Classic movies meet modern challenges: 6 posters all product managers will relate to
As a product manager, do you sometimes feel like you’re living in a classic black-and-white movie, always facing uphill battles and seemingly insurmountable challenges? If that’s the case, we’ve got just the thing to brighten up your day. We’ve created six posters that draw inspiration from classic movies from the 1950s and 1960s to depict the pain points and challenges that product managers face on a daily basis.
From dealing with challenging stakeholders to juggling endless meetings and the ever-present struggle of having to say “no”, these posters will resonate with anyone who’s been through the ups and downs of the product management journey.
So if you’re in need of a good laugh or a reminder that you’re not alone in your struggles, these witty posters are just what you need. Brought to you by Productboard, 280 Group, and mastermind Dean Peters.
Anatomy of a (Product) Failure
“Anatomy of a Failure” is a parody of the classic film “Anatomy of a Murder”.
In the film, the main character, a product manager, is struggling to cope with the consequences of a product release that has gone awry. Despite their best efforts to plan and execute the release, things have not gone as expected, and the product manager is now facing angry customers, disappointed stakeholders, and a damaged reputation.
In the end, they must find a way to recover from the failure and learn from their mistakes, or risk repeating them in the future.
Never Say Maybe
“Never Say Maybe” is a parody of the classic film “Dr. No.”
Despite their best efforts to please everyone, the main character is constantly faced with requests and demands that they simply cannot fulfill. As they try to navigate this difficult situation, they must also deal with the challenges and obstacles that come with being a product manager, including uncooperative stakeholders and a lack of support from upper management.
In the end, they must learn to say “No” when necessary and set appropriate boundaries, or risk being overwhelmed and ineffective in their role. The villain of the film represents the various forces that push product managers to overextend themselves and take on more than they can handle, whether it’s pressure from upper management, unrealistic customer expectations, or their own desire to please.
Dr. No’s key villain is technical debt, using malfunctioning technology, and stakeholder conflicts. He is ultimately done in by aging technology that backfires on him.
The Technical Debt Collector
We all know the story.
To get a new product or feature out the door on time, product managers cheat just a little bit, deferring technical debt with a promise to pay it down later when there’s more time. And of course, the technical debt collectors always come to collect. In the worst-case scenario, in the form of a show-stopping, revenue-wrecking, bug report related to said debt.
Whether you decide to simply pay down the interest or pay off the entire amount in whole, keep in mind that just like a loan shark’s vig, the price of your technical debt will likely increase over the time period in which it remains unresolved.
The Dazed, The Confused, The Overwhelmed
In this parody of the classic film “The Good The Bad and The Ugly”, the main characters, product managers named The Dazed, The Confused, and The Overwhelmed, are each struggling to keep up with the demands of their respective roles.
The Dazed is overwhelmed by the endless list of tasks and responsibilities, and can’t seem to get a clear grasp on what needs to be done. The Confused is constantly bombarded with conflicting information and changing priorities, and can’t seem to make sense of it all. The Overwhelmed is struggling to meet unrealistic deadlines and is constantly being pulled in different directions by various stakeholders.
In the end, they must learn to work together and find creative solutions to their problems in order to succeed in their roles.
In “The Backlogs”, a parody of the classic Hitchcock film “The Birds,” the main characters, all product managers, can’t keep up with the never-ending demands of their roles and the constant influx of new tasks and responsibilities. While trying to make sense of the overwhelming amount of work in their multiple product backlogs, they are constantly bombarded by “attacks” from all sides, including user stories, late-breaking discoveries, product-crippling bugs, and last-minute feature requests.
Navigating through the chaos, they must learn to ruthlessly prioritize and balance the needs of different stakeholders in order to make effective product decisions.
It’s a Hard, Hard, Hard, Hard Job
“It’s a Hard, Hard, Hard, Hard Job” is a parody of the classic film “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”.
In the film, a group of product managers embark on a frenetic journey to navigate the challenges of their roles, including:
- Being torn about their role
- Being at the center of a tornado
- Being thrown into the deep end
- Being expected to exude certainty
- Having vastly different roles depending on the company
- Struggling with the pressure to “ship”
- Being the canary in the coal mine
- Having to play project manager and facilitator
- Being under a lot of pressure from their teams
- Juggling “theory” and real-world practice
- Struggling with impossible expectations
Along the way, they must also deal with uncooperative stakeholders and a lack of support from upper management. It’s simply a hard, hard, hard, hard job.
Dean Peters is a principal consultant and trainer with the 280 Group whose superpower is cutting through the chaos and bringing people together to deliver valuable software early and continuously — all while guarding and growing the underlying culture that is critical to long-term success.