Recently I was given an “open mic” and was interviewed by Tom Grant from Forrester Research. Tom was great and we had an interesting discussion on product management leadership, building an action-oriented team and what do CEO’s want from product management. I’d invite you to listen to our discussion and comment here or directly on Twitter at jim_holland.
One of the rules of post-interviewing should be, “Never listen to yourself after the fact.” However, I did and heard a few things that I thought are worth repeating for the product management community.
First, the CEO’s position in your company is a lonely job and they’re on the firing line everyday. The job may look glamorous, but it requires making tough decisions every day, and making those with the best available information. At the end of the day, the CEO connects with sources he/she trusts will support difficult decisions. Product management is a force in providing valid and credible information to the CEO.
Second, product management has matured as a profession. At a minimum, there’s formal training and certifications, and frameworks to align you and the teams you lead. Add to this the real world experience of being in product management and learning how to sustain and execute and you’d have to admit there’s a viable force in product management.
So, who’s watching and who cares? There are numerous venture capital firms, equity firms and others who mandate that product management is in place, implemented and leading before they invest, reinvest or give up any money. There are bright CxO’s that know product management is the “go to” organization and look to your leadership to support key actions and decisions.
Now that’s visibility! Add to this that investors are talking to other investors, executive teams, boards and analysts and you can see that we’re building some momentum and continuous visibility.
How do we take this to the next level? We have to build upon a thriving community with its formal associations, face-to-face events such as product camps and use social media to stay connected. We have to set aside time share content, our experiences and be willing to coach and volunteer to those who haven’t had the experiences.
Has product management come of age? I believe it has, but we have a long way to go. Now, back to work…