Product Manager Day 590: When interest wanes

I’m having a battle in my mind.

It’s tempting to say “it’s not my fault they’re not interested in the project anymore” – one could easily hide behind that. Being a PM, you’re somewhat detached from these considerations. You don’t manage them directly, after all. Your main priority is, well, prioritisation.

And yet, at the same time – if someone isn’t interested anymore, is it really something a PM is not responsible for?

I was reading this – Evernote, The First Dead Unicorn. Despite the sensational title, I feel the author makes some good observations. But the main chunk that struck out to me today was this:

“Attracting and retaining talent is a core responsibility of the CEO, and if Libin is seriously disinterested in the latter, he should have departed long ago.”

I leave judgement to the staff of Evernote, but it is a sobering statement.

They sometimes call PMs the “CEOs” of the product – you’re not just just responsible for the specs, you’re responsible for the outcome. Whether a project is completed on time is part of the outcome. And retaining and motivating key personnel is a part of that.

After all, if I really want to venture on my own in the future, I’ve got to learn how to keep people motivated and directed.


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