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The Importance of Aligning on Priorities with Your Manager

Kevin Gu

Director Of Product Management at TextNow

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Problem

When I joined my current team, the previous product manager had left, and my new manager, the director of product, had just created a new roadmap for the team. He wanted me to come in and execute on that roadmap. As I started to work through his plan, I found that by talking to some of the engineers on the team, I realized there were actually some technical constraints which had not been accounted for in the roadmap my manager passed on to me. These constraints required a different sequencing of the projects we were working on. I realized I needed to make some changes to the roadmap, present this to my manager, and convince him the updated sequence was the best strategy.

Actions taken

Before I discussed this with my manager, I met with the engineers to brainstorm a few sequencing options. I then presented these options to my manager, recommending one that would deliver business impact the earliest. This recommended sequence pushed one of the projects my manager really wanted us to work on, to later in the year. This is one of the reasons I made sure to present him with all of the options, so we could discuss the trade offs. Ultimately he was satisfied with my recommendation and agreed that it is priority to deliver more business impact rather than finish a project that he really liked.

Lessons learned

I learned that getting alignment with your manager on what is priority for his team is very important. Whether it's delivering business impact or launching a very specific idea or feature. Because of this, I highly recommend one on one meetings with managers, to consistently check-in to discuss priorities. And in the case of presenting changes or suggestions to your manager, come prepared with multiple solutions. This shows that you thought about the problem/situation from all angles, instead of just pushing one opinion.


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Kevin Gu

Director Of Product Management at TextNow


Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyDecision MakingEngineering ManagementPerformance MetricsPerformance ReviewsFeedback TechniquesTechnical ExpertiseTechnical Skills

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