What Makes a Great Product Manager
In his course PM Fundamentals, Lenny Rachitsky shares his 7 habits for becoming one of the best product managers. These habits will help product managers make better, faster decisions and improve their roles.
The 7 habits are outlined below in detail. Let's dive in.
1. Hunt for Blockers
As a successful product manager
, you need to unceasingly hunt for blockers. Your job is to unblock the team and help them be more successful. The key to becoming one of the best product managers is by ensuring the team is always moving forward and not being held up with unnecessary roadblocks.
According to a recent survey by Forbes, the top cause of project failure is a lack of communication and collaboration between team members.
The best product managers must be able to identify these communication breakdowns and work to resolve them quickly. This could mean having more team meetings, setting up regular check-ins, or finding new tools to help everyone stay on the same page.
For example, suppose you are working on a go-to-market campaign
, and the product marketer cannot get the necessary visuals from the designer.
In that case, it's your job as a product manager to step in and ensure the lines of communication are open. By actively hunting for blockers, you can help keep the project on track and ensure that the team is always moving forward.
2. Ruthlessly Prioritize
The second habit of a successful product manager is ruthless prioritization of both your time and your team's time.
As a product manager, you need to be able to prioritize the most important tasks and delegate the rest to the team. This means focusing on the tasks that will impact the project most and leaving the rest for later.
According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, the average person spends just over half of their workday on tasks that don't align with their goals or objectives.
This is why the best product managers need to prioritize their time effectively and avoid wasting time on tasks that won't have a significant impact.
If you are working on a project and the deadline is fast approaching, it's important to prioritize the tasks that will impact the project most.
This could mean focusing on design, development, or data analysis tasks. By prioritizing your time effectively, you can help ensure the project is completed on time and within budget.
3. Amplify Your Team's Success and Contributions
According to a study by the University of California, Berkeley, employees who feel their contributions are valued are more likely to be engaged and motivated at work. Amplifying the success and contributions of your team is a key habit of a successful product manager. People want to work for leaders who recognize and celebrate their accomplishments
. This means taking the time to celebrate your team's successes and highlight their contributions to the project.
For example, if you have a team member who has just finished a particularly challenging task, take the time to celebrate their success. This could mean sending a personal email, posting on Slack, or just stopping by their (in-person or virtual) desk to congratulate them.
By amplifying the success and contributions of your team, you can help create a positive and motivated work environment.
4. Anticipate What's Coming Around the Corner
One essential habit of successful product managers is the ability to anticipate what's coming around the corner.
The best product managers must be able to stay ahead of the curve, anticipate potential problems, and prepare for future challenges.
This habit helps ensure the product manager is always one step ahead, allowing them to manage projects effectively and respond quickly to changes.
For example, a product manager may review market trends, develop a product roadmap
, track competitor activity, and monitor customer feedback.
By anticipating what's coming around the corner, the best product managers will prepare their team and ensure they are always ready to tackle new challenges.
5. Frequently Remind Team Members of the Vision and Mission
Frequently reminding team members of the vision and mission is another important habit of successful product managers. A product manager must be able to connect their team's work to the company's larger goals
. This habit helps to build motivation, improve focus, and increase engagement.
A product manager who frequently reminds their team of the vision and mission will help to keep the team focused on what is most important, allowing them to make the most progress in the shortest amount of time.
A product manager may begin each meeting by reminding team members of the company's vision and mission. They may also explain how each project supports the company's goals and how individual tasks contribute to the larger picture.
By frequently reminding team members of the vision and mission, the product manager can help to build a stronger sense of purpose and increase motivation.
6. Have a Point of View
As a product manager, having a point of view is important. New product managers often think their role is coordinating other people's ideas and bringing the best ideas to the surface.
However, it's actually important for product managers to have their perspective and to be able to articulate it effectively. This doesn't mean that you need to be rigid in your thinking. Rather, you should have a flexible perspective that can change based on new information and data.
Having a point of view helps product managers to think more deeply about decisions
and to be able to articulate their ideas clearly and concisely. When product managers bring their perspective to a discussion, they force themselves to think through the issue more deeply and to consider the implications of different options.
For example, if you're managing a team working on a new product launch
, you may have a point of view on the target market and the key features the product should include.
This perspective will help guide the team's discussions and ensure everyone is working towards a common goal.
7. Never Drop the Ball
The final habit of a highly successful product manager is to never drop the ball. As product managers, we often juggle many tasks and responsibilities, and it's easy for things to fall through the cracks.
However, it's important to maintain a high level of focus and attention to detail to ensure that everything is done correctly and on time.
When managing a product launch, you need to ensure that all the deadlines are met, that the team is working effectively, and that any issues are resolved promptly. You also need to ensure that the team communicates well and that everyone is aligned on the goals and objectives.
By never dropping the ball, product managers demonstrate their commitment to the team and the project and build trust and credibility with their colleagues.
When product managers consistently deliver on their promises, they establish themselves as reliable leaders who are capable of getting things done.
Try These 7 Habits Out and Grow
Incorporating these habits into your daily work will help you become a highly effective and successful product manager who is capable of leading teams to success.