What’s refreshing about Doshi is he’s not trying to be a new product management Naval
posting fortune cookie comments that play for likes. Sure, there are some pithy tweets on his timeline, but he’s mostly concerned with providing real insight into the good, the bad, and the ugly of product management.
Everything Doshi writes is highly actionable for PMs at all stages of their careers. From his early dive into the difference between good product managers and great product managers, to his recent posts on what it takes to become an effective product leader, Doshi’s content is as powerful as anything you can find in a book.
Here’s are just a few of the lessons you can learn about product management, leadership, and professional growth from one of the sharpest voices in product.
Good Product Managers vs Great Product Managers:
Rebooting the format Ben Horowitz made famous with his Good Product Manager / Bad Product Manager article, Doshi digs into what it takes to go from good to great as a PM. “Great PMs learn through work projects,” Doshi says. “But they learn a lot more about their craft in their personal time because of their curiosity & passion for self-improvement.” To be a great product manager, you’ve got to stay curious.
The Importance of High Agency in Product:
Every successful product manager has a high agency attitude. It’s about finding a way to get what you want without waiting for the conditions to be perfect, or blaming your circumstances. “High agency people either push through in the face of adverse conditions,” explains Doshi. “Or they manage to reverse the adverse conditions to achieve goals.“ If you want to make waves as a product manager, you’ve got to develop high agency.
Why Smart People Build Products with No Impact:
A lot of our potential success is hampered by biases and fallacies. If you’re not mindful of them and don’t understand them, then you risk building products no one cares about. Whether it’s execution orientation, the IKEA effect, or the bias-for-building fallacy, you need to understand heuristics affecting your product decisions.
The Seven Biases of Product Teams:
The most effective product teams are the teams that make the most effective decisions. “The quality of your decisions is ultimately what determines the impact that your product makes,” says Doshi. “You do not rise to the level of your plan—it’s easy to make a good looking plan. You fall to the level of your decision-making.” To make better decisions, you need to be aware of the biases that are impacting them.
The Difference Between Product Thinking and Project Thinking:
Product management is not project management, but there’s always a risk PMs can slip into product thinking, especially within bureaucratic megacorps. “When and how are top of mind during project thinking,” Doshi elaborates. “Whereas why and what are top of mind during product thinking. The difference in what these questions are seeking (and what answers they will elicit) is really the essence of the difference between the Project Thinking mode and the Product Thinking mode.”
Why Product Management Is Hard (And Why Good Product Management Matters):
Anyone who’s been a Product Manager understands how hard it can be. There’s no one true way to do product, and sometimes the right thing you do today will be the wrong thing tomorrow. “Good product mgmt isn’t about always getting it right.” says Doshi. “But it is about your team getting it right more often than most smart teams would.”
What Good Managers Do, and How they Think and Act:
Good management is about clear thinking, sound judgement, and wisdom. It’s not about having a style or a playbook, it’s about understanding you’re leading a team of individuals and you need to cater for their individual needs. “Good managers constantly get results through their team,” Doshi says. “They have high standards for inputs, outputs, and outcomes. They aren’t satisfied with just meeting the minimum.”
WhyMore Engineers Won’t Solve Your Product’s Problems:
Adding more engineers to a project won’t help you execute any faster. If you’re having trouble executing, you need to understand why, not just throw more people at it. “More engineers will usually not
solve your problems,” explains Doshi. “Because the real problem is often a strategy problem, culture problem, interpersonal problem, trust problem, creativity problem, or market problem. More engineers will
solve your “I don’t have enough engineers” problem.”
The Three Types of Product Leaders:
Product leaders come in three flavors; the Operator, the Craftsperson, the Visionary. “Why is it important that we understand these types?” asks Doshi. “For startup founders: so you can hire the right type of product leader, for PM leaders: for self-awareness & combating imposter syndrome, for PMs: to pick the right type of manager & plan your own leadership journey.”