Product management training ain’t worth squat if it doesn’t stick



If you’re organisation is looking to roll out Product Management training, MAKE SURE IT STICKS!!!

The number of times we have introduced product management to an organisation only to see it fail are too numerous to mention…

So the question is why???… Why do companies invest thousands of dollars in the training of their staff only to see it whither on the vine??

Well one of the main reasons is a lack of Change Management across the organisation.

Often this sort of training happens independently of the rest of the organisation – generally as a result of Product Management senior people identifying the valid need to give their team the right skills to do their job properly… But given the very broad nature of the Product Management discipline, and its impact across the organisation, the rest of the business will generally be impacted in one way or another by the change to the way Product Managers to their jobs…

It’s for this reason that these days, whenever we roll out product management into a new organisation, or any change in the existing product management processes, we generally insist on a Change Management program to ensure the business gets value for money from its investment…


So what do we mean by Change Management??

Well, its multifaceted… To ensure the Product Managers can make the best use of newly acquired skills, a number of things need to happen across the organisation to ensure that the changes last more than a few months:

  • Clarity on KPI’s – the organisation needs to have absolute clarity on KPI’s for both the Product team and the rest of the organisation – if you don’t have this, it ends in arguments as to who is responsible for what
  • Get the team in place – make sure you have good mentors around the organisation. Whether the staff are new to Product Management or are being re-skilled, it’s important that they have ongoing guidance and support in their roles
  • Reporting tools – if you can’t track what is happening in your business, you don’t know if you are going in the right direction or not. Having regular and accurate reporting on key business metrics such as revenue, costs, service performance and competition is critical – otherwise it’s like sailing a ship blind folded – sooner or later you will end up on the rocks
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate – let the rest of the organisation know what the Product Managers are going to do, and importantly, how the rest of the organisation can help – ensure that this comes from a senior level in the organisation to give it credibility
  • Operating rhythm – Establish an operating rhythm for the Product Managers to work with the rest of the organisation – everything from regular reporting to project meetings, to formal cross functional forums for go to market – the more the Product team has formal means by which to communicate with the rest of the organisation about what they are doing, the more likely everyone will go in the same direction
  • Develop and execute strategy – you can only be effective if you know what the objective is – make sure the rest of the organisation is on the same page,

Product Management is one of the best roles in any company. However if the Product Manager has to spend 90% of the time fighting the rest of the organisation to get things done, it can be the worst.

Change Management is the best way to ensure that any form of Product training makes the life the Product Manager more like the former than the later!

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