Tuesday Jul 29, 2014 by Rishi Dean - VP of Product, Sittercity
While I’ve previously posted about the requisite “soft-skills” of great Product Managers, in this Part of the series, we’ll explore the functional skill-set required on any given day. These competencies fall into three major categories, which I refer to the “3Ds”, consisting of Direction, Design, and Details.
I believe that the Product Manager is ultimately responsible for every single pixel, workflow, and error message in the final product. As a result, the job ranges from very high high-level strategy to the most excruciating details. This spectrum of skills can be summarized by three major competencies, which I call the “3Ds” (developed via an interview I gave at Krash Boston). This list is not meant to be completely exhaustive, and the proportion of time spent in each area, will vary based on some of the “external” factors we’ll discuss in Part 3, and Part 4 of this series.
Starting at the most macro, level, a PM needs to set the product “vision”. Specifically that is to develop the overall product / market hypothesis, which is your master plan for how your product will open new market opportunities. This hypothesis is informed by your understanding of the convergence of new technologies and market trends, such as:
2) Design: Planning and prioritization
Armed with that hypothesis, you must develop your approach to evangelize and execute your strategic plan. When I use the word design, think of this asdesigning your approach, rather than designing the pixels of the app (although that’s important too). This category is about both the art & science of developing a game plan, and then prioritizing all of the competing factors, which include:
Your job, as a product manager, is to balance all of these often competing objectives, of what you want to do, with what you must do, and what you can do. The net result is a set of clear plans and processes that align all of your stakeholders.
While the high-level strategy and detailed plans are nice, at the end of the day, your job is to do whatever it takes to ship your product.
I truly believe that in order to truly empower and remove obstacles for your team, you simply can’t get around being in the nitty-gritty details. So in this category we deal with all of the day-to-day executional tasks, that are directly delivered, or overseen by the product manager, which include:
The “3Ds” gives us a means to encapsulate the many, varied functional components Product Managers must service. In the next post, we’ll look at how each of these are calibrated, based on the type of customer you are serving.
Rishi Dean is the VP of Product at Sittercity. You can find this blog post, as well as additional content on Rishi's blog called Breaking Glass. You can also follow Rishi (@rishidean) on Twitter by clicking here.