Mid-Week Mix

Recently, I heard the story recanted of Vince Lombardi, the infamous Green Bay Packer’s Hall of Fame football coach. At the beginning of each season Coach Lombardi would gather his players together. Whether you were a veteran or a rookie, everyone got the same speech. With a football in hand, he’d  say, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”
Then he’d walk the team through the basics of blocking, tackling and other fundamentals of the game of football to hone and craft an outstanding team.
The trademark of Lombardi’s coaching style was bringing simplicity and execution to each team.
As you take a second to let those two words sink in, consider the following:
  • Can I say, “Gentlemen (or ladies) this is product management.
  • Do I look for ways to simplify my role or complicate it?
  • As a leader, do I convey the value of product management to my team and work with  them to refine their execution while limiting complexity?

 If we’re willing to ask and consider the questions above, I believe we’ll better understand what game we’re playing, what team we’re on and have the opportunity, like Coach Lombardi and his teams to win multiple product management super bowls.

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  • Michael Ray Hopkin  On October 6, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Jim, this is a great question: “Do I look for ways to simplify my role or complicate it?” Generally speaking I think we (in the PM world) tend to complicate things too much. I don’t know if it’s a human tendency or germane to product management, but too often we make things too complex.

    I (too) often catch myself falling into the “complexity trap.” One thing that has helped me to simplify is to explain “what I do at work” to my wife. She has no background in business, marketing or software development, so if I can explain things in a way that she understands, I can feel confident that I’m simplifying adequately. I then take that attitude with me to work.

    Leonardo da Vinci said it well: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”


    • Product Management Tribe  On October 6, 2010 at 1:35 pm

      Mike – thanks for commenting and sharing the DaVinci quote. I couldn’t agree more. The “complexity trap” seems to be something we fall into more often. Leaders should consistently look for ways to remove complexity and build detours when needed.

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