What a product manager needs to succeed is momentum. Momentum in product development, in product sales, in customer adoption, …. – you name it. Lack of momentum is akin to death. If your company is not willing to make necessary investments in your product, it will die. If enough engineering resources are not dedicated to your product, it will die. If there is not enough marketing muscle put behind your product to create awareness and interest, it will likely fail. So what can you as a software product manager do, to get this “momentum”?
- Earn customer capital: If you can show that you talked to real customers who are likely to buy your product as opposed to holding on to internal opinions, you stand a chance to gain momentum. Even if you don’t talk to customers, but instead have data that proves user behavior (for example web analytics data), you are likely to gain momentum.
- Political capital: If you can make a business case on why the company cannot ignore the opportunity you have identified based on the “customer capital” you have earned, you are likely to gain momentum. If you can get buy-ins from individual stakeholders and get their backing, you are likely to gain momentum.
- Early market success: If you can build a minimum viable product, launch it into the market and get early market success, you will likely win over the last standing doubters and build momentum.
If all you have are your opinions, you will lose to the HiPPO (Highest Paid Person’s opinion). Instead if you have data to back up what you are saying, you are likely to gain momentum that will make you successful.
And in spite of all this, if you don’t, it may be time for you to move on. Trust me, I have been in this situation, where no matter how much data I brought in to prove my case, it fell on deaf ears and the organization was more concerned addressing what appeared as the “next big deal” that the product which was bringing in the bacon was left to languish. All you can do then, is know that you put the best foot forward and hope for the best.
What do you think? Do you agree?