Ronan Dunlop

What does it really mean to be a happy Product Manager

Productivity Updates Community

Let’s face it, being a Product manager is stressful. Deadlines, metrics, team dynamics, changing priorities, attention to detail, big picture thinking, oh! and backlogs that continue to grow and shame us with their mere existence. It’s also not uncommon to think we’re not doing as well as we could and that other organizations are probably doing a better job.

If you can relate to any of the above and think you could benefit from a little pick-me-up or simply some practical advice on how to manage chaos like declaring backlog bankruptcy (yes that’s allowed), you should check out our latest webinar on what it means to be a happy PM. Not to brag, but some of our attendees thought it was pretty sweet:

The positiveness within the discussion was a nice break within my work day. Loved the constructive answers to some everyday challenges and the uplifting thoughts. Thanks!

I really enjoyed the panel format and how you continually involved the audience through asking questions and conducting polls.

One of our expert panelists, Candice Yono, is a Tracker PM and I asked her to expand on what it means to be happy for her.

Ronan: You mentioned early in the webinar that you get your energy from the team.

Candice: The people with whom we work, day in and day out, are incredibly important in helping us navigate the ups and downs of work. Having a team that you trust means you don’t need to have all the answers. Collaboratively, and with the expertise of each individual, we can tackle the problem together.

Ronan: You also work remotely. That’s a topical subject these days.

Candice: I went from working as a consultant to being a remote PM for a team that is mostly collocated. There was definitely an adjustment period, but a few things made that transition easier. First, I had the opportunity to spend two weeks with the team in person. The time I had on the ground was really important to building rapport with the team. Apart from scheduling a group activity, I made sure to meet with every person on the team individually. Second, I participated in our team’s coffee talks. Every two weeks, I was randomly paired with someone from the team. It was a great way to connect with people outside of work related topics; it digitally mimicked the spontaneous conversations that can pop up in an office setting.

Ronan: I know this was supposed to be a PM happiness discussion, and now we’re veering into team happiness, but I have to assume the two are related. How do you help manage team morale in this social distancing time?

Candice: Communication is an important factor in team morale, especially when everyone is working remote. It helps us remember that we have a team of people with whom we can collaborate and solve problems, which can help reduce feelings of isolation. On our team, we have a few rituals that we follow every week, including daily standups, IPM (iteration planning meeting) at the start of the week, and retrospective at the end of the week. For me, especially as a remote PM, I find that retro is the best indicator of team morale. I really get a sense for how people are feeling, about the work we’re doing, the direction of our organization, and the challenges they might be facing.

Ronan: That’s fabulous, thanks. Do you have a resource you can point our readers to?

Candice: There’s always new stuff across the web, so first I’d say seek it out actively. If you would like a place to start check out our blog and our BuildTV content, but something I came across recently I thought was rather good: Resources To Help Your Remote Team Work Successfully

If you liked the video above, I encourage you to signup for our next webinar coming March 18th Entitled “Treat your strategy as a product”.