Product Management Is A Team Sport

One of the challenges of being a Product Manager is that you can’t produce anything individually. We can make plans and write requirements but without other members of the business team to deliver inputs and outputs to our work nothing will actually happen.

This week I have been reading the Ten Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelly and one of the lines that really resonated with me was this sentence; “The relay is won in the baton change”.

This really left me thinking about the way in which Product Managers interact with operational teams within their organisations and even their own Product Management team.

How can we improve the “baton change” between different parts of the business?

First, do we have all the roles in the team that we need? You can’t run a 4x100m relay with only 3 runners can you?

Do we have the same team objectives? Do we want to just finish the race or finish first? As obvious as this sounds, this can be one of the biggest challenges in bringing a cohesive team together.

So, how do we work together to avoid dropping the baton? In sport, this is done with practice and training. In business we generally test our skills during the real thing. Is that really the best way to get it right?

So this week, I’ll be looking more critically at the way I with work with my team mates and how I can improve my baton changes.