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“One of the most important parts of a game of poker is called the buy-in. Simply put, you don’t get to play unless you’re prepared to make an up-front payment. The thing that makes this so interesting is that you have no idea whether that payment will actually be worth it. If you have a good game, you could go home with a very big prize. If you don’t, that money is going home with someone else.” If you’ve ever felt that product management is like a high stakes game of Texas hold ‘em, Therese Padilla can relate. In this post, she explains that “in many ways, getting stakeholders on board requires the same type of buy-in process” as when you sit down to play poker. (via @aipmm)
“A product roadmap is a statement of what you plan to produce in the coming months or years. Your product roadmap is also an essential communication and expectation-setting tool.” You most likely have to review your roadmap with executives before anyone can act on the roadmap. You will most likely seek executive buy-in for your roadmap: when you initially lay out your product strategy and direction or during periodic reviews that cover results of past releases and discuss changes for upcoming ones. Steven Telio focuses on how to engage executives when you initially lay out your product strategy in this post (via @teliosh)
You may have spent a great deal of time and attention on your roadmap, only to have it picked apart by the executives in your organization.You have one plan, but your executives see things differently. You “butt heads, tweak plans, shift priorities, and ultimately who knows if the right thing gets executed. Or gets executed well.” No doubt at this point you wonder how you can wrangle the execs during your roadmapping process. To help you build executive buy-in, the folks at Roadmunk put together this survival guide for working with executives during the roadmapping process. (via @RoadmunkApp)
“Being a Product Manager means that you rely on the executives and management to support your efforts. Whether it is funding for resources, support for marketing or sales for your product or one of dozens of other things, without management on your side your product may be destined for failure.” Unfortunately, there are several obstacles that make it difficult to get that executive support. In this video, Brian Lawley describes five strategies you can use to overcome those obstacles and garner the executive support you need. (via @BrianLawley)
It is exhausting fielding requests from a CEO who is deeply invested in the product yet has no clear vision of where it should go and why. As a product manager, this leaves you managing the chaos and putting the right processes in place. It also leaves you with a big responsibility — to communicate a clear vision and drive that ‘leading with strategy’ mindset that the team needs to succeed.” Brian de Haaff explains how you can use your strategy to guide prioritization decisions and how to make your vision the vision. (via @bdehaaff)
A hallmark of an effective product manager is the ability to say no frequently without limiting your career. That means that you’re going to need to be able to say no to executives in your organization. Kent McDonald explained a way to do this that involves setting the proper expectation and explaining why you said no.
Managing the CEO relationship and your relationships with the rest of your team “to create clear communication across all disciplines” is an essential skill for product managers. In this interview with Rocketship.fm, Melissa Perri shares how she helps PM’s in small and large organizations build that skill and also describes lessons she’s learned as a PM consultant.
When most people say that product managers lead through influence, they’re thinking of your relationship with the delivery team. You also have lead through influence when working with the executives in your organization. The Clever PM shares some tips that you can use “to ensure that you’re growing your influence among the leadership team and not ceding your limited authority to that team.”
Nick Gray shared his experience as a new product manager for a small product organization. He focuses on lessons learned working with his CEO (who used to handle product management) and provides some practical steps for managing up.
In many companies, it may seem impossible for middle managers and below to have their voices heard. Even if they have in their possession a game-changing concept, it takes something special to convince the executive team to listen to you. Harvard Business School outline 7 tactics that you can use to be heard, including getting the timing right, approaching with empathy and involving others who will bolster your case.