Product & Startup Builder

Filtering by Category: Effective Communication

Product Managers Need To Say ‘No’

Added on by Chris Saad.

I've noticed a lot of product managers end up in a situation where an avalanche of shit is landing on their head from multiple sources. 

When in this situation they often take it all on and view their job is to just keep shoveling - trying their best to dig themselves out - all the while failing to meet anyone's expectations and not having very much fun.

While this might seem admirable it is ultimately ineffective.

Part of the Product Management role is to clearly communicate to all stakeholders (including the people providing resources) how much is on your teams plate and if you need more resources, time and/or prioritisation. 

The most powerful thing you can do is say "No" as clearly and thoughtfully as possible.

You do this in multiple ways, including...

1. Be ruthless about prioritizating your backlog (in collaboration with your stakeholders)

2. Provide clear information/visualization for your stakeholders about what's on your roadmap and how long things will take to get done. 

3. Push back against stakeholders who say "Isn't it easy to..." or "Can't we just..." and instead make it very clear what it takes to build and ship a quality product (using your roadmap as a tool for communication).

4. Insist that if your team is going to be responsible and accountable for more than it can handle, that you either get more resources or fewer responsibilities.

If the stakeholders around you don't understand or respect this process, then you're also free to move on.

Originally Posted On Facebook

6 Things To Avoid As A Young Startup

Added on by Chris Saad.

As a young startup, the things you must avoid include...

  • Biting off more than you can chew

  • Protracted timelines/scope creep that can blow out

  • Over engineering your solution before you know what your users really need

  • Vague requirements

  • Poor/miscommunication between stakeholders

  • Over promising and under delivering

This is why MVPs and strong cross functional process is essential. 

Reminder: If your problem is getting from A to B then the MVP is a skateboard (then a bicycle, then a motorbike, then a little hatchback, then a sedan, then a Porsche), not 4 wheels.

Originally Posted On Facebook

2 Ways To Handle First Calls

Added on by Chris Saad.

As a Strategic Advisor, there’s two ways to handle first calls:

Option 1. Talk about how you could help, in theory, if they formalize the relationship with you. In this case you’re leaning on scarcity and mystery.

Option 2. Help as much as you possibly can, for free. In this case you’re hoping they understand the immediate value and recognize that the devil is in the implementation details.

I prefer option 2.

Add value. The rest takes care of itself.

Originally Posted On Facebook

How Did Uber Scale So Fast?

Added on by Chris Saad.

My friend just asked me how Uber scaled so fast. My off-the-cuff answer:

  • Huge ambition/vision/appetite - this animates and motivates everyone and everything 

  • First principles thinking - this leads to ignoring legacy constraints and encourages new innovative thinking/solutions

  • Fearless execution with ownership/accountability at the edge - which allows everyone to move fast without waiting for permission

I’d also add...

  • Bias towards action - move fast. Have the meeting this week, not next week

  • Hire strong operators that, in-turn, hire strong operators. 

Of course, these are some of the same things that got it in trouble too.

Originally Posted On Facebook