• Noel Tate

Product Managers – You’re not (always) the expert

As product managers, we are always learning about our own products and the industries we operate in. As a result, over time we become the experts and “go to people’ on a lot of topics.

But we can’t be the expert on everything, so know when to ask for help.

In my first company, by the time I left I had spent a total of 6 years in Customer Support and 3 years as a Product Manager. After these 9 years, I knew every inch of our product, I knew when and why decisions had been made, I knew how the printer on the 2nd floor worked, I knew everything about our customer’s products and I knew everything about our industry of online gambling. I was the go-to person for a lot of things, for a lot of people and I loved it! But luckily I had time to learn a bit of humility by the time I left.

One day towards the end of my time in Paddy Power, a business analysis friend and I were scoping out requirements for a redesign of our main sports pages. These pages would list all the games in- play and their scores, along with the upcoming games for each sport. Nothing too groundbreaking but the live score element was something our mobile app never had on the match listing pages.

Between the two of us, we knocked out the requirements for all the sports we knew inside out – Football, Rugby, Tennis, etc. in record time, until it came to cricket. We’d always had cricket on our app, but the designs had always been the same and this was the first time we had introduced a new feature on it.

As neither of us quite understood how cricket scores work, not to mention the other rules of the game, we were stumped (bad dum dum). We looked on a bunch of other sports apps to see how they did it and slowly started to get an idea, but there were a few things which just didn’t add up. These were the days before I learned it is okay to admit you need help on something, but luckily my BA friend was a little more humble – or maybe just smarter. He suggested, “Let’s just find and talk to the Cricket trader”.

Within minutes we had located the cricket trader and after 10 minutes talking to him all of our questions were answered and we could finish the requirements. The trader also told us “I had no idea this redesign was happening. It sounds really cool. Let me know if you need any more help!”. And just like that, we had identified and started to build a good working relationship with the cricket guy in the building. Afterwards we asked him to double check the requirements and when it was built he happily helped us QA it.

“Find the expert in the building.”

Things learned:

  1. It’s nice to be the expert, but you can’t be the expert on everything.

  2. When we are not, it’s important to recognize it and find the expert in the building.

  3. Doing this will grow your knowledge, build trust within the company and spread awareness of the work product is doing.

It’s a win-win-win!

#askforhelp #growth #expert #management #product

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