Good product managers are more of a generalists than specialists in any organisation. Right from idea brainstorming and validation to getting the final feature shipped with good UX and KPIs monitored after launch, a product manager has her finger prints all over. While lot of PM talk revolves around the good parts, there are some grunt tasks that a product manager has do to get their feature successful. Let’s look at some of the less exciting / celebrated tasks of a product manager.
Your product is only good until it hits the market. The market validates the product and to stay relevant, it’s important we prioritise this feedback and iterate quick. There’s no better source to understand the market than the feedback we receive from the people who use it.
If you are unsure on how to get this crucial feedback from the customers, here are some ways:
a. Have a feature onboarding email set automated and replies monitored
b. Allow your users to reply back to the feature announcement newsletter. Monitor this inbox - better yet setup to receive all replies to your work email
c. Conduct workshops with user groups to monitor product/feature usage for a typical problem statement, monitor it and get to take user interviews to make action plan for next product iterations
It’s easier for all us to fall into the trap of data overload. I have seen companies religiously collect data, but make no proper use of it. Some key decisions on the usage can be arrived by taking a deeper look at the analytics data. Do not be overwhelmed by the raw data, instead try to slice and dice the data points in an excel sheet and see what makes sense.
a. Get really good at using Google analytics / mix panel dashboards
b. Learn to send custom metrics data to your analytics platform in such a way that it’s easier to fetch and drill this data whenever required without complex data formulae to use
At one of my first jobs I worked, ClickDesk, everyone in the org used to take part in the support chat - at least few hours a week. Including the CEO of the product. That expectation was set, so we are closer to our customers and understand what potential issues the customers usually face. This helps everyone of us empathise with the users of our product and help us make better decisions with our feature roadmap and tech debt prioritisation.
a. Get familiarised with the product itself. Have FAQs and common problem ready. Better yet, if you have access to engineer ready to resolve some problems quickly
b. Dedicate 4 hours in a week to go through customer support portal and forum (if you have one) to understand the common problems. Have a meeting with the folks answering support queries to understand the common problems and what you can do as a product manager to make their lives easy.
Documentation & Enablement
What good is a product feature without a supporting document and an enablement bog post or video letting users know how the feature is going to help them?
You might think good UX takes care of everything. I’d bet that good UX compliments good documentation, not the lack of it. You should document features to improve
c. Quality of tickets to support team
Finally, do not forget to gather feedback on this document resources. Gauge through “is this article helpful - yes/no” kind of surveys and tweak content as necessary.
For all of these tasks above, I suggest blocking calendar a couple of hours once every week and get into the deep work mode.