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The real challenge is not the product or the process, it’s the people - Adam's Product Management Newsletter

The real challenge is not the product or the process, it’s the people - Adam's Product Management Newsletter
By Adam Wintle • Issue #11 • View online
There’s been one thing which has stuck in my mind for almost the entirety of 2019. 
At the Mind the Product Conference in Singapore in March earlier this year I was having a conversation with a good friend about how do you know when you’ve learnt how to be a good product manager? 
Right now in my life do I consider that I know 80% of product management, or is it more like 50% (about half way there)? I think I have a pretty advanced knowledge by now. After 6 years experience as product manager I’ve learnt all of the techniques and methodologies (agile, lean, scrum, design sprints, etc), I’ve read all of the product management books and articles I can find, I’ve been to conferences all over the world, and I’ve watched all the YouTube videos. I’ve found myself product management mentors. I even co-organise my own product management meetup ProductTank Bangkok. 
Surly after completely submerging myself in the world of product management for years I must now be approaching mastery? 
The friend who I was having the conversation with has been a product manager for far more years than I have; and in his opinion I was only 1% to 5% into my journey as a product manager! I couldn’t believe it! 

He explained that learning everything possible out there about product management is just the very start. Its something every eager product manager has to go through; and it does take 2-3 years go through all of the available material (whilst also maintaining a healthy work-life balance). 
Once you have learnt everything and had a few years of on-the-job training you realise there’s something that no book, teacher or conference can actually teach you.
How do you actually get a team of cross-functional people to build amazing products? 
Every team is unique and has different dynamics. Every person on the team is also unique and not the same as anyone else you’ve worked with before. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to leading teams to build products. The only true way to learn this is by doing it, again and again, with different products, in different industries and markets, and with different teams. With big teams, small teams, remote teams and co-located teams. 
Practice makes perfect in product management. This can take decades to master. Even industry veterans are still learning new things about how to lead a team to successfully build great products. Even after being a product manager for 25 years, you might only be 50% of your way to being a very good product manager; the journey in product leadership and mastery is essentially always on-going. 
Looking Forward
This concept has had a profound effect on me and has stuck in my mind for months. I now feel like I am only at the very beginning of my journey into product management. This means my focus for 2020 is going to be developing my product leadership skills, my interpersonal skills in the workplace and how to really get a group of talented cross-functional people to build amazing products that help businesses and also end users be successful.
What is Product Leadership? -
How to Become a Great Product Leader
Why is product leadership so relevant today?
Last newsletter of the decade!
In 2019 I had time to write 11 newsletters, my target was once a week, but I ended up being too busy or out of ideas. Hopefully next year I’ll be writing more frequently, so stay tuned!
If there’s anything specific you’d like to know, just reply to this email and let me know.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Adam Wintle

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