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The 10 Dysfunctions of Product Management

Posted by Matte Scheinker | January 26 2021

I’ve been a product leader for more than 20-years and, sadly, I’ve experienced (and sometimes unintentionally caused) every one of the ten top product management dysfunctions. After listening to Ben and Rajesh speak on the Rocketship.fm podcast episode, The 10 Dysfunctions of Product Management, here are my top three takeaways, as well as timestamp links to the corresponding part of the episode:

1. All dysfunctions have a common cause.

All ten of these dysfunctions are familiar to anyone who’s been working long enough in the industry. From releasing endless features to over-optimizing insignificant details to building products by consensus all of these dysfunctions share a root cause. “There’s one commonality that [the dysfunctions] all have which is that they’re all ways in which a void gets filled within an organization. It’s a void, to some extent, of product leadership.” (25:57)

2. Don’t play whack-a-mole with your dysfunctions.

Trying to identify and address each dysfunction independently is a losing battle. Instead, you need to focus your time on the work that sets your product up for success. That includes the foundational work of codifying the target market, building a strong product vision, and effectively communicating it internally. “When we see [companies] actually take the time [to do the foundational work] it’s amazing how these other kinds of problems vanish.” (27:17)

3. Product leadership means not passively waiting for everyone else to have the important conversations.

You can wait forever for everyone else in the organization to define the basics you need to build a successful product. Or you can “go plant a stake in the ground and say ‘this is who our target market is going to be, this is the product strategy that we’re going to have, this is what the end-user experience is going to look like when we’ve actually achieved our vision.’ Once you establish those things then you can get buy-in into those. But if you sit around waiting...you’re just not going to get it.” (28:54)

Check Out the Full Podcast 

Curious to hear more about all 10 dysfunctions? Listen to the full podcast episode on Rocketship.fm.

Topics: Executing, Speaking, Product-Driven

Written by Matte Scheinker

Matte is a Senior Product Advisor and coach with Prodify. Prior to that, he was the Head of Product at Lyra, the Head of Product at FutureAdvisor, and the Chief Product Officer at Hightail.

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