I’m almost three month in my new job as a product manager. It is my first position like that after a long career in web development. There might be other setups in other industries or companies but so far I found that the best part of product development is moderation.
I’m not the rock star but the guy organizing and promoting who’s playing next.
The good thing about organizing a rock concert is that you get to meet all the cool guys as well as the roadies and catering and every single one participating. You get a lot of insight into the business.
Same for publishing websites or as I suspect any other product.
So I get to know the editors and chief editors who create the essence of the product but also the sales guys who know about the sales figures. I get to meet the board of the company, the marketing and of course the web developers and the designers.
And guess what they all know what should be done next.
They all have a vision for the product in question. Seen from their perspective focussing on their problems, issues and wishes.
All their opinions are important. Some are more important than others but every single one has to be heard to get a full picture.
So when deciding which turn the product does next I am not locking myself up for a few days and come out again knowing what to do but I actually listen to people and sometimes get them together so they can challenge each other and negotiate compromises or generate new ideas.
If you have a headline act (which might change from time to time) you need to clarify why he is in the lead. In most cases the sales figures and the sales opportunities will be in the lead but there is no way that they alone decide what’s next.
Instead I moderate all the way through until I found a plan that suits everybody. Not everyone has to be happy with the final decision but everybody needs to understand why it’s being done and that it’s the right thing to do.
Another part of this job is: if the decision wasn’t the right one – I am the one to blame.