I often see product managers getting carried away by the width of the portfolio they own, or by the geographical reach of the products they design, the number of releases they manage each year or by the technology they work on. This is all good, and a definite pre-requisite for a product manager to get identified as a potential candidate for his next promotion or for awarding greater responsibility or even for a better job. However what they probably miss out most on, is to exhibit the character and maturity that they developed while handling complex business & technology challenges.
What interests me most in a candidate is not just the success of products that he has handled but also the decisions that he or she took as a product owner. “What were those critical moments like when you felt that it’s slipping out ‘unless I do this…..'” and which decision of yours made the difference. And when you take decision, there are always pros and cons, support and resistance, the mental preparation for the stiff challenge that you anticipate and how you overcame it. Knowing the self is important and a good product owner will periodically ‘introspect and improvise’.
It is imperative that the product manager understands that the success of the product is not the only measuring criteria of his / her performance. Product Managers are best judged on the decisions they take, their ability to overcome resistance and their ability to build consensus among stake holders. Ask your-self, “How positively am I driving the show, am I taking decisions or allowing things to happen”.
So product owners, measuring your success is important, build a yardstick to measure your performance, but do not judge your performance just by the performance of the product you manage.