When the Product Manager’s job becomes to keep the sales team honest

Gaurav looked a worried man. On enquiry I found that his worry was indeed worrisome and 5563519154_eb6e30219b_mnot a figment of imagination. Gaurav was the Product Manager of an enterprise software product, still in its infancy and at monetization pressures from the investors. The sales team had finally managed to bag a customer for a long-term agreement. As the roll-out of the product starts, Gaurav figures out that several items committed by the sales does not align with the overall vision of the product. Now that the sale is done, the onus is on the Product Manager to keep the sales team honest!

If you or your product has got into this situation, the first thing to do is to admit that there is some problem and that needs to be set right. What could be the possible problems:

  • The product positioning does not have a buy-in from all stake-holders or even worse – there is no strong positioning
  • The stakeholders under pressure have sidelined the product’s vision and are after individual short-term goals
  • The Product Manager is not fully in-charge of the positioning of the product
  • Agile product development gets (mis) construed as “do something quick and dirty – let’s see if that works”

A product walks with the foot of the Product Manager. Crippling of that foot – even if temporary – can have long-term negative consequences for the product. It is important for a organization to arrest such a development and nip in the bud so that the product is in safe hands. What could be the solution? It is very difficult to prescribe something in cases such as this as the solutions could be as big as organization re-structuring or as small as getting every stakeholder in synch at frequent intervals. But admitting that there is a problem is the first step in solving the problem.

Photo Credit: ViewMinder

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