After a lot of reading & thinking, I came up with the idea of a simple Trello board to help me conduct effective one-on-one meetings with my team, and to plan each team member’s growth. This is the boilerplate that I could quickly replicate for each team member using Trello’s “Copy Board…” feature. My team has been using it since last October and they’ve found it really helpful to communicate their achievements, issues and most importantly, to plan their growth.
Thanks to them, its now mature enough to help other managers better engage with their teams. The boilerplate board is now public so you can easily copy & build on top of it. Here is a sample board showing real-world use. Get started by copying the boilerplate, and let me know how it works or how we can improve it.
My one-on-one pattern has greatly evolved over the last 4 years that I’ve managed teams. Starting naively by tracking work, it now leaves the daily stuff out and instead focuses on the individual itself. When my travel increased, I felt the need for something online to retain the connect. I believe in transparency and I hate secret dossiers; I wanted a platform where we both have the same view of the relationship, which becomes the single version of truth for all discussion. Also, since it was their plan, I wanted my team to have access even when they decide to move on.
I’ve got inspiration from a lot of sources: blogs, surveys & talks I’ve participated in, etc. Thanks to all!
It feels good to see an active product management community on LinkedIn. I was going through this post by fellow product manager Mohamed Anees Jamaludeen about key attributes of a product manager. He mentioned market knowledge, communication & product knowledge. I felt that I could add a few more traits that would be appreciated of a product manager.
Ability to sneak into the customer’s shoes
This is not the same as getting poached by a customer. A step beyond market knowledge, customer empathy is the attribute that helps a product manager sense the pain of the customer (end-user or business). Without this, he/she will never be able to come up with a solution that matches market expectations. It also lets you co-create with customers and effectively latches them to your product. After all retention is key in this world of infinite attrition, isn’t it? And empathy leads us to a focus on customer satisfaction, and a passion to deliver great user experience. A product manager should take great interest in delivering a usable product – the one that users love to use and helps retain them!
Ability to answer What, When, Why
Product managers should be able to answer who, why, what for and also know where, when and how to sell their products. The ‘what’ can be communicated to stakeholders via MRDs/PRDs/User Stories and prototypes. The prioritized feature backlog conveys the ‘when’, while ‘why’ can be answered on-demand to those (usually one of management, marketing & engineering) questioning the feature or its priority. Processing answers to these questions with some integrative thinking Continue reading 5 more attributes of a product manager→