Categories
customer General productive revenue

You should fire your Product Manager if…

Are your customers jettisoning you by the hordes? Or are they leaving you in a trickle? Is your product revenue becoming a sinking ship or a leaky bucket?

Customers will soon turn too busy for your product only when your product manager becomes too busy for the customer.”

A product manager is responsible not just for building a product that works, but more importantly, one that sells and sticks.

1. Building the nuts and bolts of a product that works is probably the easier part (oops! engineers, no offence). That is engineering.

2. To make sure a product indeed meets the needs and aspirations of customers is challenging.

3. Creating an ecosystem of product+experience (support and service) is where the magic is created. That is where the rubber hits the road.

And this activity cannot be 100% outsourced to Marketing, Sales, Support or Service functions.

When customers decide to swear by your product, it is crucial to understand the why

When those customers decided that your product is not worth their wallet, it is vital to understand the why.

When those key prospects are still undecided, to test your product, it is still essential to understand their why too.

Listening to customers and users is a vital part of product management. Much to the chagrin of many organisations, l product managers tend to be internally focused on product engineering only. Product engineering is a ‘part role’ of a product manager.  What is core is to listen, to meet and to interact with the product’s long time users, customers and, (more importantly), the ones that dumped the product after the first few uses.

This is what good product managers do. Understanding the customer, listening to them, and bringing in the right features functionalities in the product they are building is the key. And these cannot be done by being internally focused.

Meeting customers is a part of the day job of a product manager. It is just as important or more than looking at the spreadsheets for sales and profitability or those slides for marketing or the PRD for engineering. I would add first-hand interaction and information collection with the customer gives life and purpose to the product.

And product manager who becomes too busy for a customer will soon see customers who become too busy for the product. #LawOfKarma or #CommonSense

Thoughts? What is your experience?

Categories
aspire career CEO email Leadership Lesson productive time

PASSing the E-mail test

The US economy loses over $900 billion annually in lost productivity and up to 28 percent of workers’ time due to information overload because of email. The impact is severe – not enough strategic thinking time, lack of work/life balance, and workflow breakdowns.
With billions worth of lost productivity each year, many companies are questioning the value of e-mail and how to bring it back into balance. It would appear on the surface that e-mail is a big problem. However, is e-mail really the problem, or is it the approach to e-mail that’s flawed?
It is easy to see that the real issue is the behaviors employees have adopted and developed around approaching their inboxes, such as:

  • compulsively checking e-mail
  • loosely constructing e-mails
  • holding 1000s of e-mail messages in the inbox

To get e-mail under control, we must first re-examine these approaches, recognize that they may not be working, and replace them with behaviors to manage e-mail more effectively, not just as individuals but as teams and organizations.
I suggest you apply the popular McGhee E-Mail PASS Model the next time you write an important e-mail. It is seen that users spend 32% lesser time, 81% and fewer messages in their inbox when they use this model.
Ask yourself  these four questions while composing e-mails that are lengthy and take more than two minutes to write.

  1. P – What’s the Purpose of your communication and does it relate to a Meaningful Objective? (If it doesn’t relate back to your Meaningful Objectives consider renegotiating or disengaging.)
  2. A – What Action is involved and does it have a due date? (Be clear about what you want the recipient to do: take physical action, respond only, read only, or simply review as an FYI. When using time lines be discerning and make sure they mean something and hold people accountable to your timeliness.)
  3. S – What Supporting documentation do you need to include? (Identifying the supporting information that the recipient needs in order to complete the requested action successfully. This will reduce the likelihood of your message coming back to you with questions.)
  4. S – Have you effectively summarized your communication in the Subject Line? (Follow three elements to a good Subject Line: clarify the meaningful objectives or projects that the e-mail message relates to, clearly indicate the action requested, and identify a due date, if there is one.)

So the next time you write an email, let people talk about your ability to PASS the test.

Categories
aspire career CEO Leadership Lesson productive rewarding sleep

Sleep Less

Sleep less.
Yes, you heard me right! Sleep Less.
This is one of the best investments you can make to make your life more productive and rewarding. Most people do not need more than 6 hours to maintain an excellent state of health. Try getting up one hour earlier for 21 days and it will develop into a powerful habit. Remember, it is the quality not the quantity of sleep that is important. And just imagine having an extra 30 hours a month to spend on the things that are important to you.

A story: I was about 8 years old and it was an excruciating pain to get up in the morning to attend my class. My dad once took me aside and showed me a newspaper article about Indira Gandhi, who was then India’s Prime Minister. I vividly remember the article talking about her canvassing for elections and her hectic schedule. I used to admire her as a leader. My dad then asked me if I knew how many hours of sleep she had. He went on to add that she required three hours of sleep a day. I have not checked the veracity of that statement to date – but can vouch that that statement changed my life. I seldom sleep for more than 6 hours and this was instrumental in me doing more with my own life.