3 Ingredients of Awesome PMs
Guy Levit is Vice President of Product Management at Verizon Media (previously, Yahoo), Overseeing Publisher Monetization Products. Prior to joining Verizon Media, he led product management teams at Google. Guy earned an MBA degree at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology.
He recently spoke at a Product That Count hosted webinar and discussed the three essential features of a great PM, why they matter, and how they play different roles during the career of a product manager.
If you think you are an awesome PM or are working to become one, this was a great presentation from Verizon Media VP of Product Management, Guy Levit. You can view the webinar in full with the video recording above or check out the highlights detailed below.
If you’re looking to level up as Product Manager, consider the Strategic Product Management Course produced by Products That Count.
On why these ingredients are important for career advancement
If you’re early in your career, you can probably get your first promotion or two just by doing execution right. However, you will get to a point in your career where you’ll hit the ceiling if you just do that. At these points your ability to drive vision, to get people bought into the vision will become more and more important. So it’s important to practice those skills early on. On the flip side, if you don’t show execution skills, you will not even be able to keep your first job, so the rest will not matter.
On vision being a key ingredient for an awesome PM
According to Guy, vision is important because it lets you keep the focus on where you’re trying to go and what it will take to get there. Here’s some advice he offered on honing that skill.
“Spend time thinking about why you’re building your product. And then practice telling that story to everybody. When we can drive from work or to work again, it can be a good practice to just pitch the products. While in the car, give the 30-second spiel, the two minutes, build the 15-minute spiel, and practice explaining certain elements of your vision.
Why? Why do they matter? Why is the world not where it should be? And what would awesome look like? You can do it in a while doing exercise. Really take the extra time when you’re not in front of a computer and practice it.”
On why being a great leader of people is imperative
To be a truly awesome PM, you need to be able to maximize the talent on your product team.
“People are like vectors, they have a direction, and the magnitude. And how far you get is the sum of all those vectors or arrows and the directions at which they’re pointing. You’re going to have a couple of team members, a few team members working with you. Some are more capable than others, you can see by the size of their arrow. Your job as a product manager is basically to align all those vectors or arrows as well as possible.”
Tips on how to do this well:
- Pick the right team members
- Be strategic about changing the direction of those arrows
- Help them grow
Execution is another key ingredient
Simply put, awesome PMs get things done.
“My view of vision and execution is that they all come down to this notion that people have an option. If you’re an engineer, you can choose if you spend an extra hour working on your stuff or on something else. Your engineering manager can choose whether the extra person you hired will go to work on your product or somebody else’s product. Your salesperson can sell your product or something else. Your customers can choose to buy your product or somebody else’s product.
For them to choose to work with you, they need to believe in your vision. They need to believe that you will treat them right while working with you. Know it would be a good use of their time, passion, skill, and energy. And that your execution can bring whatever you’re trying to do to completion.”
This webinar was sponsored by our partners at productboard, a customer-driven product management system that empowers teams to get the right products to market, faster. It provides a complete solution for product teams to understand user needs, prioritize what to build next, align everyone on the roadmap, and engage with their customers. productboard is easy to use, enables company-wide collaboration, and integrates into existing workflows. Over 2,500 organizations around the world use productboard to build excellent products.
Sign up for a free two-week trial at productboard.com.