/ Product Management

The 'pros' of Working for a Large Company

The Dude is currently working at a large company. It isn't the first time, nor is it likely to be the last time. All the usual grumbles about large, process-heavy organizations apply to his current gig. All things that conspire to drive product managers crazy.

But there can be benefits to a large, well-regimented organization.

Case in point:

A request came in to translate one of The Dude's main products into an Asian language. In the Dude's prior life, this was, uh, a major fucking headache. Find a vendor, get a quote, get an NDA in place, send the resources, wait a long fucking time and get something that sucked, get involved in major revision loops, and finally get something that sorta met the needs. Nobody was happy, but a box was checked, and we moved on.

So, when the request came in, the Dude did everything in his power to block, avoid, evade, and delay.

However, the Dude learned that:

  • There is a dedicated team member to handle this - seriously, you get agreement on funding, and you just submit a request to this person (a really cheery young lady) and magically, it gets done.

  • There is an internal organization that does the translation - a team that can translate into over 50 languages. Not only that, they are tech savvy, so you don't have to worry about irrelevant, or Google Translate brain-dead translations that you have to pretty much redo.

  • The cost is remarkably low - compared to what the Dude has had to pay in the past, it is practically fucking free. Seriously, it is so cheap, that he is astounded. In fact, he is now convinced that he was being ripped off before (he always thought that the services he used were gouging.)

  • The process is painless - in a prior life, the Dude spent fucking man-weeks on the justification to go forward, even when there was a source of funding he had endless justifications, rationalization, reports for senior leadership, glad-handing with the channel. This time, it was "We want this done, we will pay for it" a lite, stream-lined business commit process, and you just move forward. 4-6 weeks later, it is just fucking DONE. Not only that, but the Dude's contact who does this for him, does all the logistics, hands-off.

This is but one example of how it can be a net benefit to work for a large, well funded and well structured organization. Yes, process can be a bitch. But make it work for you.

Summary

Sometimes, working in a large organization is just the fucking worst. It is process heavy, high constraint, and limited freedom to just get shit done. In fact many times the life of a product manager in an organization like this is hell.

But then, in a large, well structured, and well staffed organization there are likely resources up the wazoo that can be a force multiplier for the savvy Product Manager that knows how to leverage them. Great product managers figure this out, and take advantage. Poor product managers fight the system, and get mired in tactical minutia.

Be a wise Product Manager, and use the system.


Jeffery Lebowski

Jeffery Lebowski

Product Manager for more than 20 years, in a variety of technology companies, from semiconductor equipment, networking, industrial test, enterprise software and nano technology.

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The 'pros' of Working for a Large Company
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