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Infographic: “The Dangerous Animals of Product Management”

Infographic: “The Dangerous Animals of Product Management”

Picture this. You are a forward-thinking product manager with a clear product vision, a value-driven prioritization framework, and a context-rich roadmap. You make it a point to listen to customer needs and incorporate feedback from many different perspectives.

Then along comes the CEO, a target-chasing salesperson, or another well-intentioned stakeholder with an idea for a feature, fix, or update that hasn’t been validated, and whose implementation will throw the rest of your plans out the window. 

Every business has these dangerous animals roaming wild, championing ideas that are not aligned with the product vision. Implementing their suggestions can interrupt months of strategic planning and prioritization, impacting product performance and your team’s morale. 

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Meet the WoLF, or “Works on Latest Fire.” 

The WoLF is not necessarily an individual, but a disruptive situation such as unchecked technical debt. An untamed WoLF jumps from one fire to the next, sacrificing value delivery in its destructive path. 

Say hello to the RHiNO, or “Really High-value New Opportunity.”

Usually a stakeholder in Sales or Marketing, the RHiNO is often heard saying “If we just had feature X, we’d be able to close this massive deal.”

Perhaps your biggest headache is a HiPPO, or “Highest Paid Person’s Opinion.”

HiPPOs are senior leaders accustomed to having the final say — often at the expense of data and input from customers.

Sometimes, we are all guilty of being ZEbRAs, or “Zero Evidence, but Really Arrogant.”

It is, after all, tempting to skip over the validation process when we’re dealing in our areas of expertise.

Finally, make room for the noisy Seagull Manager.

Seagull managers are a bit removed from your day-to-day product management process. Instead, they occasionally swoop in, cause a ruckus, then swoop out again, leaving your team to clean up after the mess.

Product managers — do any of these animals sound familiar to you?

The problem is that product managers often lack the authority to tame dangerous animals and cannot fence off the product to keep them out. To avoid being devoured, product managers instead have to excel at “dangerous animal husbandry” – the art of influencing key leaders and stakeholders in your business and getting them on the same page with your product vision and strategy.

Download our new ebook, The dangerous animals of product management: The art of managing stakeholders and staying true to your product strategy, to learn more about the different personalities and pain points you’ll encounter. Then, with this insight, you’ll discover how to use a combination of soft skills and hard frameworks to handle each animal and make them a productive part of your product management process.

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