If You Could Say One Thing to Your Company President ...

By Pragmatic Institute January 27, 2009

It’s clear many of you are looking to your company president for focus.
  • Focus and stop micromanaging.
  • Focus on 1 or 2 market segments.
  • Focus on distinct competence.
  • Focus on real customer needs.
  • Focus on the critical few business items, fund them, and gain the support of the entire organization around them.
  • Focus on the market and we will not get swept away by the economic downturn.
  • Focus on the targeted, defined market we’re in. Not on other markets where no distinctive competence exists.
  • Focus on winning products only.
  • Focus. Listen to the market, and allow product management to focus externally. Fix the operational barriers that force product managers to focus internally.
  • Focus. We are too small to be trying to do all of the things we are doing.

Many of you want your president to lead, articulate a vision and set strategy for the organization.
  • Our market space provides great potential but you need to clarify your market vision and better communicate your business goals to your staff.
  • Give the company a vision and a strategic path for everyone to follow—get out of the old ways
    of doing things and start looking at new approaches to tackle problems. Look at our prospects, not just our customers for product innovations.
  • Give this company direction. Give this company a plan that all employees are on the same page with.
  • Give us a clearly defined business strategy and stick with it. Then communicate it to the entire organization.
  • Support the new function of Product Management by respecting the process.
  • Please provide us guidance on what basis you expect us to compete for the next 24 months.
  • Please give us direction and a vision, rather than linger while you’re waiting to retire.

Then there are the “stop” messages...
  • Stop changing company strategy every two weeks. It makes it impossible to develop and maintain a product roadmap that we have any chance of sticking to.
  • Stop changing priorities—let’s finish the products we’ve started and get them right.
  • Stop chasing the last great deal and focus on maintaining long-term viability.
  • Stop micromanaging.
  • Stop reorganizing all the time.

And the “let me” messages…
  • Let me do my job!
  • Let me do product management instead of sales support and you might be amazed at what we could accomplish!
  • Let me in on decision making more.
  • Let me own P&L of my product with the ability to add resource if a business case exists and my products will be more profitable.
  • Let product management do our job. Stop micromanaging and dictating the technology we use—it is too costly to always be the first adopter of a new technology and expect to offer a high-quality product to our customers.
  • Let product management do their job.
  • Let product managers do their job as Pragmatic Institute defines the role. Don’t commit to any dates without a moderate level of definition and scoping. Clearly define roles & responsibilities.
  • Let us product managers help you.

It is not all negative, a number of you praised the president and clearly work for the “good ones.”
  • Thank you for building a company built to last through any economy.
  • Thank you for supporting a Product Management process!
  • He is a leader and knows the company from top to bottom!
  • He is extremely thankful for the jobs we all do and he expresses it often!
  • He trusts his people to be effective, challenges them to succeed, and empowers them to make decisions.
  • I think he really does care about the company and the people. It’s not just something he tells customers and prospects.

On the other hand, some of you work for the “bad ones.”
  • Would be nice if there were less lies in our PR.
  • You are not the market.
  • Resign. You offer no vision, you create poor morale, and you get in the way more than not.
  • Please stop selling things that we have not built yet.
  • Please listen to the customer!
  • Please leave!
  • Just because it has the word “product” in it doesn’t mean you can dump it on Product Management.
  • Do you realize you are paying a lot for me to sit around and demo to unqualified prospects? How can that be profitable?

And finally...
  • Could we please have someone assigned to this weekly two hour planning meeting to track decisions & deliverables?
  • There are some customer “requirements” which violate the laws of physics. I think there is a theorem in differential equations that proves we cannot optimize simultaneously for two or more factors.
  • Great guy, but a bit of a cowboy.
  • Stand up to the Corporate Blockheads who are destroying our ability to be successful!   
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