Visionaries, Street Sweepers, and Product Management

Visionary product managers will often aim to influence the development cycle in ways that end up being detrimental to the process. Startups don’t need a visionary product manager. They need someone who appreciates their role as a street sweeper, prioritizes well, embraces what they don’t know, and invests in relationships.

Extract from an article by Jon Sadow

Startups Don’t Need Product Managers Who Are Visionaries

A visionary product manager might feel they have all the answers due to their specific background. Yet, in practice, how well a manager fills their knowledge gaps matters much more. Great product managers must surround themselves with, and embrace the knowledge of, people who have expertise in subject matter areas like designing, building, marketing, and distributing products. If product managers don’t embrace what they don’t know, they’ll end up making decisions beyond their area of expertise — or worse, leaning too heavily on what they’re familiar with.

Visionary product managers will often aim to influence the development cycle in ways that end up being detrimental to the process. Startups don’t need a visionary product manager. They need someone who appreciates their role as a street sweeper, prioritizes well, embraces what they don’t know, and invests in relationships.

For product managers, building great functional products is about iterating and supporting a smooth development process. For leadership teams hiring a product manager, these are the types of questions they should ask of candidates: What does your candidate think their job will be? Do they see themselves as someone who sits in the back room, closes their eyes, and thinks of the next big thing? Or do they see themselves as a facilitator? Their answer will be telling, because the right approach will go a long way toward engendering sustained success for your company.

Additional Reading

Source: ComplexDiscovery