Good Product Manager / Bad Product Manager

One of the benefits of self employment is my ability indulge in “training”  I am on pace to read about 45 books this year (brought 3 to vacation this week).  This past week I started reading The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.  I am only a third into the book and have found two nuggets of information that would have been uber helpful in my previous life:

Number 1 – Good Product Manager / Bad Product Manger – Ben wrote a training document for this team of product managers because he realized many of them are not doing the job properly so like a good manager looked at himself and said – well maybe I should define what good looks like for my team (train them) vs. just let me continue to flounder.  Here is his training manual for what good and bad looks like for a product manager.  When I had to play this role for the first time it would have been great to have a training document like this to help guide my way initially.

Good Product Manager/Bad Product Manager

Number 2 – Spent many a day talking with my technical team about the necessary technical debt we needed to have in order to move fast.  Never really had heard about Management Debt.  In Ben’s book he details out three types of management debts.  Which I am guilty of two out of three:

Putting Two People in the Box – When you have two great people for one role you decide to split the role to keep both of them working on a the project.  Great in theory and can work for periods of time but creates more work for the other teams who have to interface with the singular organizational box

Overcompensating a Key Employee – Key employee gets a better offer and threatens to leave, you match the offer even though it will make them the highest paid X in your organization….slippery slope of threats and counter-offer ensues.

No performance management or employee feedback – Being shitty about feedback to your employees because your too busy.  The management debt will pile up as your employees become rudder less and seek feedback else where (finds new job).  Yup, used the too busy badge to delay employee meetings way too much.

Outside of those two points I also got this great quote for my commonplace book (keeper of all my great quotes) — When speaking about a great sales person — Trent is such a great sale person he is “able to charm dogs off a meat truck”