Improving Product Management Requires Senior Leader Involvement

A senior business leader (and a reader of The Product Manager’s Desk Reference) recently reached out to me. He said that it was time to engage Sequent Learning Networks to deliver a Product Management training workshop for a large group of product managers.

After some time passed on the phone, I asked him a couple of basic questions:

  •  What’s not happening with your product organization that you think should be happening?
  •  What’s happening with your product organization that should not be?
  •  What do you want to have happened?

He started by listing out some of the things he wanted from his product managers. He wanted them to be more strategic, more influential, and to improve their ability to make decisions.  That was just the start. He had a long list of items that seem now, too numerous to include.

Gaining Buy In

The deeper the conversation, the more apparent it became: the training workshop would not add value unless other changes actually took place in the organization. He only started to realize that he needed to gain buy-in from other functional leaders because they were responsible for dedicating resources.

This included more support from the market intelligence group and a greater level of collaboration from operations, supply chain, and development.  Further, he knew that in order for product managers to be more strategic, they needed clear goals and a cogent strategy so that decisions could be more easily made.

I suggested that he read my book: Managing Product Management.  He did, and afterward, called me back.  He could not contain his enthusiasm and he bought copies for the other members of the leadership team.  Now their eyes were open.

Understanding Product Management

They realized that to enable product managers to be more successful, the larger organization needs to understand the purpose and structure of Product Management.  With this in place, I facilitated a one day workshop for leaders on how to:  Implement Product Management and Manage Product Managers!

That was all it took to get the leaders to align more closely and to set the stage for the type of cross-functional engagement required to support Product Management and to clarify everyone’s roles.

When we delivered the Product Management Essentials workshop, it was attended not only by product managers, but key cross-functional stakeholders.

In the end, it was a win-win and the organization was well on its way!

Share This