PM role & responsibilities

Essential (Unexpected) PM Jobs

Five unexpected (and essential) jobs of a manager of PMs:
Raised hand
Stop stupid sh*t from happening
Unblock, unblock, unblock
Preserve (and improving) the PM team quality bar
Face with monocle
Preserve (and improving) the product quality bar
Build a strong leadership group

Raised hand
Stop stupid stupid sh*t from happening You are now in a higher echelon of influence and visibility. As such, your team (and the company) are relying on you to have an active hand in shaping what gets done. Use this newfound power! ...

1b/ When you see stupid sh*t happening, within your team or anywhere in the company, push back and ask direct questions. You’ll be surprised by how much impact your opinion now has.

Unblock, unblock, unblock How do you help your teams become more effective? Not by doing IC PM work (e.g. roadmapping, creating 1-pagers, running every meeting). Instead, it’s by leveraging your newfound influence and authority to unblock your teams at every level...

2b/ Short-term (e.g. making sure decisions are made), medium-term (e.g. hiring quickly to fill gaps), and long-term (e.g. aligning everyone around a winning vision and strategy). Anything that slows your team down or leads to wasted work is now your fault.

Preserve (and improve) the PM team quality bar At larger companies, you’ll now be included in the performance review and calibration process. This means you’ll have a hand in determining what great performance looks like at every level. The default path is to...

3b/ make everyone feel good by letting OK work slide. The more courageous path is to push everyone around you to keep that bar as high as possible. Rage against the dying of the light.

Face with monocle
Preserve (and improve) the product quality bar Your teammates will now be coming to you for design reviews, strategy feedback, goal setting, etc. The natural tendency will be to make everyone happy by going with the flow — letting good enough work through...

4b/ Don’t let this happen. You are now the torch-bearer for the quality, ambition, and innovation that happens within your team, (and adjacent teams). Without micromanaging and telling everyone exactly what to do, push your team to think deeper and go further.

Build a strong and united leadership group As an IC PM, your team was your cross-functional IC peers (e.g. engineers, designers, DS, researchers, etc). As a manager, your team is now your peer managers (e.g. EM, design manager, DS manager, etc). It’s essential that you...

5b/ as one unit because your team will be looking to you each of you for a clear direction and confidence. Put just as much, if not more, effort into building a strong relationship with this new team than you did with your IC team. Sit together, ...

5c/ have a weekly leads meeting, and constantly be checking in with each other on priorities, blockers, and personnel issues. The more cohesive your leadership team, the more cohesive your entire time will be.

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