Product Management and Asking Why?

Last weekend I was reading Intercom’s book on Product Management (it’s a must read for all Product Managers out there or really anyone that wants to better understand the role).  I’m very fortunate that my brother loves Product Management.  Because I am not a Product Manager, nor do I want to be a Product Manager nor would I be any good at it.

According to Wikipedia, a product manager “investigates, selects, and drives the development of products for an organization, performing the activities of product management.”  From everything I’ve read the Product Manager is basically the CEO of the product.  Sounds like a cool role until you get into the details, and in Product Management boy are there details…

The Pressure Of Each Decision

Over the past few months I’ve been pulled into several product meetings which range from reviewing mock flows to reviewing new features we’re adding to our latest 4.0 release.  Every time I get called into a meeting I am both excited and anxious.  Given my long history in the MSP world (our target market), I’m usually the alpha tester so they like to ask my opinion to get initial feedback.

The excitement comes from talking about these awesome new features we’re planning to roll out and knowing how much our user base will love them.  When Brian shows me an improvement to the product I get excited because I can imagine the reaction of our customers and the opportunity to share these features with them.

The anxiety comes from being asked to make a decision that will impact the product and the roadmap.  What if I choose incorrectly or what I’m saying doesn’t match what our users want.  What happens then?  These are the type of decisions Brian is making everyday and I’m grateful I don’t have to.

Asking Why?  Repeatedly…

The one area that Brian is really learning to master, but to honest can be extremely frustrating as his co-founder, is his relentless drive to answer the question Why?  Every time we talk about a new feature or functionality that I want in the product, without fail, Brian follows it up with the question “why?”.  And if you don’t have an answer for it, you can consider that request DENIED.  And if you do have an answer, you better be ready for a follow up Why?  The image below is a great illustration of the process we go through (photo credit to the Intercom book).

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 4.58.33 PM

So I’m fortunate to have a business partner that loves Product Management and whose only mission is to deliver a simple and powerful product.

I sleep easy knowing our product is in good hands…

How do you eat an Elephant?

This week we are embarking on another large development project at BrightGauge.  Being my 3rd or 4th large project in this business, I couldn’t be more excited to channel all of my lessons learned to make this one the most rocking success.  The biggest change we’ve made IT Nation, I got a chance to meet with 3 or 4 companies that are making the jump from a pure IT Service Provider or MSP to a Software Company (ISV).  It’s amazing to see this trend which makes sense given that MSPs... Read more