Episode 2: How to Lead in Product Management w/Roman Pichler

31 March, 2020 / Host: Magnus Billgren

Mastering the Art of Product Management Leadership

Product management leadership is a critical aspect of delivering successful products. It requires the ability to align stakeholders, build trust, and listen deeply to understand the needs and desires of customers and team members. In this article, we'll explore the art of product management leadership with Roman Pichler, a world-renowned expert in Agile Product Management.

Stakeholder Alignment

As a product manager, aligning stakeholders is a critical step towards delivering successful products. Roman Pichler emphasizes the importance of building a shared understanding among stakeholders. He suggests that "the difficult work of aligning everyone is yours, as product managers. We need to make all the stakeholders understand and contribute to the direction of your product."

To achieve stakeholder alignment, product managers need to develop a clear product vision and communicate it effectively to stakeholders. This involves understanding the needs and desires of all stakeholders and how the product will meet those needs. It also requires active listening to feedback and incorporating it into the product vision.

Trust Building

Building trust is another crucial aspect of product management leadership. Roman Pichler suggests that "now is the time where we can build a new way of working together based on trust and our deliveries." Trust is built over time through consistent actions and communication. Product managers can build trust by delivering on promises, being transparent, and actively listening to feedback.

Deep Listening

Deep listening is a key skill for product managers. Roman Pichler emphasizes the importance of listening to stakeholders and understanding their needs and desires. He suggests that "the concept of Deep Listening is something that I brought with me."

Deep listening involves active listening, empathy, and understanding. Product managers need to listen to stakeholders with an open mind, without interrupting or imposing their own opinions. They should also seek to understand the emotions and motivations behind stakeholders' feedback.

Dealing with Difficult Stakeholders

Dealing with difficult stakeholders is a challenge that many product managers face. Roman Pichler suggests that product managers should learn conflict resolution skills to deal with difficult stakeholders.
One model that Roman Pichler recommends is the Behavioral Change Stairway Model, developed by Chris Voss in his book "Never Split the Difference." The model involves five steps: active listening, empathy, rapport, influence, and behavior change.

Product managers can also avoid common, unhelpful conflict strategies, such as competitive confrontation, passive aggression, conflict avoidance, and passivity. Instead, they should seek to understand the motivations and emotions behind stakeholders' feedback and work towards a mutually beneficial solution.

The Takeaway for Leadership

Product management leadership requires aligning stakeholders, building trust, deep listening, and dealing with difficult stakeholders. Roman Pichler's insights provide a valuable framework for product managers to develop these skills. By building a shared understanding among stakeholders, delivering on promises, actively listening, and resolving conflicts, product managers can lead their teams towards delivering successful products.

As Roman highlighted in his discussion on How to Lead in Product Management, product management is a constantly evolving field that requires a deep understanding of not just tools and methods, but also a dynamic foundation to support product action and thinking. To truly excel in this field, it's essential to have a solid knowledge platform that can serve as a lifelong companion throughout your product management journey.

Fortunately, there are resources available to help you build this foundation. The Productbeats Product Management Certification Program is designed to provide product managers with the tools, methods, and competence they need to take fuller product action. With a focus on practical application and hands-on learning, the program is an ideal way to deepen your knowledge of product management and develop the skills you need to succeed in this ever-shifting environment.