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Apportioning Your Time as a PM

Delegate
Product Team
Productivity

29 March, 2019

Mike Mitchell talks about the common struggle that product managers face in selecting how to devote their time to appropriate tasks.

Problem

Product management is inherently a cross-functional role. Especially in the early stages you are doing a little bit of everything, from a strategy perspective down to the brass tacks of a product. There are always a lot of things to do and they come from many different directions. This is not uncommon and is a pain that is shared by many of us in this position. So how, as a product manager, do you handle your time management and figure out the best way to properly balance your workload?

Actions taken

  • Give clear guidelines about where you are going to spend your time. Set aside blocks of time and for those items that don't fit into those spaces, delegate the tasks to direct reports whom you trust.
  • Trust your team and give them the independence to do their jobs. Remove yourself from the day-to-day goings on, and be sure your team knows that you have confidence that they will get job done. This will boost the assurance of the team and free up some of your valuable time.
  • The higher in the hierarchy ladder you are, the less time you should spend working with the development teams. Instead, you should be spending more time thinking long-term. Allocate your time to focusing primarily on the long-term strategy of 12-24 months down the road. Decide where the products are going and how are they related to each other. Think about the big picture and the long-term individual product strategy.

Lessons learned

  • It is really hard to think about the big picture when you are in the weeds every day. Although it gives you great input into the long-term direction, especially if you are involved with customers who are regularly using the product, you can easily become consumed by the day-to-day workings and lose sight of where your time is better spent.
  • The people who are the most successful are the ones who have failed the most. Don't be afraid to organize and reorganize your schedule until you have found a balance that works personally well for you.

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