14 memes that sum up the life of a product manager
Product management is a complex practice. On any given day, you need to be simultaneously analytical, strategic, decisive, creative, and curious – all while keeping multiple stakeholders happy, both inside and outside the company.
To celebrate that complexity, we’ve scoured the internet to find fourteen memes that sum up the unique challenges of life as a product manager.
1. The dangerous animals of product management
Let’s kick things off with one of our own. If you’ve done the rounds in product management, chances are you’ll recognize the dangerous animals. To be successful, you’ll need to learn to tame these beasts!
2. The importance of data
This one perfectly sums up the power of data – or rather data analytics. In its rawest form, it’s just a jumble of information. But as we start to sort, arrange, and present it, the data reveals invaluable insights and stories that we can use to guide better product decisions.
3. The importance of user insights
Where do product ideas come from? How do we know what problems to solve in the first place? The answer, of course, is customers. Involving customers in the product development process isn’t just a nice idea, it’s a necessity. That’s how we build products that truly matter.
4. The nature of problem-solving
Product management is all about solving big problems. Often, these problems can seem impossible to untangle – a jumbled mess of interwoven threads. But at the heart of that mess is a beautiful solution waiting to be discovered.
5. A peek inside the mind of a product manager
Ever find yourself applying your PM mindset and skills to everyday processes outside of work? Product management requires a level of critical thinking and analysis that many people can’t fathom, which can be both a blessing and a curse!
6. Product features vs. user needs
This one neatly sums up the dangers of becoming too feature-oriented and forgetting what users actually need. Often, user needs are much more basic and fundamental than the complicated, feature-heavy products that end up getting built. Take a customer-centric approach to product management and you’ll sidestep this issue altogether.
7. “Just one more feature…”
When it comes to great products, less is sometimes more. Rather than asking, “how can we add more features to this product?” Perhaps we should be asking, “which features do users really need to solve their problems.”
8. Why you should always prioritize prioritization
As a product manager, you can’t say yes to every request that comes your way. Nor should you simply say yes to the loudest, most influential voice in the room. Instead, you choose what to build next based on a strategic and systematic approach to prioritization that aligns product development with customer needs and business goals.
9. “Just put some time in my calendar”
Yeah right. As many of you will know, a product manager’s calendar can be a frightful sight. From regular meetings with a multitude of internal stakeholders to customer interviews, PMs have a lot of meetings to contend with. It’s important to find time to focus on deep work among all those catch-ups, calls, and interviews.
10. Stick it in the backlog
This one’s not exactly a good look. But under the cynical surface, it illustrates an important point: product managers should be upfront and realistic when it comes to expectations of what can, will, or should be built.
11. The perfect recipe for product failure
When we posted this one on our social channels, someone replied with the following: “This is what happens when you have people selecting features with supposed benefits without the proper understanding of who your ideal customers are and how they will use the product.” Enough said.
12. The love languages of product management
Here’s another one of ours, all about the skills you need to foster better collaboration in your product team and beyond. Are you fluent in these four love languages?
13. The importance of customer-centricity
Yet another illustration of how important it is to focus on the needs and wants of customers – not just internal stakeholders – when it comes to building products. Customers know your product unlike anyone else. They know why it works, or why it doesn’t. Tap into that wealth of knowledge and let it guide your decision-making.
14. Keeping the PM role in perspective
What is the role of a product manager all about? The Venn diagram below provides one take — what do you think?