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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

7 Things you must tell your manager

While the title itself is self-explanatory, I would like to add one  point here before you jump on the the numbered list. Your professional growth depends, not just own your accomplishments, but largely on how you communicate your accomplishments and how rest perceive your accomplishments as. Your image, or the mental model that people create of you could make or break your career. And if that person is your reporting manager, things become far more serious. So how do you control the negative influence or in other words how do you positively influence your manager, and help him  build a positive mental model of your personality. Objective is positive image and career success.

Here are 7 things that you must tell your manager on regular basis, as they happen and as you realized it happened.

1. I tried but I failed
Success is preferred outcome of an well executed effort, however it may not be the case always. Communicate your manager about your failures, does not matter how diminutive the task was. It sends a strong message about your character, you don’t shy away from mistakes or failures but you face them and state them. You can be trusted.

2. I learned that....
One thing that comes with both success and failure is learning. What did you learn from this experience of yours. Tell your boss and let him know that you have learned and grown with each project / experience. You are improving day by day.

3. I did this differently
doing is not enough, doing same task differently, or exploring newer ways of doing same old stuff shows that you take keen interest in your tasks and do not get bored too fast. You can be a person your manager will look upon in the difficult times as you will develop a habit of doing things differently.

4. I initiated .....
This is a really very strong positioning of yourself. This conveys straight message that you are a person who drives things and not just wait for directions. You are proactive, prudent and intelligent.

5. I prevented....
You once again demonstrated your prudence here. This statement will largely convey the message that how you ensured that productivity of many was not impacted (negatively) because you could sense something wrong and stopped it. A penny saved is a penny earned.

6. I appreciated....
Your are not arrogant, nor do you believe that you are superior than others – prove this, appreciated efforts put in by others and let your manager know that you do value your team and colleagues. You are a team player

7. Yes, that was done on time
Make your boss believe that the task assigned to you is considered done. You are his most reliable person.

Keep your manager updated, remember ‘you always have the power to influence mental models that others make of yours’. Practice this regularly and updated me on your next promotion.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Trait that creates a success manager – VI

Trait – build what customer like and not just what you prefer

A typical business challenge that a product manager is expected answer is “What will make my product most desirable by its target customers?”
Answer to this question is simple. solve customer problem, and they will love it. A straight question, with a simple answer yet we don’t get there.

Why do we struggle to offer customer what they value? Probably we as product owners at times get lost in our desires & dreams of our product so much that we forget that our prime responsibility is to build what customer will value. Bring value to your customer, either by helping him earn more or by saving his cost. Usability aspects like look and feel, easy to install, fast application etc are default requirements, you cannot sell your product just on these points

Build your product on values, categorize each feature that you add in one of the two categories mentioned below, and if it does not fit in either than drop it happily, there is always next time for those features;

1.    Features that increase revenue, this includes aspects like newer revenue opportunity, increase in usage, selling supplementary services, cross selling etc
2.    Features that save cost, this includes simplifying SOPs, improving productivity, reducing or eliminating third party license fee, saving on infrastructure / manpower etc

A success manager will always be focused on adding features that falls in one of the mentioned two categories. As @annua rightly mentioned in her May blog @productmantra “are you going feature crazy?” adding feature is not equal to improving product, it is important for you keep your product simple & lightweight and refrain from adding what you can live without.