Product Management is easy? It’s not! Let’s understand why.

Rohit Verma
4 min readFeb 29, 2024

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PMing is riddled with advice that often oversimplifies the challenges faced by professionals. This article will not only dissect these complex ideas but will also provide tangible examples and action steps for product managers seeking to navigate through these challenges effectively.

Demystifying the Web of Product Management

From Funding to Impact: Beyond the Budget

Example: A startup secures a large investment to scale its operations. Despite the influx of cash, the product fails to gain traction.

Actionable: Focus on ‘impact mapping’ — a strategic planning technique that helps organizations to decide on the features and changes that would make the most impact based on the resources available.

The Role of Leadership in Decision Quality

Example: A product manager notices that teams are consistently missing deadlines. Instead of reprimanding the teams, they initiate a review of the decision-making process.

Actionable: Implement a ‘decision log’ to track and learn from each decision. This can help in identifying patterns that lead to success or failure, fostering an environment of continuous learning and improvement.

The Structure-Confidence Conundrum

Example: After a reorganization, a team struggles to adapt to new roles, leading to a drop in productivity.

Actionable: Develop a ‘role and responsibilities’ charter to clarify each team member’s role in the new structure. This can build confidence and streamline the transition process.

Empowerment and Agency: More Than Just Words

Example: A team is given the autonomy to choose their work, but they are constantly blocked by dependencies on other teams.

Actionable: Create a ‘dependency map’ that clearly outlines each team’s dependencies. Encourage cross-team collaboration to address and minimize these dependencies.

Aligning Incentives with Strategy for True Alignment

Example: Sales incentives are misaligned with the product’s long-term strategy, leading to a focus on short-term gains over sustainable growth.

Actionable: Revisit the incentive program to ensure that it reinforces strategic goals. Utilize ‘OKRs’ (Objectives and Key Results) to align and track progress towards strategic objectives.

Balancing Flow, Flexibility, and Focus

Example: A product team is overwhelmed with tasks, leading to burnout and decreased productivity.

Actionable: Apply ‘Kanban’ principles to manage workflow, such as limiting work in progress and visualizing work to enhance focus and improve flow. Additionally, hold regular ‘retrospectives’ to adapt and refine processes for greater flexibility.

Final thoughts!

The simplistic advice often touted in product management circles barely scratches the surface of the nuanced challenges faced by professionals in the field. This article has unravelled the complex web and provided real-world examples along with actionable steps to guide product managers towards effective practice.

Understanding the interconnectedness of these concepts is just the beginning. The true art lies in applying this knowledge pragmatically — balancing structured planning with the agility to adapt, aligning strategy with day-to-day execution, and empowering teams while maintaining focus on the ultimate goal of delivering value to customers.

By embracing the complexities and implementing these actionable strategies, product managers can navigate the intricate web of their profession with confidence and success.

Thanks for reading! If you’ve got ideas to contribute to this conversation please comment. If you like what you read and want to see more, clap me some love! Follow me here, or connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Do check out my latest Product Management resources 👇

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Rohit Verma

Senior Product Manager @AngelOne, ex-@Flipkart, @Cleartrip @IIM Bangalore. https://topmate.io/rohit_verma_pm