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Great prodct managers own the outcomes

A product manager complained that marketing was asking for a marketing strategy for his product. He didn’t want to do it. “Why should I have to do their job?”

I had a few bits of advice.

1. Are you failing them?

If marketing can’t write a GTM strategy for your product, they probably don’t understand the product well enough. How strong are your product materials?

How are your PRDs, customer profiles, research summaries, one pagers, FAQs, or whatever your organization produces.

This product work output is how you communicate with stakeholders. It’s how you enable them to do their jobs.

These are the raw materials for others. Your inputs feed their output.

If these are not great, then don’t expect greatness from them. And if these are not even competent, well…

2. Do you need to be right?

Maybe you’re right, and marketing should own this. But for some reason, it isn’t happening.

Would you rather be right, or would you rather ship?

You can stand your ground and insist that others do what you think they should. And then they are deciding if you ship or not.

Or you can give up on your righteousness and do what’s needed to make the product go.

When the product launch goes poorly and you miss your numbers, it’s your product failure, not marketing’s.

3. What’s the product manager’s job?

You say it’s not your job, but it really is.

The product manager’s job is to remove any impediment to product success. That’s it. That’s the whole role.

Usually, this means all the “product manager” stuff: discovery to find customer problems and product opportunities. One pagers to help the team know what problem you’re attacking. Roadmap reviews, demos, and planning.

But sometimes it just means “fill holes.”

What hole exists that’s going to prevent product success? Does support need training? Does sales need an explainer? Does finance need data?

Unless someone else is doing it, then it’s your job by default.

You’re the utility player.

Because let’s face it, all that “product” stuff could be done by someone else. Design could do the discovery or write a one pager. Engineers could plan the sprint or write a roadmap. But you’re there so they don’t have to do that.

You’re there to make the teams’s lives easier.

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