It’s Watery, Lukewarm and Too Sour

Over the weekend, some neighbor children set up a lemonade stand. You know the location where smiling faces greet you and want to sell you something in hopes to create some quick cash. As a good neighbor, my wife and I stopped by to support the kids, talk to parents and enjoy a sunny afternoon with a great glass of cold lemonade.

As we walked home, my wife said, “How did you like the lemonade?” Before I could respond, she said, “I thought it was weak, not sweet enough and needs ice.” My response was, “you nailed it.”

In thinking about the lemonade, I wonder how often product management and its leadership have been described the same way. Is your leadership watery?  Is product management’s consistency and actions lukewarm and produce sour results? If so, what will you do to strengthen product management and sweeten your leadership this week?

Here are a few things you can add to your recipe to make all your customers (and internal stakeholders) pleased and refreshed with your results.

  • Meet with your team and surface the product management methods that need action. (Let your counterparts know you’re working on the “watery” issues.) 
  • Review the action items and with the current assessment of your team (you have one right?) assign team members to fill the gaps with you. (Your team will appreciate your leadership and decisiveness and forget any previous lukewarm decisions.)
  • Connect with your senior management champion/mentor (you need one) and gain their perspective of “how product management’s doing.” Listen to what they tell you and discuss what actions you’re taking. (This will circulate to other executives and will sweeten your efforts.)  

Whether you’re an individual contributor or leader in product management, improving your actions, methods, credibility this week will strengthen product management’s visibility and capabilities for weeks to come.

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  • Barry Doctor  On September 7, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Great story! Another lesson from this story for PM is to gather feedback by listening to your market. You didn’t care for the product. Next time, you might have stopped for the chat and not purchased the product.

    • Product Management Tribe  On September 7, 2010 at 2:30 pm

      Barry, thanks for the comments. You’re right, another avenue for action is listening to your market. It’s amazing how much insight comes from those who actually use your products and services.

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