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Episode 159 - Practice Makes Perfect: Embracing the Messy Reality of Product Management (with Matt LeMay, Product Management Consultant & Author "Product Management in Practice")

Product Career
Product Culture
Product Principles

Episode 159: Practice Makes Perfect: Embracing the Messy Reality of Product Management

Matt LeMay, Product Management Consultant & Author "Product Management in Practice"

8 January 2023

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8 January 2023 Matt LeMay head shot

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Content Warning - May Contain Adult Language or Themes
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About the Episode

Matt LeMay is a product management consultant, coach and author of "Product Management in Practice", a book that aims to demystify product management and give you a practical, tactical guide for every day of your career. The book's recently had a 2nd edition released, and we spoke about some of the themes from the book.

A message from this episode's sponsor - Skiplevel

This episode is sponsored by Skiplevel. Do you struggle with communicating with dev teams and understanding technical terminology and concepts? On episode 98, I hosted Irene Yu, founder of Skiplevel, an on-demand training program that helps professionals and teams become more technical in just 5 weeks... All without learning to code. Learn the knowledge and skills you need to better communicate with devs and become more confident in your day-to-day role with the Skiplevel program. You can use referral code OKIP to support this podcast!

Episode highlights:

You should read all the PM books, but question them

Books have to take a position, and they're always going to be simplified versions of reality. It's positive to disagree with what you find in these books, but you can learn something useful from just about any book.

It doesn't matter how Agile you are, or what framework you use

Getting into holy wars about frameworks is not constructive. Not everything works in all contexts, and if it doesn't work you're not a "bad" product manager. Concentrate on delivering value the best way you can.

Product managers have a CORE set of skills

There's no one standard job description for a product management role, but Matt likes to boil it down to CORE: Communication, Organisation, Research and Execution. Depending on the company, there might be additional important skills.

PMs need to make peace with not always being the decision-makers

PMs need to concentrate on enabling good decisions. PMs are not "CEOs of Product" & may not be able to influence senior stakeholders all the time. There may be reasons for decisions outside of their control

PMs need to stop being defensive

If you find yourself in a defensive posture, you're already behind. Often, the harder you try, the worse you can make things. Do what you can to affect change, but try to avoid fighting with your leadership & concentrate on helping your users.

Buy "Product Management in Practice"

Product Managemnet in Practice cover

"Updated for the era of remote and hybrid work, this book provides actionable answers to product management's most persistent and confounding questions, starting with: What exactly am I supposed to do all day?"

Check it out on Amazon.

Contact Matt

You can connect with Matt on LinkedIn or visit his website.

Matt LeMay and me before the recording