Get the house in order, but don’t forget about your room too

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Product guy: “Sales needs to put up some numbers on this new product.”

Sales gal: “Sales isn’t built to sell what you want them to sell the way you want them to sell it.”

Product guy: “That’s not my problem.  I’m going to keep pushing.”

Sound familiar?  How often have we built interesting products with really awesome cool features but no one buys them?  Why does that happen?

Lately, I’ve been in a similar situation, and I’m beginning to believe strongly that it comes down to execution.  The product is great.  It’s how we enable the rest of the organization to be successful in selling it.

Each department, from engineering to product management to support to marketing and sales, depends on each other in order to enable revenue generation across the business.  Product comes up with the market problems and helps define solutions with engineering.  Engineering builds solutions that product and marketing position with the sales team to sell to end customers.  Support and Services enable customers to succeed in solving their problems with the built solution.  One step can’t happen with the step before it and the overall goal of revenue generation wouldn’t occur unless each step in the overly simple flow above happens.

As a product manager, recognizing that interdependence is paramount.  But even more so, you need to deal with the interdependence and help each party succeed with their role to enable revenue generation.  Pushing on a team to deliver without enabling them will ultimately cause the revenue generation to break down.

So what does that mean?  You have to micromanage start to finish and make sure a solution to the problem spans the entire organization and makes it into the hands of a customer?

Yes and no.  No on the micromanaging, yes on making sure the solution works end to end.

A product manager has to follow through on the promise to solve market problems for customers.  If you’re not delivering to customers via your sales, support or services team, what value does the solution to the market problem hold?  Have you really solved the problem?  Have you eliminated a pain point?

I encourage all product oriented folks to consider not only how to build something, but also how to enable the organization to deliver the solution into customers hands.

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