PMs need to empathize

It’s fashionable among #productmanager groups to complain about “others”.

You may have come across social media posts and memes that talk about this.

How “they” don’t get #productmanagement.

How the CEOs and founders are only interested in making money.

How India is not the right place for being a PM.

How even successful companies don’t know how to build products.

I find that akin to a salesperson saying: “I can’t sell because the customers are stupid”.

You would not take such a salesperson seriously.

It’s true that most companies are still learning about product management.

It’s true that few companies have the right processes for building product.

It’s true that “product mindset” is missing in many places.

But nobody said being a #productmanager is easy.

It is hard work.

In addition to having the hard skills – tech, domain, prioritisation, you also need soft skills – communication, presentation, listening, connecting with people.

Above all you need to empathise

And not just with customers.

Even with “others”

That includes management, investors, founders, salespeople, marketing, developers, designers, engineering managers.

Product managers need to sell and persuade.

Whether you are talking about the roadmap, new ideas, getting the right resources, improving the processes, PMs need to understand the perspective of each of these functions.

Understand what is motivating them and help translate what PMs want in terms that relate to what “others” want.

If you can do this as a product manager, you will see things shift.

Not in one day, but over time.

There will be setbacks…

There may not always be a “happily ever after”…

Sometimes you will have to walk away.

But in most places you will make a difference.

And that is what makes this work gratifying.

And even fun…