Updated: Sep 6, 2020
The product manager plays a important role in an organisation. Without the execution of a certain set of principles a product manager cannot fullfll their role and chart out the future roadmap of features and products which an organisation needs to compete effectively. There is a risk that products would be outdated and customers would move to other alternatives. Just look at what has happened in the last six months since the pandemic broke loose, so many landmark businesses have shuttered, distribution channels have changed and buying behaviour has shifted. Every product manager / product organisation should look to cultivate a habit of encouraging the creation of a manifesto for product managers as it would drive a culture of openness and accountability. The ways of working are changing, there is also a drive for inclusion and diversity in the workplace. A good manifesto can help drive that.
So what is a manifesto?
Put simply "A manifesto is a published declaration of the intentions, motives or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government"
The key words here are published, declaration, intentions / intent. I Would say that for most of us we may not have ever read a manifesto for the jobs that we do. We just get job descriptions given to us on what we are expected to do as a product manager. This however does not include the principles, intent or the purpose. Yes the implied purpose in our job descriptions could simple be "make great products", or "sell more products", "retain market share", but these are still vague in nature and not all encompassing, whats missing is the moral and ethical obigations which are expected while doing the job.
As a product coach we here by declare a manifesto for product managers to consider and use to accomplish the goals which they need to achieve by providing a 10 Point Product Manager Manifesto. You can use this as your guiding principle and adopt it for yourself and your teams.
Why is a manifesto important?
Manifestos is like that bit of glue which ties in what you want your work life to be, aligning with your personal values, priniciples, your goals, accomplishments and the legacy which you want to leave behind. The manifesto will aim to cultivate a habit of ownership and execution. It will give product managers the confidence to do the right thing.The outlined manifesto incorporates where we are today in the world and has been crafted to shape our thinking as professional product managers.
The product managers 10 point Manifesto
As a product manager I will be responsible to hear what our customers are saying about the product and listen to them without bias and confrontations so that that I undertand how they use our products and how they would like to use our products in the future. I am the voice of the customer and the voice of the products that I manage.
As a product manager I intend to deliver products and solutions to my customers by incorporating the best in class techniques, processes and technologies which are available to me to give my customers a frictionless user experience. I will strive to build products which have lesser wastage, that are eco-friendly and are optimised for consumption. I will seek to have an end-to-end understanding of how my products are designed, built, marketed, sold, delivered and consumed.
It is my responsibility as a product manager to self-train and accumulate knowledge and domain expertise by being inqusitive on the developments which happen around me. I will sign up for courses, seminars and industry events which will amplify my knowledge. I will also read more and stay connected to hone my technical skills and my soft skills.
I will be open to collaboration and will work with colleagues and partners in a transparent way, creating win-win opportunities for all parties. I will be respectful and grateful to the people I interact with to deliver my products. I will work towards improving my networking and cirles of influence across the organisation. I will be ego less and approachable to better serve the organisation so that problems can be solved with the best possible outcome.
I am the owner of the product visiion and the product roadmap. These will be defined in collaboration with other stakeholders - customers, sales, operations, technology, distribution, business and product. The prioritisation of the product backlog will be open and transparent to all parties. In the end the responsibility of what is prioritised will sit with me as as the product manager. I want to drive the creativity process across the team and encourage innovation.
As part of growing the business I will train, oversee and give junior product managers the mentorship they need to grow their skills. I will challenge them and stretch them to step out of the comfort zone and venture into new areas. I will be open to cultures, team diversity and foster inclusion as part of my working style. Everyone should feed comfortable to contribute, everyone should have a voice and everyone should be heard.
I will be prudent and conservative when managing budgets. I will exercise the same duty of care as if I was spending my own money. I will manage all costs within my control and drive the completion of projects to be on time so as to minimise the waste of resources. I will track costs diligently and also be revenue focused. I will be willing to pay a fair price but I will also challenge the costs which are provide to me in a respectful manner.
To ensure relevancy of my products I will constantly remain vigilant of industry trends, innovation, customer behavior, regulations and competitors. I will review the performance of my products on a regular basis and be transparent on emerging risks. It is also my responsibility for me to have all my product documentation up to date to ensure consistent and accurate communication. I will be responsible for managing any risk the product may will encourage others to be open about this.
I will galvanise resources, technology and people to tackle day to day issues, tactical approaches and strategic goals across my organisation and externally to protect my organisation and foster growth to remain relevant. If required I will be open to pivoting my product strategy to meet the goals of the organisation.
I will be an evangalist for my product with customers, industry and within the company with the aim to showcase the product into various forums, demonstrate its value to the business. As such I will create the product narrative, collateral and drive the commecial agenda to bring the product to more customers.
Get started now
The ten point manifesto checklist is a great way to begin your transformation journey. Give it a few reads and spend some time reflecting on how each point is associated with your current situation. You can tweak it the way you like to make it more relevant for your specific role. Have it printed and be comfortable to share it with your teams. Use it as your guide when your stuck. Its a great tool to use when you have new staff join your team. It also is a fantastic way to show to your management that the product teams are aligned with the strategic mission of the company.
We hope the product manifesto will help you drive the change you have in mind for yourself and your teams. We welcome feedback. Register / subscribe for more updates at productcoach.net . Your continued interest is the inspiration we need to keep creating awesome content for all product managers out there.