Product Management: The Buck Stops With You

At its core, I think about product management from the “Google School” of operations. Simply put, every product manager is the CEO of their product. In other words, you are the primary owner of the product and its success/failure rests squarely with you. This may seem daunting, but if you’re a product person – there’s no better place to be than having ultimate ownership of the product.

In simpler terms, I like to say that “the buck stops with you” as the product owner. For example, your primary goal is to move your product and overall vision forward to stay ahead of the game. Most importantly, you’re also moving the business forward around your product management strategy.

Specifically, you need to focus on navigating your product through barriers that can prevent it from achieving its potential. For example, this includes internal barriers within dependent teams within your product management structure like engineering / marketing / etc. In addition, you need to be mindful of external forces and pushback from your customers.

Ultimately, your success as a product manager is a function of balancing these internal / external factors. Along the way, the key is to capture learnings on a constant basis in developing a roadmap for success.

With this in mind, I like to think of product management as the ball bearings of your organization. Said differently, there’s plenty of friction that occurs when moving along from start to finish. As a result, it’s critical for product managers to keep things rolling smoothly between all interdependent functions.

In the end, product management is a unifying function that makes businesses successful. As a product manager, you are in control of much more than simply optimizing features and benefits. Ultimately, your responsibilities drive meaningful value for both your customers and your overall business priorities.

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About the speaker
Alex Kinnier GetUpside, Co-Founder / CEO Member

Alex Kinnier is the Co-Founder and CEO of GetUpside - helping consumers save money effectively and driving new business to traditional retailers. Prior to starting GetUpside, Alex led the product team at Opower - which was acquired by Oracle in 2014. In addition, Alex also worked on product teams at Google and has invested in select venture capital firms. Alex holds an MBA from Harvard University and currently lives in Washington, D.C.

About the host
Mark Pydynowski

Mark has deep experience (1) bringing new B2B products to market, (2) leading early-stage sales and business development, and (3) conducting user research. He has conducted 1,200+ user interviews over the past 10+ years building and selling new products (software and hardware). Mark runs, a blog to help WashU students learn how to land their first job from alumni that have already landed theirs.

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