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Product Management Explained by Hunter Walk

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Hunter Walk

Hunter Walk

Name: Hunter Walk (@hunterwalk)
Occupation: Former Director of Product Management at Google (previously Director at Linden Lab, New Product Development at Mattel)

1. In 140 characters or less, what is Product Management?

Building. Communicating. Helping. Simplifying. Collaborating. (Sometimes) Crying. Leading.

2. Lets step away from digital for a second. Pretend the product you are producing is a watch. What are the types of questions a product manager would ask? What would some of your responsibilities be?

The goals of Product Management are the same whether you’re shipping websites or watches — it’s helping a team build a product that’s loved by the community.

On day one, I’d ask:

  • What watches are we making today and who’s purchasing them?
  • Who is the customer for this new watch and what are their needs (telling time, fashion, accuracy, reliability/durability, etc.)
  • Is there a cross-functional team already working on this product? If not, let’s develop one.

Some of the product manager’s responsibilities would include:

  • Ensuring everyone working on the project understands who the customer is, and what the product objectives are
  • Making sure the team is properly resourced to achieve its goals. Does every work item have a clear owner?
  • Managing a design and approval process that drives collaboration and cross-functional input, but doesn’t bog down into census-driven groupthink

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