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My first PM Principles.

. 5 min read .
Artwork by Pontus Ullbors

It has not been long since I was bit by the product bug. Throughout my quest I have been collecting all the πŸ’Žs I came across. Here are my 40 favorites:

πŸ’Ž Empathy is absolutely essential in order to be successful in this field.

πŸ’Ž Soft Skills >> Hard Skills. I spent so much time obsessing over technical skills, design methodologies, agile processes only to realise that those are 25% of the equation. It is the soft skills that are the hard ones to master and the catalysts for success.

πŸ’Ž Psychological Safety is the most important factor for forming high-performing creative teams

Top factors for a high performing team as ranked by Google

πŸ’Ž The more likely you are to be an actual user of your product the better the results.

πŸ’Ž Focus. You dont fail because of a lack of potential but because of a lack of focus. If you want to do one thing really well, you simply have to say no to the alternatives. PMs not only have to be focused themselves but they ought to make sure their vision and their team is as well.

πŸ’Ž Rarely is the lack of good ideas a problem. Lack of proper execution is.

πŸ’Ž Fall in love with the problem, not the solution. The PM should be focused on defining the problem. Educate the team in as much depth as possible about the WHYs. It is the team as a whole that should come up with the solution.

πŸ’Ž It is all about providing value . The measure of how good a product is is not its performance per se but instead it is the empowered user after using the product. People don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves.

Adapted from

πŸ’Ž Choose the hard problems over the easy ones. The bigger the problem, the more valuable the solution and the less crowded the space.

πŸ’Ž Jot ideas down. They come whenever they want, not when you command them to.

πŸ’Ž The capacity and willingness to learn and adapt as a PM matters more than years of domain experience simply because the rate of change of everything nowadays is crazy fast!

πŸ’Ž Be up to date with tech, your industry, your craft, everything. Where are things moving towards? What is the next big thing? This is the way to innovate and not stay behind. At the same time seek to consume content outside what everybody else is consuming. Look for ideas in the fringes to enhance originality.

πŸ’Ž β€˜Steal’ shamelessly from everywhere and everything. Creativity is about copying- transforming & recombining. It is about being inspired from unexpected places and introducing the concepts, ideas, methods, techniques to a completely different space.

πŸ’Ž Learning about cognitive biases & behavioural science is the closest thing to a hack I got to discover in product making. Persuasion techniquesare another very useful hack.

πŸ’Ž If it cannot be measured, it cannot be managed. Record, measure and optimise non-stop everything. Use OKRs. Data is the biggest hack of them all.

πŸ’Ž Fast iteration is key but the big vision is going to be a painstakingly slow process. (aka micro-speed, macro-patience) Practice patience, perseverence and consistency.

πŸ’Ž There is no such thing as the perfect process, methodology or tool. But there is a perfect one for your team. Each team is different and should be managed it as such. Keep tweaking until the right ones are found.

πŸ’Ž Proximate vs Root Cause. Listen deeply and actively. To your users, your colleages, your team and dig deep to get to the core of a problem or an action of the user/colleague. β€œPeople don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter- inch hole.” β€” Theodore Levitt

Adapted from Uri Haramati’s β€” β€˜What you should be looking for in a product person’

πŸ’Ž PMs have to be good at many different things. But while breadth is essential in product, acquiring depth in a field or two is very valuable. Combining skill/ expertise/ knowledge/ experience can in turn create 10x value. Nothing differentiates a jack of all trades when every PM has to be one by definition.

πŸ’Ž Work on creating your own personal creative identity, style and POV. Work on your brand as a PM.

πŸ’Ž People follow what you stand for: vision, values, principles, culture. Your brand as a person and as a product should clearly reflect those to create that bond, the trust and the loyalty. Do everything while keeping mind the brand.

πŸ’Ž Better have a few users that love you than many that like you. Seek to build connections. Interactions over transactions.

πŸ’Ž Always think about the wholistic experience, not the product in isolation.

πŸ’Ž Leave your ego at the door. Product is an art and a science so product intuition is not enough on its own. It is wise to put your assumptions and preconsceptions to the test and challenge them with data. You will often be surprised.

πŸ’Ž Quantitative + qualitative in user research are both important

πŸ’Ž The art is learning how to ask the right questions not to give the right answers.

πŸ’Ž Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.The right amount of technology is the minimum amount technology. Same with words, design etc.

πŸ’Ž Each participant are primarily interested in how it affects them. Make sure you tackle that. Translate whatever it is you want to say to what it means for them.

πŸ’Ž Inspiration> Information. The best way to explain how something works is to show people with examples. An empty canvas and promises of how it could be is much less effective that the beautiful painting itself. Show people. Capture their imagination.

πŸ’Ž Storytelling is a rather powerful tool and can be used in many ways.

πŸ’Ž You dont fail. You either succeed or learn. Empower experimentation.

πŸ’Ž Convert more users instead of bringing more in.

πŸ’Ž Seek to give and receive honest feedback frequently. These cycles are what drivess personal improvement. Just like products

πŸ’Ž Building the right thing and building the thing right. There needs to first be perfect alignment of the needs of the business & the user and then an alignment of that vision with the rest of the team for optimal execution.

πŸ’Ž Be the last one to speak and phrase your opinion

πŸ’Ž Each person has their own frequency of communication. Developers, devops, finance people, UI designers. It is a PMs job to find it. This means deep relationships on a 1-to-1 basis but also learning the β€˜language’ of their craft for ex. tech, marketing & design terms.

πŸ’Ž No black boxes. Transparency in decision making, vision and results is key for a team to have a sense of belonging and camaraderie.

πŸ’Ž Learn the rules so that you know how to then break them

πŸ’Ž Marketing plays a big role and an ambitious PM should understand, be up-to-date and involved in that part of the product as well.

πŸ’Ž Attention has nowadays become the most valuable commodity. But products should inform us and make us calm not distract us and fight for our attention!

I will keep refining this list and posting it once every year.
Some πŸ’Žs will stay, some will be replaced.
Curious to see how it will evolve with time…