Five Product Management Lessons from the Avengers
By Aditi Bhat
If the muscular bulges are replaced by curving product life-cycle graphs and if the mission is saving a product from extinction, you will notice striking similarities between the Avengers and product managers.
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Real life Avengers – Product managers
Think about it. Product managers are always surrounded by challenges, working with people having different skills, taking vital decisions on the go and creating a better world for your consumers by giving them best product possible.
There are many lessons that can be taken from the Avengers and applied to better product management. That being said, here are five lessons that every product management enthusiast can learn from the Avengers.
5 product management lessons from the Avengers
1.Teamwork is key to success
Teamwork makes dreams work. Not all Avengers bond well with each other. While Captain America and Iron Man don’t agree with each other’s ideology, Hulk sizes up Thor every now and then with a disapproving look. But when the team becomes ONE, they are a force to reckon with.
Avengers work well as a team because they have a common goal to save the planet. They are also driven by a strong moral compass to watch each other’s back and do the right thing. Avengers are aligned in their actions and that’s what makes them a dream team. Here’s the million dollar question then - as a product manager is your team aligned with your goals?
2.It’s your responsibility to handle tricky situations as a leader
Every Avenger has taken the matter into his/her own hands when in a tricky situation. Ironman has risked his life by going inside the warp hole to save the world from getting engulfed. Thor trusted his unreliable brother Loke to save Asgard, Tony Stark ignored his ailing condition to put on the iron uniform. Black Widow soloed into the enemy fortress trusting her spy instincts.
Product managers have to take decisions based on facts and intuition. As a leader, they must trust their heart and mind in tricky situations to take the decision and follow it through.
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3.Make sure you stay updated on the latest technologies
If Iron Man isn’t setting an example for product managers with his uber cool inventions, there’s a little change any other superhero can. Be it fast cars, vibranium shield or bee-sized intelligent bots, the Avengers are keeping a shoulder with the technology to fight swarms of robots and aliens.
Avengers have the advantage of two geniuses by their side. Tony Stark is good with robotics and Dr. Brian Banner is a sub-atomic particles physicist. As a product manager, you need the latest tech to boost your abilities. Latest technologies like big data analytics, AI, digital marketing and metrics can help product managers unleash their true potential. Many short term courses are available in digital marketing and big data analytics, which can help product managers widen their knowledge.
4.Be empathetic towards your colleagues
Every now and then, Avengers do show glimpses of compassion despite having major differences with each other. Iron Man overcame his ego to take Captain America’s side. Coming from different walks of life, the Avengers do a good job in respecting and acknowledging each other’s point of view.
Product managers have to be excellent in communication as team leaders. One aspect of communication is to acknowledge and appreciate the team’s efforts and build emotional confidence in them.
5.Understand your team’s strengths & weaknesses
Thor has the mighty hammer, Captain America has vibranium power, Iron Man has a suit to fly, and Black Widow is an invisible spy. Every Avenger contributes to the team in a unique way. What Hulk’s muscle power cannot do, can be done with Hawkeye’s point precision shot. Together, they are able to achieve what cannot be achieved alone. The Avengers deeply understand each other’s strength and weaknesses to complement the team in achieving the collective goal.
As a product manager, you must be good at playing the right card at the right time. To be able to best utilize your team, you should know each member’s strength and weakness.
Conquer the market
Product management is a challenging role. A product manager is an important link in a company connecting and heading cross functional domains. But if it’s a challenging role - it’s exciting and extremely rewarding to see your product being lauded by the country and perhaps the world someday! If you are keen on refining your skills in this amazing field, we suggest you start by taking up an in-depth product management certification program.