There's a lot of great Product Managers that are on Twitter.
Certainly what I would call Product Manager Gurus. They don't all come from a product background like in the case of Navi Ravikant from AngelList, but if you really listen, they are talking about wise things about product.
All PMs should listen.
Today we talk about someone whom we've followed closely for a number of years now. He's pretty active on Twitter and if you are also an active Product person and also on Twitter, you'd probably know him already.
His name is John Cutler and his handle is @johncutlefish.
We've loved or liked and retweeted many of his product wisdoms over the years but what made us really want to write about him was a recent post he did that basically summarized what a good product manager should manifest in a product team.
Without further ado, here's the posting John Cutler created that is making us has goosebumps. (We'll tell you why we think as we do, after you had time to read it a few times over.)
It's a journey. It can take years to build up to all of this. And by then there will be new practices to learn. So it seems to me the only "solution" is to keep improving day/day, week/week, month/month. #changeagent #proddev pic.twitter.com/YQ7CTreCom— John Cutler (@johncutlefish) January 27, 2019
It bears reminding that there is a lot of fluff about Product Management out there. It's not that it's not good or relevant, but it's not actionable in the context of the particular situation we're in.
As we keep saying here at ProductManagerJobs.com, we think that every product manager and by extension the product(s) they work on are like snowflakes (no two are alike).
Trying to learn theory can only take on so far and certainly learning the theory at a superficial level is not going to get your very far. It's our opinion that a lot of Product Management advice is in this category.
Cut to Cutler: he cuts through the noise and tells us really the key things that are important as a product manager.
The first thing to notice is that he says, "do your team..." The emphasis is on the word team. It's not you as the PM that bears the entire flow of all this information and intelligence, it's being able to open up and have the team come to their own conclusions too. But we digress.
If you look at all 17 of these points, it's prescriptive enough that if you followed them they would likely help with some of your issues.
The problem we see in a lot of product management teams is that only 4-5 of these are ever implemented in full.
Lastly, none of these are easy -- nor should they be. Creating and manifesting a product into the world is hard work and tough slog day-in, day-out.
Like what Cutler has said -- there's not quick solution and it's chipping away at each of these to get closer and closer to the clarity to each of these points a possible.
In our experience, the most vital one is having direct access to customers and users.
But if you look at 17, all of them require not just a mandate by the product manager, but it really takes a village. All of these elements require other people, buy-in, their time, internal needs versus external needs -- balance needs to achieved to get anything done. And even then, each of these need to be kept in balance and maintained or it could easily get side-tracked again.
There's no easy way to do these things and if it's easy then you're very lucky to have the right set of people, circumstances and environment to allow of these things to happen.
The most important point is the we as product managers need to fight for and defend these principles so the the product itself can take shape in the best way possible.