Feeling Overwhelmed

Common in the life of a product manager is getting additional duties and new tasks dumped in your lap with little guidance. You need to roll up your sleeves and push on

The story so far ...

You're fairly new in the role (6 - 12 months), and you have had a second product dropped on you. It was starved for attention where it was parked (and it was really starved) so they have the talk with you, and it is yours.

You are somewhat busy, so you ramp slowly, as it seemed pretty safe. Then your boss turns up the heat. There are extenuating circumstances that demand that it gets a lot more attention. So you dig in.

... and you find a fucking mess. It has not just been neglected, but prior product managers have really messed it up. Poor definition, no vision, let the engineering team have their way with it, really screwed the pooch.

Not only that, but there is no documentation from the past. The prior - prior owner was terrible at the process. So you can't get a good sit-rep. The prior stand in - who was overtaxed - isn't much help.

Then the bombshell. Your boss tells you that we really need a new direction with the product, a complete rethinking of the strategy, the design, and the go to market plan. And apart from some vague "do it better" can't really help.

Here you are:

  • Relatively new, and not a domain expert
  • You have had some good successes, but are not a seasoned veteran (in the team, the technology, or the company)
  • Your boss can't articulate what he wants, just that you show leadership
  • The experts that you might rely on are not likely to help with the structural changes needed
  • There is a tight time line. Hard deadlines that put you on a high-stress path

I guess it is time to pour a cocktail, roll up the sleeves, and dive in. Banzai!

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