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World Class PMs

  • 11 January 2022
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Hi all,

I am trying to come up with a framework of who we are as a team and what makes us world class PMs working in collaboration with my team.

I wanted to ask this question to the product leaders here. What are your thoughts?

 

What are the characteristics of world class PMs?

What kind of initiatives can make a product team world class at a company? e.g. meeting other product managers and learn from them OR focus on particular product areas etc.

 

Curious to hear your thoughts.

 

Thanks for the ongoing support.

Ash

 

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Best answer by scott.baldwin 11 January 2022, 20:56

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Hi @Ash I’ll share a mix of thoughts and resources on this, given the question is very broad.

Here at Productboard, we think the best product teams and PMs demonstrate Product Excellence. We define those teams as having mastery in three areas:

  • deep user insight
  • clear product strategy
  • coherent roadmap

You can really think of this as being a team or PM that’s grounded in a vision fueled by insights, who makes good decisions about where to play and where they will not, and that collaborates well across the organization and constantly listens and adjusts course. There are lots of patterns you can probably extract from our writing and the writing of others, but most excellent or world-class teams and PMs are outcome-driven, empowered, diverse, customer-centric, and execute well.

Marty Cagan has written on this topic and some of the traits he sees in Strong Product Teams and also extensively in his new book Empowered. He summarizes great teams as being comprised of:

  • Ordinary people that are empowered and inspired.
  • They are empowered to solve hard problems in ways their customers love, yet work for their business.
  • They are inspired with ideas and techniques for quickly evaluating those ideas to discover solutions that work: they are valuable, usable, feasible and viable.
  • Truly empowered teams produce extraordinary results and don’t require exceptional hires. 
  • Truly empowered teams also need the business context that comes from the leadership – especially the product vision – and the support of their management, especially ongoing coaching, and then given the opportunity to figure out the best way to solve the problems they have been assigned.

You might also draw some inspiration from Petra Wille’s recent talk in our community where she highlighted some of the attributes of what a competent PM looks like, how to use that to evaluate your team (e.g. via Petra’s PM Wheel), and set in motion a growth plan to close gaps and develop your PMs.

 

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Much like @scott.baldwin response, we strive for a few key things in our product team. I would say for young teams the most important one to focus on and get right early is, communication, and lots of it! Over and over. Consistency in messaging, and consistency is where this messaging is documented is really important and I believe will make you world class! 

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