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- I just finished the SCPO course, what should I do next?That's the question I've heard many times from aspiring product owners. Everyone who's been in the PM craft for a while knows how lonely this job could be. You have to fight one fire after another with no time to pause and reflect if you're doing the right thing. The situation perfectly described by the following picture:
Looks familiar? How to deal with this problem?
Any improvement starts with admitting the problem. It's fine to say: "I don't know."
- I don't know how to get feedback from my customers
- I don't know how to assess an opportunity
- I don't know how to sell my idea to the C-level
- I don't know how to prioritize my product backlog
- I don't know how to measure the success of my product
- I don't know how to price my product
- I don't know....
Knowing the problem - how would you fix it?
Arguably that is the first thing we try to do. We search for the knowledge to bridge the gap.
- Google knows it all
- Costs are your time and brainpower
- General knowledge - need to apply it to your context
- Lacks structure - doesn't tell the full story
Learning by doing
"Just do it" and learn from the experience.
- You learn from failures
- That's how thousands before you learned
- Your customers are paying for your errors
- You don't learn from success
Product management training
Structured professional education is one of the best ways to gain needed knowledge and succeed in your job.
- Broad or specific training based on industry best practices
- Gives you proven frameworks
- Need to apply a framework throughout your organization
- "My company does stuff differently."
An effective way to fill the gaps in your knowledge is to reach for a specialist.
- Fixes a problem here and now
- A consultant benefits from working with multiple customers
- Knowledge comes and goes together with the consultant
Product Management Coaching
The most effective way to learn your trade as a PM is to have a senior colleague who'd be willing to share her (his) wisdom. Someone who has been there, done it.
- 1-on-1 coaching
- Knowledge immediately applicable
- A coach needs to learn your context
- A coach needs to be available when you need and as much as you need
- For optimal efficiency parties should build trust and rapport
Let's break each point down.
You talk directly to your coach. Asking questions, discussing outcomes, almost working together. A coach not only helps you to develop certain specific skills but also holds you accountable for following your educational path.
Knowledge immediately available
A coach knows your context. Your company, your product, your market. This means you can apply immediately what you learn. You can discuss what worked, what didn't and what to do next. This doesn't come without the cost. Your coach would need time to learn your context. It would require effort from both parties. If your coach previously worked in your industry, it might help enormously and bring you up to speed much quicker.
Say you need to give a presentation to the board of your company tomorrow. You need your coach's attention today to help with your preparation. Planning ahead always helps but we know certain things are asap.
Trust and rapport
Coaching in its very essence is the relationships of two individuals. As for any relationships, trust and rapport help to make interactions successful. I've seen several coaching relationships that were strictly relying on accountabilities and formalities. Yet for most cases - getting along did help a lot.