What’s rare and wonderful?
Product managers are unicorns.
What does that mean?
There are two aspects to our unicornity, to coin a phrase:
- The numbers
- The role itself
First of all, let’s look at some numbers. There are almost always fewer product managers in a company than any other role except CEO. There are more VPs than product managers in most product companies. There are five times as many developers, minimum. There are often 10-20 times as many salespeople.
This means that in our nature, we are statistical outliers. Like unicorns.
But there’s more.
And it’s related to “what makes a good product manager.”
In this podcast I mostly explore the latter point, especially as it related to defining what makes “a great product manager” and if you can test or screen for that.
The original tweet that got me started on this episode
John Cutler (@johncutlefish on Twitter) tweeted this observation a few weeks ago:
someone asked me this over the weekend:— John Cutler (@johncutlefish) October 15, 2019
"what product management skills can be tested and graded"
…it bothered me for various reasons. But that might be my bias. Those with a fresh mind on this…. ?#prodmgmt
The discussion led me down the path that resulted in this episode.
Links and articles
I mentioned two great books in this episode, How To Measure Anything, by Douglas W. Hubbard, and Decisive, by Chip and Dan Heath. Definitely check them out if you haven’t already. (By the way, I have another podcast episode that includes nine more recommended books if you want to fill your product manager bookshelf/Kindle.)
- One of the canonical lists of Jeff Dean facts.
- Anna Marie Clifton’s Medium article about how an art history major becomes a product manager.
- My previous podcast episode on empathy and “putting yourself in other peoples’ shoes”
- Another podcast episode based on Hubbard’s How To Measure Anything.
Don’t forget to subscribe
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