One day, I was musing about the job of product manager, and what differentiates a good product manager from an okay one, and an analogy sprung to mind. Think about a golf swing. There is the addressing of the ball, the back swing, the forward swing, and ultimately the follow though. When you are teaching someone how to swing a golf club, you always talk about the follow through, and how that is indicative of a good swing.
However, when you are learning to golf, it is not obvious why anything you do after hitting the ball could possibly be important to your performance or success. After all, the club face has struck the ball, and the ball is on its trajectory. But that is besides the point. A golf swing, like playing a musical instrument, is all about muscle memory.
Having a smooth takeaway, a crisp swing, with a consistent follow through will make for a more predictable, and controllable golf swing. Don’t forget a strong grip, and consistency
How does this relate to Product Management? Glad you asked.
Development of a product is a lot like a golf swing. You can equate the gathering and documentation of the requirements like the take away and the back swing. The actual development process through to launch is the forward swing, and the ball on its trajectory as the product after launch. However, as in golf, your job isn’t done. You need to take on a different role (akin to the follow through) where you monitor the financial and market performance, correct any initial flaws uncovered by the early market. More importantly, it is a good time to run promotions and other marketing activities that will encourage adoption and product awareness.
So, in this way, Product Management is a lot like a good golf swing.
Image: The famous 17th green at Sawgrass