My PM Manifesto

I decided to write a PM manifesto to hang over my desk so that I remind myself as to what is important to me in my role as product manager but also generally as a human interacting with my colleagues.

Here it goes:

1. Practice equanimity

2. ‘Yes’ is a commitment, use it wisely

3. Read twice before you send

4. Be honest and straight-forward

5. Smile (while you still got teeth)

1. Practice equanimity

I learned the word equanimity at the 2016 Mind the Product conference — and if like me, you had not come across the word before, it means ‘calmness and composure, especially in a difficult situation’. I think this skill is very useful because when people are passionate about what they do and spend a lot of time figuring out solutions to problems, when something goes wrong, it can quickly be the end of the world for them. If as PM you join the panic, that isn’t helping anyone.

I see my role as a calming force that can put things into perspective and help the members of my team to see a way out of a problem.

2. ‘Yes’ is a commitment, use it wisely

I suffer from typical people-pleaser syndrome, where I would rather say yes than no, even when I am not sure of how and whether I can do it. Therefore I try to remind myself that saying ‘yes’ is a commitment, and that I will feel terrible if I can’t deliver on it. I need to stop and think before every ‘yes’.

3. Read twice before you send

Emails, slack messages or document comments, reading them twice means that a lot of mistakes get corrected before they can cause damage. When I write too quickly, I can send a message to the wrong person, or use the wrong tone. Also, it means that I take more time to explain things succinctly, rather than type what comes into my head. By reading every message twice, I am able to reflect and be a much better communicator.

4. Be honest and straight-forward

I think, this one is an obvious one, but I’ve included it, because for me transparency is really important. Especially if I see other people play the office politics, I might be tempted to do the same. This is to remind myself, that this isn’t me, and that I want to treat people the same way I want them to treat me. And I would rather hear a hard truth, than some nice bullsh**.

5. Smile (while you still got teeth)

I think a positive attitude is always helpful to get you through the day — and it creates much better relationships with your colleagues. That way you can tackle a difficult problem with a friendly discussion, rather than get shouty before even getting to the solution. A smile tends to also disarm people in an ego-war. 🙂

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