Dear Santa, All I Want for Christmas This Year

BY Emily Tate ON DECEMBER 20, 2018

Dear Santa,

It’s me again – your favorite product manager! I am writing to let you know that I’ve been very good this year. I have been completely focused on my customers, talking to them regularly and incorporating their feedback. I have ruthlessly prioritized my backlog, always making sure I have the next most important thing at the top of the list. And I always put outcomes over outputs, just like a good product manager should.

Yes, I know there was the whole incident with the estimates, but I swear I was just asking the engineering team for my own information! I really didn’t know my CEO would consider it a promise and demand it happen “on time and on budget”! We live and we learn, right?

So in the hope that I have done enough to find my name on the Nice List, here is my wish list this Christmas:

  1. Autonomy to manage my roadmap. As much as I love giving lists of projects a year in advance (sarcasm won’t move me to the Naughty List, right?), this year I would really rather have the ability to focus on my goals, and adjust my roadmap based on the learnings I’ll get from research and experiments along the way.
  2. An unlimited supply of sticky notes and sharpies. Because you never know when you’ll need to facilitate an impromptu retrospective session.
  3. Experiment results that are clear winners or losers every time. Those ambiguous or mediocre outcomes make decisions really difficult. If you could just make everything simple for me, that would be great.
  4. Buy-in from my trickiest stakeholders. I recognize I am not the CEO of anything, and I really need my stakeholders on my side to succeed. But sometimes those stakeholders can be tough!
  5. Courage to say “no”. Everyone tends to like me more when I say “yes” to their requests, even though I know I really should be saying “no” more often. I know you’re Santa, not the Wizard of Oz, but why should he have a monopoly on courage requests?

My stocking is hanging over the fireplace and I have milk and cookies ready for when you arrive. I can’t wait to see what Christmas morning brings!

Merry Christmas!

Product Manager

P.S. If you have a little space left in the sleigh, a couple of tickets to Mind the Product’s conferences in Manchester, Singapore, Hamburg, London, and San Francisco would be awesome too!

Emily Tate


Emily Tate

Emily brings more than 10 years of product management experience to her role as US General Manager for Mind the Product. While she has worked across a variety of industries, she will always have a soft spot for the travel industry where she spent most of her early career building software for airlines and developing a leading consumer travel app, TripCase. Emily is passionate about the craft of product management and loves talking about new ways to make products people love.