It’s a new year, and while the date changing on a calendar doesn’t really have some magical power, it is a nice reminder to slow down and reflect. Many of us will think about the personal goals we want to achieve this year, our businesses will be setting plans and strategizing how to make this year the best one yet, and we’ll be looking at what behaviors in ourselves we might want to change (no really, I AM going to eat healthier this time!).
As I think about my own growth, here are my resolutions to help me be a better product manager.
#1 – I resolve to stop jumping to solutions before exploring the problem
Even at this stage of my career – when I definitely know better – it is still far too easy to see a problem and immediately think I know how to fix it. Or come up with an idea without seeing if there is a problem in the first place. This isn’t confined to big product efforts; even small things, using my product mindset to explore a problem can open up multiple options to solve it. I know of several areas in my own work where slowing down and living in the problem space will serve me well as I start this year, and I want get in the habit of proactively asking myself: “What are you really trying to do here?”
#2 – I resolve to start reading the pile of books I’ve collected on my work bookshelf
There is a lot of information out there that can help me grow in my craft. Articles, videos, podcasts – they all provide quick and easy ways to access the breadth of industry knowledge that is out there. Confession: I have always been drawn to buying all the books from different thought leaders, but have a habit of letting them sit on my bookshelf as nice ideas. I’ve recently started fully reading some, and have realized how much I have been missing by letting myself think quick hits are enough. While many topics are covered at a high level in blogs, books on the same subject have the ability to go so much deeper. They are worked on by their authors for months or years rather than hours, and are heavily researched, typically incorporating a lot of interviews so you’re getting the knowledge of hundreds of people rather than one.
So this year, I resolve to fully read 100% of the books currently on my bookshelf as of January 1st. I only have about 50% confidence I’ll hit this Key Result – a tip I learned from reading Radical Focus by Christina Wodtke!
#3 – I resolve to continue learning from others, and sharing my experiences to help others grow
Years ago, I discovered we all become better when we contribute to the community. Learning on our own can only take us so far – hearing the experiences of our product peers in other companies can spark new ideas and help us get unstuck in our challenges. And the things that feel very obvious to me might be the exact problem with which someone else is dealing and could use some advice. So I’ll continue attending local meetups in my area (have you checked out your local ProductTank lately?), contributing to productive conversation on Slack and Twitter, reading the thoughts of others, and writing up my own. I will fully take advantage of the conferences I attend, where I often find the conversations with new friends on breaks are just as valuable as the things I take from the people on stage. Because we all get better when we help each other.
What are your product resolutions? We want to hear them! Tweet yours with the hashtag #myproductresolution.