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How to transition product management to a PM but still stay involved?

Brining on our first PM and want them to feel empowered but that said product is still most important to me as a founder and I want to stay involved. Advice or thoughts on how to do both?

23 Replies

Sam McAfee
6
0
Sam McAfee Advisor
Building Popup Incubators for Corporate Innovation Programs
A good PM is going to make your life so much easier. I know you must realize that, since you are hiring one, but it's easy to squander by micromanaging them until they get fed up.

My advice would be to stay at the vision and strategy level and let them handle the how aspect of the product. A good PM will want to know who the customer is, and what problem the product is supposed to solve. How the product works technically is probably you, but the UX of acquisition and onboarding and retention, that's all them.

From a staff perspective, you should set clear manageable goals together, and have regular checks to review how it's going.

But if you have to approve every little thing, both you and s/he are going to have friction. Be prepared to delegate and let go.



Mats Samuelsson
0
0
Mats Samuelsson Entrepreneur
IoT Executive > GM, VP Product Management, Business Dev, Marketing | IoT Business Definition, Creation & Growth
How to transition product management to a PM but still stay involved?Natalie, You got a choise - either bring in an equal and workas a team, or bring in a subordinate and work as a manager. Regardless, make sure you bring in a PM who is technically savvy and truly understands the product but also has key marketing and business skills thereby augmenting yours. Then be prepared to work hand in hand with the PM always making sure that their plate is also full with direct non-product activities. Hope this helps! Mats
Rick Lazansky
0
0
Rick Lazansky Advisor
Co-founder at Silicon Catalyst, LLC
Founders do like to believe that they're brilliant at product management. Few are. The ones that are, and then do delegate, do diminish the value of their companies particularly at an early stage. The question you need to answer is "So, which are you?".
Myrna King
2
0
Myrna King Advisor
"I think it's fun to get things done!" Business & Personal Coach. ALifeAligned@Live.com 512.739.7939
Yea! A PM should make a huge difference, if the right one is selected. I like all the advice so far. Here's what I would add: admit that you don't want to leave the new baby with a sitter - but are doing it anyway! A shared vision of the project / timelines / results expected, then scheduled check in on milestones. The more honest you are about your natural, normal unease with letting go, the more your PM will feel comfortable honestly sharing concerns, updates and results in real time. You will both be in a learning curve - and can tackle your appropriate parts of those curves with capability and humor.
John Keck
0
0
John Keck Advisor
High Performing Product Manager / Technical Lead | Envision, Develop & Deliver High Quality Products & Services
I think the best thing is to provide the PM with your understanding of the problem your product is trying to solve and why you have made the choices you have up to now. A PM position need to be sort of self organizing in terms of the "what" and the "how." If you can provide a clear "why" it will give your PM the internal guidance so that he can channel your intentions for the product.
Bruno ROCCA
1
0
Bruno ROCCA Advisor
I specialize in revenue generation, and advise companies on all activities required to make it happen
As a founder and a PM for much of my career, it is a very hard question. It is all about clear division of labor. As a founder most of your time should be spent raising money if that is what you need, so delegating authority and responsibility together is critical, and working very hard to insure the transition and respect is maintained. My experience, is most founders mess this up. Much of the product vision is in a founders head, and by nature of being a founder they have super-voting sway on everyone else in the organization. Treat your product owner as carefully as you would a spouse, as you will shine or crash based upon how you do this. Great question. Hope other awesome product owners and founders weigh in on this. Also make sure the systems are in place to insure success( sprint management and collaboration tools), and take a full week to dump all the details in your head out into a platform that really empowers the new PM to be on the same page as you.
Bruce Fryer
1
0
Bruce Fryer Advisor
Lean Startup Product Management / Strategy / Marketing with a Flair for Innovation
Natalie,
This is an easy question. Essentially you become the Scrum product owner:
http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/agile/scrum/product-owner
"The product owner is commonly a lead user of the system or someone from marketing, product management or anyone with a solid understanding of users, the market place, the competition and of future trends for the domain or type of system being developed.

This, of course, varies tremendously based on whether the team is developing commercial software, software for internal use, hardware or some other type of product. The key is that the person in the product owner role needs to have a vision for what is to be built."




Michelle Bufton
0
0
Michelle Bufton Entrepreneur
Purveyor of Geekery
My input to your question coming from the viewpoint of a PM: work with them to choose the right tools and work processes if you don't have them in place already that compliment both your working styles. Pick ones that give transparency into parts of their workflow so you can quickly glimpse where they are at any given moment without hovering while you learn to trust each other and establish communication habits.But don't disappear completely. Work with them on important things like creating milestones that reflect your company's strategic goals.
Adam Pressman
3
1
Adam Pressman Advisor
I've helped a number of folks become millionaires. I'd like to do it a few more times.
Let it go to let it grow. Obviously there's room and need for your involvement and as others point out there is a different skill sets for a founder and a PM. Entrepreneurs are complainers who do something about the way things aren't. If your product is doing what you sought, being entrepreneurial will just get in the way of you getting more of what it brings you.
Angela Giglia
0
0
Angela Giglia Advisor
Award-Winning Creative Idea Person | Communicator | Revenue Spotter | Human Connector | Digital Media Producer
Communication is the key as is defining that role. Responsibility can be given in stages as trust is gained. Best, Angela Sent from my iPhone
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