/ Product Management

No Rest for the Wicked

As the Dude looks back upon 2017, basking in the perfection of hindsight, and reflecting on the accomplishments of the year, he can't help but wonder about a few things.

First, the Dude was enjoying his life as a cog in the wheel. A simple Product Manager, working for a large company, in a quite novel niche, with a group of peers that he likes and appreciates. Seemed like a blessing after some of his more recent travails.

Alas, that was too much to ask. First was the assignment of an orphaned product that had been largely ignored for 6 years, and the last attention to it was the thinnest veneer of an update, that the then product manager had phoned in. Not really a surprise, the Dude's deep well of experience, and demonstrated competence has meant that he has been handed the hot potato, or the neglected often throughout his career.

The twist this time, just as he was getting this in the groove, another, more needy product dropped in his lap. This is a pure software product, quite different from the niche, and unfortunately, his peers, while they are great people, are really not well suited for this job.

Dumpster FireSadly, this product is a complete fucking dumpster fire. The prior Product Manager, a very technically proficient person, was a hot mess. Secretive, non-communicative, off-putting, and pretty much pissed off all the development team. The Dude's first conversation with the dev lead was a revelation, and unsurprising all wrapped in one. As this product had finally found a welcome home, and an executive sponsor who has the appropriate vision and leadership (and the ability to properly fund it), it really needed a changing of the guard in Product Management.

Now it is the Dude's job to once again rebuild the relationship with an estranged development team (and this is a 100% geographically diverse team, literally stretched across the globe). It will not be simple, but the journey has begun.

Fortunately, the Dude's management this go-round understands the risk of overloading the Dude, and the trade-offs that demands. About 2/3 of his current workload will be offloaded, including the neglected niche product that the Dude was beginning to view as his challenge to turn around.

The New Year brings new challenges, new opportunities, and yes, even some frustrations. All in a day's work as a Product Manager