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Product Manager’s Holy Grail for Dealing With People

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Product Manager’s Holy Grail for Dealing With People

As a project manager, you'll spend a lot of time dealing more with people than code. Read on for some advice on how to get the most out of these interactions.

· Agile Zone ·
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“Alpha to Charlie, Alpha to Charlie, come in, Over”

“Charlie to Alpha, listening, Over”

“Charlie, the enemy has covered us from all the sides, do we Fall BACK? Over”

“Good Idea Alpha, let’s abandon the commander and the crew, Over”

“Alpha to Charlie, Mission Abort, I repeat Mission Abort! Over”

“Falling Back Alpha, Over and Out!”

This is how I picture the conversation in my mind when I see two people in the cafeteria trying to have an intense conversation to figure out how they are supposed to deal with their targets this month. You know, the reason I feel the world leaders are gaga over Automation right now is that, it is human nature to choose a convenient option rather than a complex one to reach to a destination.

Everyone with a tag of a manager, or a head, or a leader will agree that the toughest and the most unpredictable part of their job description is “the People they have to deal with.” One cannot hardwire people to respond to their commands, a bunch of people cannot be integrated with one another to establish a seamless flow of information. It is a skill that one needs to master, to align an individual’s vision with the company vision.

And mastering the skill is inevitable. Because it is people who take things as a challenge when a machine shows Error 404, it is the people who manage your customers and convert your target audience into a Loyal set of Customers. To put it simply, “It is not the sail, but the sailor who sails the ship out of the storm.”

There are endless blogs articles written along similar lines, as well too many courses to name! I don’t have any hidden treasure or a gimmick to solve this puzzle, but I have some experiences and exercises that I that hope will help.

Be a Leader, Not a Boss

Roadmaps are stories and product managers, the storyteller. Learn to translate challenging concepts with powerful storytelling. Becoming a leader is like implementing The Pull Strategy, motivate the customers to actively seek out a specific product from the manufacturer (Project Manager) that has a strong and visible brand.

You need not be a part of the Centre of Excellence (CoE) they need to solve their problems, but you need to be the Point of Contact to discuss their grievances about work. Become the therapist from whom they could take advice. When you become a part of the team rather than being the head of the team, the people will always be read to go the extra mile for you.

Let Everyone Be the Leader (LITERALLY!)

There is one practice that has become a recent favorite of all the successful top-level executives. I call this practice, “If I were a _______.” Yup, this sounds nostalgic, but here you don’t ask your employees to write an essay about this, you allow them to take on their dream role for a day and let them have full authority.

There are two benefits of doing this. One, they would become aware that “With Great Power comes GREAT responsibility,” and they would know what you go through to keep the team intact.

Establish the Product Culture

To be a good leader, you don't have to be perfect, or able to perform all your team's tasks with polymath-like ability. Instead, a good manager is the one who is “a Jack of all trades, rather than being a master of one.”

You need to set a culture in an organization where people are aligned with the vision of the company and take a personal interest in its sustainable growth. To do that, you need to understand the nature of the people you are working with, prompt them to share their goals and visions, and then align their vision with the vision of the organization.

On a parting note, I would like to say that the role of a Product Manager is basically to reversely apply the age-old advice of Steve Blank, “Get out of the building.” A manager must “Get in the building,” that is, understand the people working there, make them understand the vision of the product, establish a culture of harmony and unanimity, and execute goals set by the top-level execs.

"It’s easier to make things people want, than it is to make people want things." ~ Des Traynor
agile practices ,project manager ,product development ,agile

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