it, it’s turned into one huge mess. Everyone is behind on the schedule and everyone is multitasking hoping to juggle everything and get back on track. Sounds familiar yet?

At this point, things are starting to clear up… but not quite. So the next logical question is: What on earth am I doing wrong here!

What is it that I am doing wrong?

It is still too early to answer this question as we first need to figure out what are delays and what is causing them. This will be the second WHY on our why series: WHY do Product Managers suffer from delays?

Part 2