We have a problem. Do the Product Managers know about it yet?
by Simon Tuddenham
When I thought about the headline for this post, I got rather excited in all honesty. It may not seem like much of an attention grabber, however, I immediately started thinking about all those occasions where it just felt like my back was to the wall as a Product Owner/Manager, back in the day when I had the best job EVER!
How I loved doing those roles. Every day just felt like we were making a difference. We had great leadership, promoting an amazing culture of empowerment and autonomy, and with the world at our feet, very little to ever hold us back from creating great experiences for our customers and users. It felt like so much weight of old process and thinking had been swept away in front of us, that we could literally take on anything thrown at us.
Now, of course it was not perfect. I’d be exaggerating the truth to suggest otherwise, however, it certainly wasn’t a feeling like Sisyphus had every day. Maybe every now and then, that rock might just appear, however, the feeling was never of being Sisyphean, because there was this amazing culture around us.
That said, there are always moments, and one of those moments would arise in the form of the ‘escalation’! Let’s be clear, there will always be an escalation, a moment where someone up the tree, is either feeling a kick, so passes it on, or is of the opinion they need to exert this influence over others. What I came to realise, was the manner in how this would manifest......
It became the syndrome of “always being the last to know”, or pretty much close to it at least. The escalation usually came with 2 key elements.
Firstly, that the number of people who had been involved in the escalation was at times staggering. Like the topic had been passed from pillar to post, in the usual almost fruitless manner. Why do so many people have to be involved?
Secondly, the ‘solution’. Not only did these escalations hit at our door in typically quite a blunt manner, however, they would also almost always come with a ‘solution’ attached. “Hey, this isn’t working, and here’s what you need to do to fix it, so just get it fixed!”
I’ve said it a thousand times....”everyone loves to be the Product Manager”. But they weren’t the Product Manager, I/we were, and yet we were pretty much the last to know. At the time I didn’t realise why, however, now I absolutely get it. The problem was that we just didn’t have the tooling in place to give us that front foot, first awareness. The data sat elsewhere, in disparate tools and reports, ‘owned’ by others. This created silos, placed us on the back foot, and drove the scenarios I mentioned above. We were almost always the last to know!
As my Product journey matured, and I along with it, then just like the slowing river, I could see it more clearly. If you like, I could see the ox bow lake forming in front of me, creating that realisation of what takes place over time, and repeatedly so.
What we didn’t have was the toolkit to inform us, and give that first visibility of what was going wrong. Well now we do, and as I’ve said in previous posts, Skyjed provides the answer to this problem. Skyjed is an end-to-end lifecycle and governance toolkit, and part of that is the capability to set triggers, workflows, and alerts, so as the Product Manager, you get to know first, and straight away!
It’s simple really. Just follow 4 straightforward steps to place yourself on the front foot.
1. What are the key measures you want to always track, and to be able to do so, with limited effort?
2. Assess these measures, and define the tolerance levels that would be important to you, and ultimately lead to an escalation trigger coming from elsewhere.
3. Add them into Skyjed. It literally takes minute to do this!
4. Build the data integrations, whether via API’s, or through more standard upload methods
Once you’ve done this, you’ve cracked it. Every time that data refreshes, your workflows will run, and if there’s an alert, a trigger, an escalation, YOU (and the great teams you work side by side with), will be the first to know. Always!
What’s even more cool, is that you then get to be on the front foot to share this information with everyone else. You and the teams totally close to the Product, can just step straight in to the problem, think about the solution, and communicate this openly with your peers, leadership, and all stakeholders.
Over the next couple of days, I’m attending another Product conference, and leading out a round table on the topic of Tooling for Product teams. I can’t wait to find out what people are still experiencing, and what they’re searching for to fix it.
Skyjed is here to help. Check us out, and why not give our FREE starter tier a dabble. What have you got to lose? And of course, you’ve everything to gain! We'll even get in touch and give you some FREE extra support.