Friday, July 22, 2011

Customer Conversations Make Product Managers Useful, Even Powerful

Today, I was talking to Christoph Kleeberg, a young product management intern working with us. He was hired to put Career OnDemand design through a millennial sanity check.

This week he sat through seven, two hour long customer co-innovations sessions with us and watched the Career OnDemand team listen, discuss, and at times challenge, the thoughts of our co-innovation customers.

Christoph is pondering his career path and asked me about what it takes to be a good product manager.

I told him that the principal job of a product manager is to be the voice of the market. Customer conversation is the oxygen a product manager needs to breathe life into a product. Every dialog with the customer is like a breath of air. Like breathing, you have to have an adequate amount of conversations in regular intervals. If you stay away from customers and do not engage in conversations with them, product managers will slowly lose perspective, lose their value and may be even lose their job.

I told him to grab every opportunity he gets to engage with a customer and talk to them. 
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