June 1, 2021

Lesson 1: It Ain't Easy

I wrote something. And isn't it ironic considering that the Agile manifesto has indoctrinated me to despise comprehensive documentation? “But,” I said out loud during an inspiring lunch at the Chic-Fil-A near my office, “What if the working product could be the actual documentation itself?”…

Lesson 1: It Ain't Easy

I wrote something. And isn't it ironic considering that the Agile manifesto has indoctrinated me to despise comprehensive documentation? “But,” I said out loud during an inspiring lunch at the Chic-Fil-A near my office, “What if the working product could be the actual documentation itself?”…

…Is anyone’s mind blown? I know. And it’s only the first paragraph...

...keep reading…

No. I Don't call this a “book”. In fact, I put the word “book” in sarcastic double-quotes to flagrantly laugh in the face of institutionalized book publishing. I mean, nothing has ever stopped Product Managers from releasing whatever they want, whenever they want, regardless of value or qualitty.

…Ha!...

...Look, the word quality has a typo, which means I had to purposefully ignore the red-squiggly-spell-corrector-underline-thingy…

…that’s how edgy this is.

Suffice it to say that no stuffy bean counter in a corporate office is going to hamper the innovative spirit of Product Managers like us. If we have a motto, it’s that we move fast, break things, and occasionally sell people’s data for politics and profit…

…so sue us...

...that’s just a figure of speech...

...please don’t sue us.

If I’m being honest, I’m actually appalled at the few printed books out there on Product Management. Shame on the author’s who inexcusably released a product without any plan to iterate beyond the MVP…

…it’s pre-meditated non-tech debt, and I, for one, refuse to go there.

So you won’t find this “book” on Amazon, or at Barnes & Noble, or in the library (are those still a thing?). That is sooooo un-disruptive...

...unless of course someone offered me a book deal. Then I would obviously sell out for money.

Until then, this documentation will push the boundaries of interaction, iteration, and innovation. I mean, seriously, if we are going to invest in writing about Product Management, let’s at least try to not do that one thing that we all know we are not supposed to do…

...the death knell to a Product Managers career...

gasp...

...thinking inside the box.

Instead, let’s push the envelope, break down silos, give 110%, and do all the other cliché things that we can think of.

I bet you are wondering, “Why is lesson 1 ‘It Ain’t Easy’? It seems like all Product Managers do is get software engineers to do all the work and then take all the credit.”

Well, while this is true, I’m tellin’ ya, it actually is hard work.

First off, why should engineers do anything we say? They’re the smart ones with real skills. We’re just nuisances with dumb backlogs full of legacy code bugs.  The currently employed engineers didn’t write that code. Is it really their job to fix it? While the answer is obviously yes, getting engineers to understand this is like getting Donald Trump to consider socialism…

…it ain’t easy.

It’s also hard work because Product Management is a profession for which there is no formal job description, education, or accreditation. We’re perpetually dealing in the unknown of things that don’t yet exist, so we just make it up as we go. And although there certainly should be, there’s no state board that ensures we know the ins and outs of GDPR requirements. I’ve had several product management jobs now and none of them have been even remotely similar to each other. And even though we all claim to be Agile, which, by the way, means nothing anymore, you’ll be harassed by a bunch of opinionated people who think it does…

…it ain’t easy.

And lastly, discovering and building a product that the market will naturally pay for with time or money is one of the toughest challenges in the world. I mean, millennials don’t pay for anything except coffee, air pods, and student loans. The difficulty of getting someone to pay for something goes right up there with nuclear physics, brain surgery, and remembering a sufficiently strong password…

…It@int3@$y.

So in the fearless spirit of doing things that ain’t easy or for which I have no particular expertise, I’ll be tackling a variety of topics which will either take your product management career to the next level or make you reconsider your career choice and get into something more reliable.

Either way, at the end I strongly believe we will all come to the same conclusion…

…damn it, why didn’t I learn how to write code?