The 5 Deadly Mistakes of Product Management

I’ve been working day and night for the last couple of weeks. It’s been gruelling, especially since I have a number of side projects that I had committed to working on. I’m exhausted… one night this week I came home and went to bed and woke up 12 hours later. I’m pretty sure I caught a cold and my body rejected it because I didn’t have time to sneeze. The work issues are really not complex at all, we simply did not pay attention to our customers.

It sounds like a simple solution, but why do people ignore it all of the time? I think there are several reasons:

  1. You don’t pay attention to the masses, you pay attention to the loud voices. This may influence your decision-making to incorporate wide-spread change that is neither necessary nor requested by the masses. The danger here is that you state, “I listened to the customer”. The problem is that you didn’t listen to the customerS.
  2. You believe, in all sincerity, that you are executing a plan that is good for the customer. Your intent is good. Your heart was in the right place. The problem is that you didn’t check with them first. The truth is that you will never totally understand what customers are doing with your product – especially as your base grows exponentially in size.
  3. You think you know better. For some reason, you’ve accepted your position of authority as an acknowledgement of your expertise in a given field. So you think you know what the customer needs and wants.
  4. You don’t focus on the problem, you focus on some solution without fully defining what the problem was. Or, you lose site of the problem as you continue to expand the solution.
  5. You don’t fight for your customers. You allow solutions to be built and integrated based on a collective of incredibly talented developers and professionals. They sway your judgement… and what they suggest may actually make sense. The problem is that it makes sense internally, but not to the customer.

Once again, these appear to be pretty easy mistakes to avoid. However, in the day to day hustle of a company with great employees and fantastic solutions, it’s so easy to lose site of the customer. If you do, the pain will be swift and very uncomfortable.

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