Last week, a good friend came to town and we had a chance to connect for dinner and drinks. During the course of the evening, one topic we discussed was related to an article that he read that emphatically made the case that small (and some not so small) companies often look to a single leader for “Sales and Marketing.” The case that was made is that these are two very different roles, and thus, it is nearly impossible to find a single individual who could do both roles well.
On Wednesday, July 6th, I attended the SVPMA monthly meeting. This time was different from the usual invited speaker, it was Steven Haines of Sequent Learning who hosted a “role play” of a cross functional product meeting.
An interesting role play, Steven lined up 6 victims willing participants, to represent the major functional groups in an organization, Product Management, Operations, Sales, Marketing, Customer Support, and Development, providing each of them a backstory to guide their motivation.
Additionally, a scenario of a product group as part of a large company that had good initial revenue and traction, but beginning to really falter in the middle of the third year. Provided to the audience was a financial balance sheet, some KPI’s, and a short summary of the history.
Much ink has been spilled over the years as to how poorly defined the Product Management role is, and how this ambiguity can severely impact the consistency of performance. From confusion of what the role is, and what it is not, spill over from other areas, and even the tendency of the tactical to do list crowding out the high level, high value strategic work that a well qualified product manager should be delivering to the organization.
This is the start of a series targeted at Product Management and Product Marketing leadership with a goal to help fine tune your organization
I personally can vouch for this, having seen a wide range of expectations, and a mismatch of these expectations with on the ground reality of the implementation of the role, from Semiconductor Capital Equipment to Enterprise Communications software. Each organization has its own expectations and realities of the “product manager” role, and your product manager adapts to what is expected.