Senior Product Manager
Have you ever given a presentation that you prepared hours for, only to be blindsided with a question that you didn’t consider? Or have you found yourself in a debate with a peer, only to think “why can’t I convince this person to see things my way?”
Because PMs are expected to know everything about their product, I used to spend hours looking at customer research and crafting a polished document before sharing with anyone. I would then go into a meeting with the goal to convince everyone else to see things my way. When objections arise, I would answer them with “let’s take that offline” without giving them serious thought afterwards. This approach is inefficient.
It’s inefficient because no matter how much preparation I do, there’s always a chance that I could be very wrong.
Instead of waiting until I’ve written a polished document before sharing it with my colleagues, I now try to share my thinking early and often for feedback. Instead of waiting until my product is built or designed before sharing with customers, I now try to talk to at least one customer a week — even if I’ve barely drafted an outline of an idea.
Here’s how I put the above statement into practice:
With the help of other knowledgeable people, I’ve found that I can very quickly identify questions that I’ve missed or holes in my logic. There’s nothing embarrassing about quickly correcting an error. In fact:
Whether this person is the CEO or the most junior person in the room, if they can make a reasoned argument or present evidence that my direction is wrong, then I feel joy. Even if their point invalidates a lot of the work that my team has accomplished to date, they’ve still saved us from future wasted effort and embarrassment.
Remember: Don’t worry about appearing smart, worry about finding the truth.
Also remember: The fastest way to find the truth is to seek out knowledgeable people who will disagree with you.
Create your free account to unlock your custom reading experience.