Product Management 101: Expanding the Middle

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Imagine a Venn diagram.

Three circles, overlapping partially with each other.

The first represents your customers.

They have lives, they have dreams, they have duties, and goals, and problems. So you set on a path to help them solve or achieve some of those. They are the reason why your product exists, why you are dedicating most of your energy, waking hours, and attention to it.

They may be only a handful, or they may be millions. They most likely don’t know what they want or need, but trust them to tell you loud and clear what they do not. So listen to them carefully —even their silence.

The second represents your company.

From founders to leadership, investors to teammates, all embarked on the same journey. It’s a business. It must cover all its operating costs. It needs to pay staff, grow, and ultimately generate profits to invest in the future.

Hopefully, goals are clearly defined and commitments explicit and reciprocal. At times you may have to figure out part of that on your own, but ultimately you must meet or redefine them.

The third represents your infrastructure.

Your software stack, your network, your data centers, the shiny new code using the latest JS framework, the bits you acquired along the way, and the legacy codebase that has been faithfully serving your product for 15 years.

It enables you to build your product and dictates its harshest limits. It represents a continuous balancing act between execution speed, product quality, taking on new technical debt, or paying it back.

In the middle, they overlap.

Right there in the center, it’s you, the Product Owner. Your role is to find the center of gravity of the pulling forces represented by the three circles above, then expand the center space that is their intersection.

One response

  1. […] have explained why the Product Lead role is a balancing act. Add that to the notions of accountability and responsibility, and we can start sketching a […]

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