Monthly Archives: April 2011

My past is digital (1981-2011)

Every once in a while I reminisce about the olden days. I know it must sound comical coming from someone who is turning 30 next month, but I’ve noticed the older I get the more frequent and urgent are the journeys into the past. I suppose there is just more of it to return to.

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A Product Manager’s Authority is Earned, Not Granted

This post originally appeared as a guest post on On Product Management blog.

When was the last time you had to soothe your wounded ego with thoughts like these:

  1. I raised it to senior management, but couldn’t get them to commit to the project. My job is to identify opportunities and to point them out to the powers that be. I can’t do the impossible. There is only so much I can do.
  2. I’ve let Engineering know that they need to scrap three months worth of work and start on something completely different. This decision came down from my bosses, and I had no say. I’m totally clear of any wrongdoing, and that’s what I’m telling engineering.
  3. I know the website for my product sucks. I brought it to the attention of our web admins but they won’t even consider my suggestions. They don’t want to implement the changes. I’ve done my best, but that part of the organization is totally impervious to my requests.

Sounds familiar? The uncomfortable truth is that a product manager’s job is a carefully disguised exercise in the most excruciating kind of professional impotence. An authority over no one, we are tasked with performing  feats of coordination among insubordinate, obstinate groups, entirely unmotivated to heed your opinions or to collaborate.

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