Revisiting habits of successful product managers

I wrote a post at the very beginning of 2020 about the habits of successful product managers. Given we are more than halfway into the year and 2021 is just around the corner, I wanted to revisit some of these habits as a gentle reminder because there is still time to make the most of this year that has turned out to be completely different than what we expected!

With the vast majority of us working remotely, many of these habits have become increasingly more important as we struggle to maintain connections and relationships via Zoom. Here are the habits I encourage you to establish if you’re not already doing so. These habits will go a long way towards helping you become the best product manager you can be. 

Identify the day’s non-negotiables

Spend a few minutes each day prioritizing a small number of ‘must-dos’ to ensure you get those items checked off your to-do list. Working remotely brings the new twist of trying to get those ‘must-dos’ done while dealing with kids clamoring for your attention, your dog wanting to be walked or your wifi is maxed out because so many people in your home are online at the same time. 

Identifying your non-negotiables is key to making time for things that often get shoved to the back burner, such as talking to customers or reaching out to that one stakeholder you’ve been meaning to have a better relationship with. Speaking of which…

Schedule regular check-ins

As a product manager, you are the glue that connects the people inside your company. Make it a priority to check in on a regular basis to build and strengthen relationships with your stakeholders, teammates, and peers. With most us working remotely these days, it’s even more critical to make a concerted effort to stay connected with the people you don’t see in the office. Try doing virtual coffee or happy hours as a way to socialize informally.

Treat your career like a product

If you’re a product manager responsible for products that already exist, you know the importance of monitoring how those products are doing and developing ways to improve and optimize those products, right? You should treat your career the same way!

Make time each month to reflect on your wins and lessons. Keeping track of those will help you when it’s time to do your quarterly or annual performance review. This will also help you keep your resume updated with your biggest accomplishments and achievements.

I also recommend setting quarterly OKRs for yourself just as you would your products. Perhaps Q4 2020 is the time you target for looking for a new job? It’s just around the corner, so use September to start developing your game plan and working on your resume. 

I’m a huge fan of Dolly Parton. She once said, “If you don’t like the road you’re on, start paving another one.”

Are YOU happy with the road that you’re on? Do you wish you could be on a different road? Or maybe you would just like to get from point A to B as quickly as possible?

Spending time monthly to reflect on where you’re at in your career and identifying improvements and optimizations you’d like to make is one of the smartest habits you can develop as a product manager. 

If you’d like help with making a career change, I’ll be offering a 6-week Launch Your PM Career Bootcamp in September. You can learn more about it here, as well as get on the waitlist.

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