On Friday, Mike Volpe suggested I start following ProductManagementTips.com, a blog run by a former colleague of his. I've been reading through some of the past posts, and just loved this quote from the article Managing Stakeholder Expectations via Product Council,
"After all, product management is like herding cats. Sales goes and makes promises to customers without asking the product group, marketing wants their projects done first, your development team has their own pet projects, customer support wants customer’s burning issues fixed first, professional services want projects that will make them do implementations faster. And all of this needs to be done in a short time with limited engineering resources."
I'm not sure I could have described the challenges that come along with prioritizing projects better. The article goes on to talk about how monthly product council meetings can help you manage internal expectations about priorities better, but how you still need to manage communications about progress in between meetings.
It was a timely article, because this past week we had our first product council meeting. At first I was skeptical, mostly because the name sounds so big company and I am partially allergic to meetings with fancy names. However I found it to be an excellent opportunity to run some of the prioritization decisions I am currently focused on by the HubSpot management team to get their thoughts.
We didn't use the same approach suggested in the article, the meeting was less about decision making and more about discussion. With so many teams that have different priorities, as described above, it's hugely beneficial for each team to hear the thoughts and opinions of the others. I found that the meeting both succeeded in keeping the management team updated on the direction I am headed, and helped me take their thoughts and opinions into account more fully.
What are some other approaches that you have used for keeping team with different priorities on the same page?
* Photo Attributes to Morbuto