Time Management Tips for Product Managers

Time Management Tips for Product Managers

Time Management is a must have life skill for all professionals and is all the more crucial for Product Managers. They are superlative breed of sorts as they are different things to different people in the organization. Customer Success Manager, Product Sales Manager, Product Marketing Manager, Project Manager, People Manager and what not.

Imagine what their work week would look like.

Where do you think they should be spending the most of their time? Can you pick one easily?

Effective product managers need to primarily focus on the customer feedback, product roadmap and development.

And to do it successfully, they need to spend considerable amount of their time on

  • Customer feedback calls
  • Support team meetings
  • Product backlog grooming
  • Development teams

So how can product managers do effective time management to ensure they meet the product vision, deliver what the customers need and drive revenue realization for their business?

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Conduct Short Meetings

Product Manager is also the product marketer both internal and external.  He/she is responsible for getting the product out to the customer, socializing the product vision, validating the product roadmap, making sales & marketing team aware of the upcoming releases and working constantly with the dev team to release a workable increment that their customers would love.

Now, if he spends all his time in meetings he will be lost.

Hence, setting up the right meeting cadence with all the stakeholders respectively is the first step towards optimum time management.

Daily stand-up with the development team on the day’s activities and status at the beginning of the day helps set the goals to be met daily.

Reviewing all feedback received from the existing customers by the support, ensuring the support team understands the product well and is capable of responding with meaningful answers is also a key weekly activity for the product manager. Set that one meeting and get done with it.

Do not entertain ad hoc meeting requests.

Same applies for any meetings on product overviews with the sales and marketing teams.

Stop being the bottleneck

Product Managers love being the go-to person for any and everything regarding the product. In the short run it feels good and very soon they get strangled due to this responsibility.

You are a product manager, not a live chat agent!

Organize all shareable info in a manner that allows all the stakeholders to self-serve.

People can always reach out for any classified or crucial information w.r.t the product’s vision or roadmap.

Make a thorough content plan for every upcoming release. E.g.

  • Feature overview content
  • Benefits
  • How to content

In addition nip the excess anxiety in the bud by sharing the feature release plan with the key stakeholders, so they know what they will get and when. This will prevent unwanted shoulder taps, emails or review meetings.

At the same time, provide the stakeholders a platform to send in their feedback as well as feature requests instead of reaching out to you directly.

This will free up a lot of your time spent on meetings with zero to negligible outcomes.

Empower the development team

This can mean multiple things to multiple people.

More than the technical execution aspect, the development teams need to breathe the product vision.

The product features, their use, benefits must be very pronounced in their minds and they should be able to see how all of these tie into the overall product goals.

The team must be able to visualize how the end user/customers will use the product.

Why is this important to you as a product manager?

If not, you will be turning into a developer, stepping into every minutest of the issues and development aspects. A huge time drain on your part.

Plus the amount of bugs, features not meeting the acceptance criteria & delayed releases will all end up eating your time that could have been spent on more crucial activities.

Product Managers are meant to be proactive and not reactive. Hence, the more you empower your team the more time you get to spend on

  • Grooming the product backlog
  • Capturing customer feedback
  • Analysing the competition
  • Expediting go-to-market

Development team productivity and efficiency is a must to execute releases on time with high quality. Hence, story sizing, estimating and delivering requires the team to be conscious about how they track their time & optimize it.

Practice Time Blocking

Time blocking also known as the Pomodoro Technique is the best known technique for consistent peak performance.

As product managers, it is important to identify your peak performance hours and block them for all your crucial activities.

Do not accept any meeting requests or shoulder taps then. Decline politely.

Plan for all the crucial decision making items then and knock them all one after another.

Pomodoro Technique basically emphasizes that one take a break every 25 mins for 5min and then refocus on the activity.  And take one 20-30mins after repeating the above 4-5times.

Summary

Time management is more about effectiveness rather than efficiency for product managers. Plan your day and week with activities that directly contribute to achieving the product goals.

Set specific % of hours per day/week for the various meetings with different stakeholders. This way you will focus only on the must do activities rather than ok to do tasks.

Remember, you do not have the luxury of free time that you can accommodate stuff that are not likely to help with the product goals.

 

The more you disseminate information properly and reduce dependency, the more time you have to concentrate on refining the product.

Product Managers prefer Orangescrum to centralize all product information exchange, maintain their backlogs, execute sprints and improve team velocity.

Orangescrum helps product managers to collaborate contextually with their development team, make the team self-organized and execute seamlessly.

Start managing your time effectively with Orangescrum today. Sign up for an all feature 14 day free trial today!

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