March 27

Challenge of Being a Product Leader

Congratulations! You’re now a product leader. You’ve made that next step on the career ladder and you’re anxious to help your team become better product people. But are you ready for the challenges that come with managing people in general and product people in particular? The good news is that even if the challenges are new to you, others have dealt with them and shared their lessons learned.

Overcoming challenges & steps to finding leadership equilibrium when managing product people. A good manager of product managers balances being involved in the details and giving their product people more freedom. Are you mastering this? Noa Ganot shares what she learned when she started managing product people. One of the key lessons she learned is that managing product people isn’t necessarily the same as managing development teams.

(via noaganot)

14 HR Pros explain how to overcome common new manager challenges. The initial transition to managing product managers is rarely an easy one. You face a lot of challenges, such as navigating your new team dynamic and developing talent on your staff. Without the right help and guidance through these issues, you may not be as effective as you could be. To help you out, the Forbes Human Resources Council polled 14 HR pros explored some common struggles that new managers face and how to address them

(via @Forbes)

The Challenges (and Triumphs) of a Young Manager. Julie Zhuo, Facebook’s VP of product design, started at the company as its first intern and became a manager at the age of 25. Like many first-time bosses, she made many missteps and acted how she thought managers were supposed to act. Eventually, she grew to find joy in the role and today she leads hundreds of people. In this episode of the HBR Idea Cast Julie talked about her experiences leading people and the lessons she’s learned, including that becoming a great manager also helps you know yourself better.

(via @HarvardBiz)

The 6 common challenges newly promoted leaders face and tips on handling them. Becoming a new manager is a challenge because you have to balance your individual job responsibilities with the time spent managing others. You also have to figure out how to supervise friends and former peers. Melissa Trelfa takes a look at those common challenges and some others and provides some tips on how to work through them.

(via @thrive)

Leading by editing isn’t really leading.  You may have heard the role of a product leader described as “editing” or leading as “editor in chief”. This approach works well for writing and film where you’re working on completed work. It doesn’t apply as well to product development where you’re working more on a continuum of many related works over a period of time. Steven Sinofsky explores the idea of leading through editing, why it may not apply to the ongoing and uncertain work of a product team, and what some alternative approaches might be.

(via @stevesi)

Kent J McDonald

About the author

Kent J McDonald writes about and practices software product management. He has product development experience in a variety of industries including financial services, health insurance, nonprofit, and automotive. Kent practices his craft with a variety of product teams and provides just in time resources for product people at and Product Collective. When not writing or product managing, Kent is his family’s #ubersherpa, listens to jazz and podcasts (but not necessarily podcasts about jazz), and collects national parks.


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