Last week I discussed the importance of keeping your global perspective as a product manager. This week I want to explore why this can be so difficult.
Product Manager Pitfalls – Initial Transition Shock
If you came into product management from another department, something that nearly every product manager does, you may find shifting focus to encompass new responsibilities and priorities a challenge. For instance, if you’ve been deeply involved in sales and enjoy the immediate gratification of closing a deal, you may find it takes a special discipline to shift focus to the big picture view needed for product management. Now instead of revving up for the big sales push for your product, you need to stay committed to shepherding the entire product through market analysis, product development, and sales and customer service enablement. You are responsible for all aspects of your product and you can’t afford to be pulled off in a direction that meets the needs of one facet of the team, while losing sight of the organization’s overall goals.
This transition can be especially tough if you deeply enjoyed your former role and were good at it (something that is almost certainly true, otherwise you wouldn’t have been tapped for product management responsibilities). It can be hard to leave the work you know and love for something more challenging, with greater responsibility and a higher profile in the company. Don’t get distracted. This is your road to future success!
Expanding Your Horizons as a Product Manager
As a product manager, you are responsible for leading and cross-functional collaboration. You must interact with internal and external customers, prospects, analysts and business partners. This can entail orchestrating focus groups, advisory councils, conducting surveys and making customer visits. You’ve got to be willing to expand your comfort zone and take on these new responsibilities along with a higher profile in your organization.
The entire team will rely on your expertise and knowledge of the product and market to support the product’s launch and develop content to facilitate the sales process.
Finally, if in the past your role has been primarily tactical – handling customer problems, closing sales, etc., you will have to shift your activities and assume the role as primary communicator with senior management. It is up to you to report how your product is performing against performance metrics.
In the weeks ahead I’ll delve further into the unique requirements of the product manager position and the full scope of this demanding job. Knowledge is power in product management. Stay tuned to learn how you can gain and use knowledge of your product process and upper management’s expectations to secure your value to your company and be key to your organization meeting its highest goals.
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