Chapter 6. Bad Product Manager Archetypes

There are few paths available today to learn product management. It isn’t taught at college. Training programs on the job are usually lacking. Microsoft and Google are two of the only major companies that actually have an entry-level career path for product managers. Internships are few and far between. And most product managers you meet have made either a lateral move inside their company or have been “promoted” from software development.

If you are lucky enough to be taught product management, what you learn is usually very tactile: writing requirements documents (or user stories in Agile), planning meetings with developers, running check-in meetings, gathering requests from the business team, and testing for acceptance of the developed work and bugs. Many of these steps stem from the work of product managers who operate in a traditional Waterfall environment. This is the environment in which I learned.

Under a Waterfall process, the first step for a product manager is to talk to the people in the business—usually called internal stakeholders—and ask them for their input and requests. This is encouraged in the trainings of newly minted product managers: always satisfy your stakeholder. In my first role, I was told that the stakeholders were the marketing managers, my boss, and the sales teams. I met with them weekly, gained an understanding of what they needed accomplished, and then turned those requirements into specs.

After the requirements ...

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