PM Nirvana through the past 12 posts
I started PM Nirvana about a year ago to share my learning with the product management community. Along the way, I sought to develop a discipline of monthly writing.
It took me a while to let go of the initial inhibition of “what if they find this useless?”. I almost always procrastinated writing the post till the last date of the month. The first draft was often cringe-worthy, challenging my resolve to write.
But it has been an incredibly fulfilling experience at many levels. The generous personal notes, mentioning how the post helped in their job, I got from many of you have been the primary fuel for me to get going. So, thank you for reading my posts and sharing your feedback.
Here’s a recap of my past 12 posts chronologically ordered by the post date:
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Product Management is a continuous discovery process. Business strategies evolve, new customer insights unfold, and the competitive landscape changes. How do you decide you have learned enough to define an MVP in this ever-changing environment? This article will discuss a framework to help you define an MVP while continuing your product discovery. For each step, there will be examples to make it relatable.
Just a few minutes of mindfulness, just a cupful of mindfulness every day, will deliver tangible outcomes like better meetings, cleaner specs, crisper user stories, and a robust roadmap. And this all, in turn, will provide a better product and people outcomes.
The first few months as a Product Manager are crucial to your career. This is where people make the first impression of you. But PM onboarding is inherently vague and overwhelming. To achieve this success early into a new job, you can leverage a simple framework to ramp up effectively.
Working with a remote, distributed team is a blessing in disguise. The challenges offer unique opportunities to grow and build a powerful team that delivers powerful outcomes regardless of the timezone and cultural differences.
Attaining an on-demand flow state is the nirvana we all seek. While we can’t summon it, we can create the space in our mind and surroundings, so it’s easy to achieve it more often. And the more we can flow, the more we can contribute through our product and drive meaningful outcomes from our PM career.
Striving for promotions is an effective strategy to expedite growth and maximize learning and contributions in a given period. It starts with getting clarity on why you truly seek it. During this phase, you may need to replace limiting mental models with healthier ones. You then define win-win success criteria with your manager and build a path toward your north star. And then you trust the flow immersing yourself in the process without getting obsessed with the outcome.
Feeling significant is a fundamental human need. It's a force for creativity and growth. But at its worse, it can limit our impact and hurt our emotional well-being along the way. Another, more evolved human need is to serve, help and give. And when we shift our focus from the "it's about me" need to the "I am here to serve" need, we immediately transform our emotions that, in turn, improve the quality of our job and help those around us.
The secret to building a solid relationship with your engineering counterpart lies in recognizing them as great human beings, appreciating the value they bring, and making it a priority to invest in their success.
Product planning is more straightforward than is perceived. Start by defining the outcomes that matter. Break the objectives into granular vital results that can be mapped to features. Drive an inclusive backlog-building process to solicit diverse input on how you will deliver the KRs. Prioritize the backlog using the KRs each item maps to. Report the planning outcomes so everyone involved is aligned with the upcoming quarter. Most importantly, enjoy the process - use this as a learning experience and a culture-building exercise for you and the team. Commit to progressive improvement instead of perfection.
PMs need to break the monotony of work deliberately. It takes effort to break the inertia, but it's worth it in the end. Whether changing your work environment, connecting with new people, learning something new, or volunteering outside your domain, practicing a periodic "break the pattern" exercise will keep your mind fresh and morale high.
If you are a developer or an engineer curious about being a PM, you are in a great place. Start with a soul-search on why you want to be a PM. If you sense positive early indicators, move on by tapping into your network and driving a pilot project. Mid-way through the journey, formalize the learning and turn the nob to a full-time PM, ideally within the same company. Once you have a few product outcomes, you can explore the wild for more significant and broader roles. Lastly, use your engineering superpowers smartly by being mindful of the common pitfalls.
Your manager can make or break your career. So choose your manager wisely. But once you have a reasonably good manager, the onus is on you to make the best out of this symbiotic relationship. Co-explore your career goals and map the route to get there. Along the way, help your manager shine by managing up. Finally, leverage your manager in thriving at your current job.
I hope you found these posts helpful. Thank you for your continued support. Looking forward to sharing more learning with you. Please feel free to comment and share what topics you would like to read. This will help me make my content more relevant to you.