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PMs: How To Make Sure You Aren’t Wasting Everyone’s Time

Published: October 29, 2016

Product managers, here’s an easy way to see if you are wasting your own time, and the time of the people around you. First, buy a watch so you don’t get distracted by screens whenever you have to know the time.

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Next, ask yourself “what am I REALLY doing?” This can be harder than it sounds, but go figure it out.

Then ask …

Does [that thing you’re doing] help your team (and the individuals on your team, you included):

  1. Build trust and reduce fear? (see also here)
  2. Make it safer to experiment and move with conviction and speed?
  3. Achieve a flow state?
  4. Leverage their diverse perspectives, habits, and quirks for mutual benefit?
  5. Work through conflict and become stronger?
  6. See the impact (and feel pride) in their work?
  7. Continuously deliver validated value (outcomes)to your customers and organization?
  8. Add as little as possible to your product for the greatest validated impact?
  9. Learn more about your users/customers/organization/larger ecosystem?
  10. Accelerate the rate of meaningful feedback and the ability to act on that feedback?
  11. Build a rich shared understanding applicable to the challenge at hand?
  12. Practice their sensemaking skills?
  13. Discover new opportunities to deliver value as they emerge?
  14. Think beyond incremental changes? Think big and shoot high?
  15. Reflect on what is and isn’t working and continuously improve?
  16. Hone their craft and branch out professionally?
  17. Work sustainably, with fewer fire-drills?
  18. Eliminate unhelpful dependencies and process, especially when rooted in mistrust and fear? Dampen the musty stink of internal politics, cognitive dissonance, and “just because”ism?
  19. Have fun and laugh? What did you come up with?

No. None of that! Then you can stop doing that. See, that wasn’t hard! Do something else.

**Yes and No. I’m worried it has some positives, but also some undesirable side effects. **Figure that out. Take your hesitation seriously. Your behavior may not be safe.

By golly yes! Rock on. Keep it up, and reflect on whether it’s working with your team.

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