on firefighting

I agree with the forestry service: we should let some fires burn. Many will just burn themselves out; others will get really interesting. But what about the people who dropped the ball and let these fires begin in the first place?

In Why a good PM will never be Employee of the Quarter, Saeed writes,

Kind words are usually reserved for those who take a nasty operational situation, and help alleviate the problem through significant personal sacrifice.

Remember the old cartoon in your admin's office? "Lack of planning on your part... doesn't constitute an emergency on my part." Alas.

As Product Management Thursday approaches, can you set aside firefighting for one day and identify ways to prevent fires? Here are a few ideas:

  • schedule some work-at-home-and-get-something-done days
  • schedule some customer visits
  • perform some win/loss analysis
  • identify and articulate your buyer and user personas
  • map out a repeatable sales process
  • reorganize your sales tools on the intranet so people can find stuff

What can you do to prevent some fires instead of just fighting them?

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.

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