"Unlocking Success: How Senior Product Managers Think Differently and Little Rules About Big Things"

Aviral Vaid

Hatched by Aviral Vaid

Dec 05, 2023

3 min read


"Unlocking Success: How Senior Product Managers Think Differently and Little Rules About Big Things"


Getting a promotion in the corporate world is not solely based on skills and achievements. Various factors, such as managerial support, talented peers, and company politics, also play a significant role. However, for senior product managers, a different mindset is required to navigate the complexities of their role successfully.

Executing Solutions Efficiently:

Once the problem has been defined and the solution agreed upon, the focus shifts to execution. The primary question becomes, "How can we ship this quickly?" Managing the backlog becomes crucial in ensuring the smooth progress of the project. Clear, well-sized, and correctly prioritized tickets contribute to efficient work. Shipping quickly not only saves time but also allows for faster user feedback, reducing the risk of building the wrong product. Incremental rollouts and A/B testing can further optimize the feature before a full release.

Prototype Usability Testing:

While usability testing is essential, it primarily focuses on whether users know how to use a solution, rather than whether they want to use it. For certain user journeys, such as acquisition and activation, continuous improvement is necessary until optimal results are achieved. Evaluating solutions critically and assessing the worthiness of a problem elevate product thinking to a higher level. Sometimes, saying no or pushing back against stakeholders becomes necessary. Understanding the strategic importance of a problem enables PMs to set the right constraints for the solution.

Quantifying Impact:

Determining the value of a problem is not always straightforward, especially in companies with a strong product-driven culture. However, quantifying impact can help in assessing the worthiness of a problem. Factors such as reach (number of users impacted), intensity (level of pain caused by the problem), and user segment (value brought by specific user groups) contribute to understanding the true cost and impact of a feature. This evaluation can be translated into a dollar value, aiding in decision-making.

Understanding the True Cost:

Estimating the cost of building a feature is relatively simple, but there are other costs to consider. The question shifts from "Is this problem worth solving?" to "Why now?" Some problems require immediate attention, while others may gradually worsen over time. Additionally, some problems may be minor annoyances that don't significantly impact users. Understanding the urgency and impact of a problem guides decision-making.

Customer Needs and Radical Innovation:

To drive radical innovation, looking outward for inspiration is essential. Mapping alternatives and comparing them to your product helps identify improvement opportunities. Customer needs should be considered, as different segments have varying requirements. Additionally, identifying hygiene, performance, and delighters through the Kano Model aids in understanding customer satisfaction levels. Expanding the product's value chain by assisting customers in their journey before or after product usage can also enhance its value.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Prioritize efficient execution by managing backlogs effectively, ensuring clear tickets, and seeking prompt user feedback.
  • 2. Quantify the impact of problems to assess their worthiness and make informed decisions based on reach, intensity, and user segment.
  • 3. Foster radical innovation by understanding customer needs, comparing alternatives, and expanding the product's value chain.


Becoming a successful senior product manager requires a unique mindset and strategic thinking. By focusing on efficient execution, quantifying impact, understanding the true cost, and embracing customer needs, PMs can navigate the complexities of their role effectively. Incorporating these actionable advice can help in driving innovation and achieving success in product management. Remember, the market will provide valuable feedback on your decisions and guide you towards the right path.

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