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Six New Year Resolutions for Product Managers

Posted by Matt Payne
January 4, 2021

It’s 2021, a new year, a new hope. Here are six new year resolutions for product managers to help you make positive changes for the way you think about product management as a practice and for how you do your job.

Check out our suggestions below, you never know something might help you get your team behind a better way of working, get that promotion you’re way past due, or give you something to talk about at that job interview you’re going to smash.

2020 was a stinker of a year. Look up damp squib in the dictionary, and 2020 is the definition, but there are so many things to make 2021 a much better year.

So let’s dive in and see what new year resolutions for product managers we’ve come up with.

1) Level Up Your Product Management Game

This product management resolution should probably be on your to-do list all year round. It’s super important to look for ways you can iterate and improve – much like you would for the products you’re building. 

“Continuous learning, iterative improvements, and applying a product mindset in more and more situations before you get to an ideal state.” The words from our very own Wes Galliher on how to become a better product manager. You could also make time to upskill and check out some of the awesome training courses our friends at Mind the Product offer. 

2) Become Outcome Focused

If 2020 taught us anything, it is that sometimes, no matter how detailed and researched your date-covered roadmap is, something can come out of the left field and change everything. Why not learn from 2020 and use this new year as an opportunity to take a step forward and become outcome-focused?

Defining clear objectives and key results (OKRs) helps to align your teams around the same set of goals and understand what needs to be built next. Our CEO and Co-founder, Janna Bastow, has outlined ProdPad’s OKRs feature in a handy how-to video.

Aligning your team around the same set of goals should be on your product management resolution list.

3) Make Every Team the Product Team

One of the more important product management resolutions, particularly for those of you working at product-led companies. 

Now with more companies remote working, we need to find ways to fill silos and get everyone working the same way and creating cross-team transparency. “But I am a product manager how can I make big cultural changes?”, I hear you say! Let’s break it down into three parts.

  • Your leadership team won’t want to waste any more time so if they are still on the fence about becoming product led now is the time to show them the light.
  • The product approach should be stretching across all teams including development, product design, and marketing.
  • Get the whole team together (virtually of course) and play the Product Tree Game – it is a great way to get the juices flowing amongst groups.

4) Build a Better Roadmap

It should really go without saying, shouldn’t it? A lean, outcome-focused roadmap is a great place to start when you want to kick-start your product strategy for the new year. 

If you haven’t done so already, jump into our free Sandbox and have a play around with ProdPad’s product roadmap (without having to input your own data). You’ll also find this blog post on how to build a roadmap really useful, too. Or, why not crank it up a notch and have one of our product experts take a look at your roadmap for you by booking in for one of our popular roadmap clinics?

New Year Resolutions for Product Managers - Embracing a lean roadmap
Embracing a lean roadmap should be a leading new years resolution for product managers in 2021.

5) Connect With the Wider Product Management Community

The product management community is a friendly bunch and there are so many great folks out there that you can connect with and learn from. So whether you’re on the hunt for some advice, what to hear about new and improved ways of thinking, or just have a laugh with some classic product in-jokes, please make it one of your product management resolutions to immerse yourself in our community. We’d suggest following these product thought leaders:

  • Our CEO and Co-founder, Janna Bastow, invented the Now, Next, Later roadmap. One of the leading product management influencers, Janna’s not only there to offer sound advice but is a great go-to for the latest developments and approach to the product management craft.
  • If you want to talk and learn about product management best practices then Liz Love is the Twitter account for you. Liz knows the ins and outs for minimizing risk and ensuring you’re thinking about product management in the right way.  
  • If you’re looking to improve your understanding of continuous discovery then give Teresa Torres a follow. Teresa’s account is bursting with insights on how you and your teams should grow your product and ways of thinking.
  • John Cutler is a leading personality in the product community. He shares plenty of advice around product development, as well as high-level strategic thinking and approaches to some of the most complex product management pain points. 
  • If you’re after some social media content from a product leader who also has a real passion for addressing the world’s climate emergency then Matt Stratford’s account is where you need to be. Learn how to save the planet and be a well-rounded product person.

6) Look After Yourself – 2021 Is a Marathon Not a Sprint

Now more than ever, we need to take time to make sure we’re okay. We’ve all struggled in the last year with a variety of worries and losses. In between these new year resolutions for product managers make sure you are taking the time to check in with yourself. Look after yourself because you’re awesome and there is only one you and that’s something to celebrate.

We asked the team at ProdPad what self-care means to them and what tips they would recommend adding in to your day to make sure you’re feeling tip-top and ready to face each day. 

There You Have It – Six New Year Resolutions for Product Managers

Thanks for reading folks! We hope you’ve found this helpful and that it got you champing at the bit to make 2021 a great year. We’d love to hear what you think – if you have any suggestions then sound off in the comments.

Some of these new year resolutions for product managers are easier to embrace with the help of our product management tool, ProdPad. Start a free trial to learn what we’re all about. 

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