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What Do Product Leaders Worry About?

Rich Mironov spends much of his time coaching product leaders: folks who manage teams of product managers and developer + designer + product teams. He also steps into companies as an interim VP Product Management, so he has certain opinions about what’s on the minds of other product leaders. To avoid falling for recency bias and juicy anecdotes, Rich conducted a survey of 120 product leaders. He asked them about their concerns and to rank 10 pre-selected issues. Here’s what he learned. (via @RichMironov)

How to Become a Great Product Leader

Do you know what it takes to be a great Product Leader? Daniel Elizalde explains the Four Pillars of Product Leadership and explores key skills that can take your career from good to great. The four pillars of Product Leadership are soft skills, business acumen, domain knowledge, and technical skills. Daniel also shares some examples of product leadership in action, “so you have a clear understanding of what Product Leadership looks like and how these pillars work together.” (via @delizalde)

The Rise of Product Leadership

Brian Croft suggests not to “refer to a product manager as a generalist, a Swiss Army knife, or ‘CEO of a product.’ Instead, let’s refer to a product manager as a product leader. Because inspiring leaders are what we aspire to become.” Brian also explained that it is “essential that every product leader understands what it really means to master their craft to help ensure their venture’s success. Product development can’t simply be managed — it must be led — with expertise. (via @briancrofts)

Why is product leadership so relevant today? 

Richard Banfield believes that “a product leader is ultimately responsible for the success or failure of a product and, by extension, the company itself.” In this excerpt from the book Product Leadership that Richard wrote with Nate Walkingshaw and Martin Eriksson, he explains why understanding that product managers are leaders and not just managers is key to understanding product leadership. (via @RMBanfield)

The State of Product Leadership

Who are product leaders? What do they do? What makes them effective? Pendo and Product Collective surveyed 300 product leaders to answer these and many more questions. The results show some surprising trends and contradict some ‘common knowledge’ about product teams. Read on to learn more. (via @pendoio@productcollective)

Product leadership vs product management

Rohan Rajiv takes a different look at product leadership than Rich Mironov. He sees it as not just about leading a team of product managers. Rohan believes “every technology product manager has 2 aspects to their job — product management and product leadership. This is analogous to the management and leadership of a business. While often discussed in the same breath, they are very different. Leadership is about doing the right things or effectiveness while management is about doing things right or efficiency.” Read more about why Rohan believes “wearing the product leader that involves spending time wrestling with questions around product-market fit while wearing the product manager that involves spending time wrestling with optimizing funnels.” (via @alearningaday)

Great Product Leadership is Both Subtle and Slow to Pay Off

Rich Mironov has years of experience doing product management, leading product managers, and helping organizations structure their product organization. On the Product Science Podcast, Holly Hester-Reilly spoke with Rich to share his view of product leadership: a focus on managing product managers and “discuss the patterns he’s seen in organizations that do product right, where most businesses get tripped up, and what you can do to hire the right people.” (via @h2rproductsci@RichMironov)

Internal politics is product management

Helen Bui discussed dealing with internal politics in this episode of This is Product Management. Helen describes her experience navigating internal politics at a large organization and explains why miscommunication is so rampant, why objectives are decided in a meeting and then nothing gets done, and how to champion and execute initiatives in large organizations. She also discusses some tactics and practices you can use to communicate with team members. (via @tipmpodcast)

How do you overcome internal politics to build great products in a large organization?

Alpha HQ held a panel discussion that explored how to navigate the thorny landscape of internal politics in large organizations to build great products. “The panel discussion brought to light the delicate balancing act of maintaining a user-focused mentality while juggling numerous stakeholder priorities.” Three takeaways from that panel are:

  • start from square one
  • identify problems and solutions instead of features
  • defend your decisions by telling a story

(via @AlphaOnDemand)

Winning office politics

Baruch Deutsch once viewed office politics as a negative activity until he attended a talk where the speaker suggested “wherever there are two or more people – there’s politics…Your only real choice is either to participate in the political process or to become a victim of it.” Baruch suggests that the best way to participate in the political process is to improve your stakeholder engagement abilities. (via @baruchdeutsch)