A Product Manager’s 7 New Year’s Resolutions

Written by Published in Product Management
PMF 201518. November 2015 221

The New Year is just around the corner and many of us have started to make New Year’s resolutions. If not on paper, then at least as a mental exercise. It is funny how the resolutions sound so similar from year to year and from person to person. As diligent product managers, we’ve put together a list of resolutions for product managers who are looking to change something in 2016.

1. Stop saying “yes” to everything.

You’ve heard this before. Saying yes to everything means losing focus and resources. Choose wisely the things you want to say yes to.

2. Spend more time with your users.

Your users can make or break your product. Spend more time communicating with them, understanding who they are and why they are using your product. Use any problem, bug or malfunction as an opportunity to communicate with your users.

3. Quit overcommitting.

Overcommitting leads to missed deadlines, frustration and even burn out. It might also result in a poor quality product. Every year you learn more about your behavior as a product manager. And you can apply these learnings to improve and better understand how much things will actually take.

4. Pay off product debt.

Just like technical debt, product debt accumulates when you start making compromises in your product to move faster. You overlook the fact that at one point your product might scale, and it will be too late to take care of this product debt when your product is out in the market. So the best thing you can do right now is to avoid accumulating debt in the first place.

5. Lose 3 useless planned features.

A product with too many features is not necessarily better. Look at your backlog and planned features for the next year or maybe just for the next release. Are they all really necessary? Are they going to bring in more users while the current users are still going to use it? Keep in mind: your product does not need to be a Swiss knife. (Unless of course your product is a Swiss army knife!)

6. Stop trying to make everyone happy.

To make all your users, stakeholders and team members happy is close to impossible. One user will want the product to look a certain way, another will dislike it for that. You must focus on your core customers and accept that making everyone happy about your product, design and functionalities is neither viable, nor something to strive for.

7. Get more involved in the community.

That is how you learn and grow. What are you doing as a product manager to contribute to the field, mentor others and develop yourself?

Product Management Festival (PMF) has its own resolutions for the New Year. One of these is to become more representative for the product management community. Specifically, we would like to invite speakers from across industries and have more women speaking at our event.

If your New Year’s Resolution is to contribute more to the role of a Product Manager inside companies, then take the first step tell us you are interested and leave us your contact, we are going to communicate to you when we open Call for Papers.

If this is not a role you would consider taking on yourself, but you know a talented and experienced product manager who wants to be an active member of the PMF Conference Board, please recommend him or her.

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