As a product manager you are constantly flooded with new product ideas, issues with current products, schedule conflicts with in progress development, and pre/post sales questions that require your attention. To handle those appropriately, one of the most important skills that a product manager can have is that of prioritizing things competing for your time and energy. Some of that ability to prioritize comes from a gut feel for what should be most important, but the most important thing to use when prioritizing things is to determine whether it will help make the company money. Keep in mind that things that make the company money aren’t just related to sales. Sometimes “making the company money” means growing margin by improving operational and development efficiencies. A good product manager will master that careful dance between launching “new” and improving the “old” all towards the goal of making the company money.
Even if a product manager has mastered the dance and learned the balancing act between driving acceptance of new products and improving existing products, that doesn’t mean that they still won’t be distracted. My term for those distractions is “shiny objects”. Shiny objects are those things that constantly pop up in our work intent on distracting us from what really matters and what our real priorities should be.
In subsequent posts, we will explore how to spot shiny objects as well as to identify people, management organizations, and companies that suffer from “Shiny Object Sytndrome” or S.O.S.