Common Mistakes a Good Product Manager Must Avoid
If you are an action movie buff, you must remember the legendary dialogue from the riveting movie ‘Rush’ by Niki Lauda.’
‘A wise man learns more from his enemies than a fool from his friends’
He was 100% right! Now how is this relevant in product management?
What leaps to your mind when you differentiate between a successful and maybe not so successful product manager?
Competent product managers are pros when it comes to observation skills. Their nonpareil analyzing and learning qualities lead them to triumphs.
They learn from the tiny mistakes of other product managers. This knowledge helps them stand out and outperform in the market.
Common Mistakes a Good Product Manager Must Avoid
The first product management mistake you are sure to face is customer demands. While meeting their demand is an essential aspect of the job, the goal should always be to meet user needs.
You can tell whether a specific condition or demand is by checking if it results in daily inconvenience for your users. By looking and observing your users closely, you will figure out their needs.
Perhaps even they weren’t aware of those needs.
Suppose you plan to deliver what the market wants and avoid what customers don’t. It might work well during the initial days. But this simple tactic will ultimately not fetch in the long run as competition grows.
Remember, there is no alternative to user needs. Always prioritize them over generic demands.
Not Learning From Competitor’s Slip-Ups/Mistakes
Once you find out about a slip-up that your competition has made, there are high chances that you might be able to exploit it. Also, gain an edge over them if appropriately leveraged.
This approach will be helpful for both users and investors (if any). You can also introduce such slip-ups to other app developers who might make the same slip up down the line.
Adding Extra Features Without Addressing the Core Problem
It is always great to adopt new technologies and introduce multiple features to your product. Customers love this, as it gives them a lot of value.
But the thing which matters the most here is whether these features address any core problem faced by users or not.
If not, there is a high possibility that they might become mistakes you will have to face in the future. Better avoid such marketing errors and keep things simple and easy.
The best way to do that is to conduct thorough user research.
Communication Gap With the Team Members
Communication lies at the heart of product management, yet many product managers prevent the point. Generally, product managers who are great at team collaboration tend to outperform those who aren’t.
Leave no stone unturned and avoid this problem as it is one of the most common mistakes product managers commit.
It forces them to face helplessness and frustration among team members, making their work much more difficult. It can also harm the product itself.
You cannot simply relax after your hiring process is over! You have to keep a strong communication channel with all your team members at any cost.
Also, ensure that you do not forget to include customer feedback in communication.
Hiring Customers for ‘Ideas’
Though it sounds pretty fancy, it’s not practical from a long-term perspective.
Just imagine what will happen if you start implementing all those ideas which users give? Will they stop giving ideas after a point? Of course not.
This tactic may seem strategic at first, resulting in never-ending issues later. You might have to face such cases for all times to come.
Try to avoid this mistake and just let your customers know that their opinions are necessary but not everything. After all, product management does require some amount of experimentation too.
Over Promising and Under Delivering
Maximum product managers fall prey to this standard error as they want the best from themselves. They achieve nothing in an attempt to achieve too much, leaving them disappointed. Product managers need to use efficient product roadmap tools to keep their product journey in check.
It might seem like the right thing to do among those newbies in the field. Still, nobody knows what lies ahead and how complicated things can get if you promise more than you can deliver.
If you keep over expectations in check, you will give your users the best product quality they deserve.
Not Taking the Designs and Copy Seriously
Undermining the importance of designs, aesthetics, and marketing copy creates a negative impression among customers.
The competition has risen significantly, and customers seldom trust any product that does not seriously take its design and copy. If you’re serious about your business, you should, at the very least, design your product professionally.
Competing with other apps in the same market requires outstanding professionalism than what users expect. It’s essential to understand that ‘what looks well, sells well.’
Get ready to act like a pro by adjusting to the new marketing trends.
Overlooking the Expectations of Key Stakeholders
Now, this isn’t a mistake. We would call it a blunder. Ignoring stakeholders’ expectations can lead to a big fiasco. It creates trust issues, which leads to mismanagement. A lot of product managers commit this mistake.
They might be your friends or partners, but somebody is always watching over them. This ignorance can lead to the failure of an otherwise thriving product as you slip up some essential people.
Suppose your product does not meet customer expectations. In that case, there is a high chance that it will be unable to deliver on its true potential. This mistake can potentially be the first to sap all momentum from your product.
Ensure that you keep the key stakeholders happy by delivering what they need. You can achieve this through proper communication.
Mistaking Negativity for Feedback
You slip when you misunderstand constructive criticism for negativity. Sometimes, believe it or not, product managers can become dogmatic, which can lead to many issues.
A great product is not just an idea of a single individual. Everyone in the team tweaks, adds and subtracts something to make it right.
Your team members might give you bad feedback about something which might seem like a slip-up at first glance, but it’s not.
Such feedback occurs because it specifically aims at helping you improve your product. There is no point in being inflexible and stubborn about it.
If you intend to outshine your competitors, try to be more inclusive and flexible. Product managers who are adaptable and open to feedback are way more successful in the long run.
Mixing Your Customer and User
Product management is more an art than science, so it’s pretty easy to make mistakes if you are new to this field. Product managers might know all the product-related jargon, but they forget to implement them at their workplace!
This confusion leads us to mix customer and user, which can be considered one of the most common mistakes product managers make.
They tend to think of themselves as users instead of thinking about what they need and delivering it accordingly.
Mixing user and customer will only lead you toward losing your focus on what matters most. Yes, your customer’s satisfaction is the ultimate goal for you. But, treating them as the same won’t help you with product management.
If you genuinely know what your users need, it won’t be too much of a problem! You can easily ensure that this little confusion does not lead to any serious consequences by prioritizing customers above everything else.
Not Planning Ahead
Planning is one of the essential parts of managing anything effectively. If you are not planning ahead or simply ignoring it, then don’t expect things to go well in the future. (Even if they are going okay right now.)
You might have come up with a fantastic app idea that might attract thousands of users overnight. Still, it will just turn into a dustbin in weeks without proper planning.
This slip-up is most common among product managers, and they must avoid it at any cost.
Planning is not an easy task, so you might want to plan early and adapt if required. We cannot deny that proper planning is essential for delivering your best. Therefore, start collaborating with your team members more often to plan stuff regularly.
Omitting to plan or planning once in a while can create mismanagement in the short run and do significant damage in the long run.
Not Explaining the Benefits of Your Product
This behavior is yet another mistake product managers commit, which leads them behind in the market. Just having a great product won’t suffice. You will have to explain and market your product.
You might think that your product does not need much explanation. But you should treat every detail as a crucial part of your product when marketing.
This mistake arises because you are too focused on your app’s features and ignore its benefits.
You might know this thing as “USP” (unique selling proposition), which tells people what makes your product better than others. If you can’t point out some USPs for your product, you have no idea why anyone should use or buy your product.
If you want to avoid this mistake, try treating every element of your product with respect. There is constantly some room for improvement, so don’t stick with something if it doesn’t feel right.
You will avoid issues sooner and create more realistic goals for yourself. Once you get the features and the USP right, don’t forget to explain and market it.
How Product Management Mistakes May Cost You Millions?
A new product launch happens for a variety of reasons. It could meet specific consumer demand, respond to a competitor’s offerings, launch a new product to the market, or provide a greater range of services to existing clients.
Sadly, you see similar decisions made in many companies and at all organizational levels. As a result, the quantity of products available on the market grows.
Businesses typically remove or discontinue products, which exacerbates the problem. It’s hard to phase out products. Users can become emotionally attached to their previous products, which will result in some sales and good percentage margins.
Furthermore, coordinating the end of an old product with the start of a new one might be difficult, resulting in a significant risk of obsolete inventory.
The fact that organizations seldom delete or discontinue products adds to the problem. It’s challenging to discontinue products.
Customers can develop strong attachments to their previous products, resulting in some sales and profit margins. Here are the major pitfalls that may cost you significantly.
Misinterpretation of client needs: The essential takeaway is to think about the main problem that underpins a specific request. Effective product managers are skilled at analyzing requests to uncover the bigger picture. Instead of forcing a solution that doesn’t meet the criteria, they can address the overarching need or problem this way.
Emphasizing the solution than the issue: Product managers may love engineering and design, but rushing into product development is a formula for disaster. Before you start designing wireframes or mapping out a product strategy, take a step back and focus on the broader problem you’re attempting to fix.
Missing out on business opportunities: Even if you have a positive, fantastic product, you can still fail. Product managers must bridge the gap between customer wants and business potential by analyzing whether or not a solution will benefit both the user and the organization.
It entails determining whether a problem is even worth resolving in certain circumstances. Upon spending some time in the problem situation, you must consider the economics of the scenario. Such analysis helps to determine whether the optimum solution will be beneficial.
The issue is that the number of line items in your inventory and the overall amount of stock you have a direct relationship.
The lower the frequency of purchase and the lesser the annual sales of a product, the more inventory you’ll need to keep (in terms of days covered).
Low-volume product sales are unpredictable, with long stretches of little or no sales sandwiched by large, uncommon orders. As a result, there is frequently insufficient stock during the product order phase, causing the client to be disappointed. Use product management tools to understand what your customers would expect.
The delivery of the out-of-stock product incurs a high cost. You can lose track of a vast product range, becoming outdated. Reasons include losing a customer or a shift in the market or technology.
In conclusion, inadequate product management leads to a spiraling expansion of your product variety, increasing inventories, and diverting cash away from more profitable purposes.
It will also result in late deliveries and higher costs due to expediting warehousing and continuous write-offs of slow-moving and outmoded goods.
If you intend to create fabulous products and take your company to a whole new level in the competitive market, avoid the mistakes above.
The list provided above is in no way exhaustive, nor are we saying that a single mistake would result in a complete mishap. But avoiding them will surely give you a lot of edge in the market.
This blog aims to acquaint you with some common errors product managers often commit. This knowledge will help you be more cautious and save a lot of precious time.
After all, time is the ‘key.’