8 common traps of Business-Savvy Product Managers

Some of the most valuable people in any organization are business-savvy product managers, they are those who can help the company to close a deal and raise the bar on sales and revenue.

The importance of business and financial skills for a product manager is not even something questionable, product managers should be intimately familiar with how their company sells the product, it helps them to evaluate the viability of any product idea & whole product in the development process.

But to make a long-lasting impact in the business of a company is crucial for a business-savvy product manager to consider other pillars of building a product including team, customers, and technology. In this post, I want to talk about 8 commonplace traps of these product managers in tech companies and why having just business-savvy PM is not healthy for your business in the long run.

1-As I see many business-savvy PMs still believing that they do not necessarily need to provide: business, legal, financial, sales, marketing contexts to their engineers. Instead, they are firm believers in “Developers Need To Write Code” philosophy. This approach would lead to a lack of empowerment in product teams — they feel they are just there to implement.

2-They believe technology & staff should be used to serve business needs instead of customer needs, for this product folks business-requested features of the product have the highest priority in building and delivery, so they do adopt their methodology more to business releases instead of continuous releases of the product.

3-I’ve seen the majority of business-savvy product managers essentially prioritized their Roadmap as a list of business-requested features to be delivered. Marketing needs this feature for a campaign, sales needs this product, … moreover, I peculiarly observed that in many cases these requested features are just not going to be used.

4-Having this sense of urgency to deliver business-requested features, these product folks heedlessly miss the opportunity to effectively utilize the product discovery process for the discovery and validation of the new ideas. Accordingly, their product team mainly overloaded with delivering business-related stories with no time to discovery.

5-While they are building a feature or product, they are mainly focused on “Time To Money/Market ” instead of considering the role of user experiences and design. As a consequence, they mostly miss getting the real value of design experiments and first-hand learning through design prototypes.

6-A typical day in the life of a business-savvy product manager is full of meetings, calls and answering to emails, they usually don’t get out of the building to have a direct talk with the real customers, instead to learn about how their product used by the real users, they primarily rely on sales, marketing or customer care metrics.

7-While start building a product or feature, this product folks usually miss technical research step and jump right into building the product or writing code. Doing technical research upfront helps us to anticipate technical trade-offs, obstacles, and to diminish the risk of launching out of schedule or running out of the budget. This research can be done in collaboration with the engineering team, CTO, or VP of engineering.

8-I found business-savvy PMs in many ways interested in taking a professional stand at work, they would rather showing up professional at work instead of having active engagement with their product team. I’ve noticed this approach are often failed in building a strong & persistent product team.

In addition to business and financial skills, business-savvy product managers need to have a good understanding of the complete product lifecycle from both technical and customer perspectives, they need to consider benefits of the product for the end-user carefully, they need to go out & learn how customers use their product and what customers valued most to buy the product.

To be a great product manager are to discover, experiment, learn, adapt and adjust for a favorable outcome of your business, team, and customers, hence I would like to see more (Customer + Business + Team )-savvy product managers.

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