7 New Year Resolutions for a Product Manager

Product Management

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December is coming to a close and the Wizeline office is getting in the holiday spirit: spending time with loved ones, drinking too much eggnog, finalizing our 1H 2016 roadmap…

Getting ahead on planning is only one of Wizeline’s New Year’s resolutions. In no particular order, here are our 2016 #PMresolutions:

Spend less time planning and more time delivering

This is easier said than done, but there are a number of ways to streamline and speed up the planning process. Sharing plans and progress in a central place helps reduce confusion and promote alignment. Keeping a more organized backlog, with “up next” priorities near the top with rich contextual data, offering no surprises when the next features are prioritized. Fewer emails asking for clarification, fewer meetings to “touch base.” All of this gives back valuable time for what matters: actually delivering product.

Make more data-driven decisions

When it comes to deciding what to build next, it’s tempting to rely on your gut, give in to the loudest voice in the room, or just prioritize whatever gets handed down from the executive team. In the New Year, resolve to put these bad habits behind you by weighing contextual information — such as measures of pervasiveness and business impact — when prioritizing your next release.

Kill at least one zombie project

A zombie project overstays its welcome on the roadmap, missing milestones and sucking up engineering and product resources — essentially devouring your team’s brainpower and depleting R&D. Make a point to identify at least one zombie lurking on your roadmap in 2016, and take them out. Your stakeholders will thank you.

Know and show ‘the why’

Being more data-driven in making decisions is a win-win. Building what the data dictates is more reliable and repeatable than listening to the loudest voice in the room. Actually knowing what features customers will use and pay for, based on market feedback, makes your decisions that much more credible when explaining the why to stakeholders.

Automate the automate-able

Stop manually notifying team members of product progress. Sending around spreadsheets and slides causes confusion and a lack of consistency. Writing one-off emails isn’t scalable. Optimize communication by creating a central place to update and share progress in real time. 2016 is a perfect opportunity to ease your dependency on manual roadmapping. When you do, you’ll free up more of your time to focus on more important things, like customer meetings and product strategy.

Have more non-sales meetings with customers

Bottom line: product managers need to go to more sales meetings. Not to sell, but to create stronger customer relationships. Product managers get to hear the problems and pain points from the mouth of the end user, and the customer has more confidence knowing that your product team actually cares about their voice. It’s a win-win.

Groom the backlog

Ah, grooming the backlog — the flossing of the product management world. Nobody wants to do it, but it has to be done for long-term health. This time around, do it once at the beginning of the year — and then create a framework for keeping your backlog clean and organized throughout the year.

What are some of your #PMresolutions? Let us know on Twitter @thewizeline.

If you’re interested in learning more about our roadmapping tools and platform, reserve a spot for our upcoming webinar. Can’t make the date? No worries — drop us a line via this form and we’ll schedule some time to walk through Wizeline 1:1.

Have a great holiday season and New Year. Happy roadmapping!

Wendy Posted by Wendy on Tuesday, December 29, 2015.

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Dec 12, 2017

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