Hello fellow punks!
Welcome to the 33 of you who have signed up for this since the last issue. It’s great to have you on board. Hopefully you’ll stick with me while I figure out what this newsletter is all about.
Here’s this week’s issue ⬇️
Team, I love you, but we've only got 14 hours to launch this feature
There's a fallacy in some product management circles that dates don't matter—that product should ship when it's ready, but not before.
Because outcome-based roadmaps get rid of the old-fashioned date and dependency-driven hangover from Waterfall project management, we've been lulled into a false sense of security that we can develop products on our own schedule and forget about everything else.
What that fails to take into account, though, is that dates do matter.
A decent product launched at the right time is always going to beat a perfect product launched too late.
Product doesn't exist in a vacuum. There are business goals, events in the market, regulatory considerations, and a load of other things that are dependent on dates.
In product management, dates are important—often massively so.
Like Tommi Forsstrom says:
I die inside a little whenever esteemed software product dev people post stuff that’s hostile to forecasting future progress.
Yes, it’s hard.
Yes, it’s imprecise.
Yes, you need to use a pencil.
But thinking a business can run with 🤷♂️"things will happen when they do” is myopic.
— Tommi Forsström (@forssto)
May 15, 2022
Great product managers understand that building products on time is hard, but know how to balance "product development can't be forecast" with "we need this feature to land in Q3."
Like Julie Zhuo explains:
Good execution vs. bad execution, in 10 tweets:
Pick two—time, quality, or cost.
Thoughtfully choosing the scope such that things are built on time, on budget, and at a high level of quality.
— Julie Zhuo (@joulee)
Jun 2, 2021
Forecasting launch dates is almost impossible, but understanding the timeline a product or feature needs to land within (and doing whatever it takes to make sure it does) is one of a product manager's most important jobs.
What I've been reading 📚
Anu Artulu was the first Head of Community at Clubhouse and helped steer it from 1,000 users to one of the most talked-about social media platforms.
This article shares everything she learned about growing a community-powered product in that time. A must-read for any founder or product manager looking to do the same:
25 lessons from an early employee on product, community, go-to-market, and more
Product leadership is hard. There are a lot of moving parts and it often feels like you're making things up as you go along.
Always someone who can chart a path through the messiness, this blog post from John Cutler has some great strategies to help you move forward:
Background I met recently with a product leader friend. For heavy conversations I prepare notes. His team (~400 in product/engineering/design) is experiencing a lot of growth, but as with many companies in 2022 there are a lot of moving parts. I present this with a specific set of “to dos”, but nothing here is easy. Sharing here in case people find this helpful.
As a manager or leader, how often do you publicly praise the people on your team? Chances are it's not as often as you should. We love praise, but we often find it difficult to give.
This great post from Ancestry's Deb Liu talks about the positive impact of giving praise, and how you can do more of it:
How a few kind words can make an impact
What I've been writing ✍️
I'm a former professional writer, so I'm probably biased about the value of writing as a skill for product managers.
To some extent, though, product management is about communication. And a lot of that is how you communicate on paper.
Here's a thread of some of my favourite writing resources that can go a long way to improving the documentation you create:
PRDs are dead.
But that doesn't mean you should stop writing.
Here are 10 resources to help every product manager get better at creating product docs 🧵 ⬇️
— Toby Rogers 🚀🤘 (@tobiasrogers)
Sep 7, 2022
See you next week (probably).
The Punk PM
P.S. Feel free to share this with anyone else you think would find it interesting.
I’m still playing around with ideas for content and format for this newsletter, so I’d love to hear your thoughts. Go ahead and shoot me an email with ways you think I can make it better.