There are many competing priorities and demands put on people who are in product leadership roles. Besides the vast array of knowledge we have to acquire about many aspects of the job from design to technology to business we also must be great leaders, detectives, negotiators, presenters, mentors, guides and yes, sometimes even task masters.
We must be both strategic & logical as well as creative & artful. Creating products is part art and part science, which makes us craftspeople as well. Lots of different color hats being constantly put on and taken off.
If that's not enough as leaders we must also be a force for inspiration and motivation, keeping teams energized and excited about the work they do.
Why, What, How Resources
I think of Product Ownership in terms of 3 key "areas" of responsibility: The Why, The What and The How.
One of the hardest balancing acts we face is going from the 50,000 foot owning of the vision to the 500 foot owning of the execution. Understanding how to be an effective owner in each area and having some simple tools of the trade to go along with it can go a long way.
Below are a few resources that I think are great jumping off points to learn about some simple approaches to tackling each area of ownership. My hope is that they will help you remove some of the complexity so you can spend more time focusing on the important things.
- Why we make it (The strategy & vision) - The way we set the vision, uncover insights and create value for customers, brands and businesses. I really like the "jobs to be done" way of thinking. It's a clear but powerful way for you to articulate why this product should exist in the first place and the role it will play in customer's lives. https://blog.intercom.io/podcast-intercoms-go-to-market-strategy/
- What what we make (The roadmap & plan) - how we prioritize and help the team focus on making the right things -- can often get very complex. #now, #next #later is a simpler approach to OKRs that Foursquare implemented. https://medium.com/@noah_weiss/now-next-later-roadmaps-without-the-drudgery-1cfe65656645#.bmk59hq05
- How we make it (The execution & process) - The process of how we actually make these things while staying nimble. Google Ventures 1 week discovery / sprint process is a great resource to go back to over and over. http://www.gv.com/sprint
The trick is to try and simplify the process, remove unnecessary distractions so we can focus on the right things that provide actual value to the customer, business and the team. As Owners, we should be constantly asking ourselves how we can reduce the overhead (and debt) of imagining, managing and creating products.
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