Product Manager Persona
The Product Manager persona resulted from interviews with industry professionals who are responsible for prioritizing feature requests, product roadmapping, and tracking progress of the development of software applications. Interviewees were asked questions about their daily duties, goals and motivations, challenges they face in their roles, and the tools they use throughout the software development lifecycle.
Staying updated on team progress and important decisions
- “Getting other people to use the tools. I need to make sure that other people are updating the JIRA board for example. In my experience, many developers don’t exactly love to do this since it’s a tedious task. Or adding comments, if they have a question, adding it in the task so that we can keep a record of everything that’s being worked on. Sometimes someone will send it to me on slack and I’ll copy-paste that into the ticket since sometimes it’s easier for me to do that than to ask someone to get used to doing that.”
- “Organizational communication. Making sure that if you have a delay, that you tell someone about it. If you’re going to implement something in a new way, tell someone about it. Or also from top down, if the investors change their mind and want something else in two weeks, let me know what you know as soon as possible instead of waiting until the next meeting.”
for the different stakeholders involved in the product
- “Some of the challenges of working with the Technical Team Leads is that they will forget to update things or they’ll give me a summary that is super technical so I have to ask more questions to make sure that I understand and have the ability to explain to other Product Managers where the developers are stuck, because they need more definition on what that feature should look like.”
Prioritizing features to build when dealing with limited resources
- "...Being able to find balance between being strategic and being practical. Being able to look into the future and be ambitious while at the same time having to put out fires and manage the day-to-day. Another challenge is staying in touch with the end user. We do not have as much time to be on top of the market and to interview customers. We're not as able to get market feedback and do market research as well. I think I would be able to do more of this with the help of an assistant."
- Staying close to user needs while balancing product vision and business requirements
Potential Next Steps
- DevOps WorkFlow Issue Boards
- Automatically update issues when an MR is deployed gitlab-ce#28692
- "Automate the flow of product-critical information (e.g. artifacts such as Features, Epics, Stories, Defects) and other associated data (comments, attachments etc.) across the value stream." (reference: https://www.tasktop.com/blog/value-stream-management-in-software-delivery/)
- Added capabilities for configurable notifications? (e.g. I’d like everyone to be notified when X stage in the cycle happens)
- Workload Estimations - trends over time (graph of point estimations vs actual time taken to complete cycle).
- Add this information to a central location (for example, when a PM wants to assign a certain developer to an issue, where can they go to find the developer's "success" rate?)
- “Looking at the developer’s estimations over time. Say they estimated the story to be 1 point. And over time you have 20-30 1-point stories from them. You could estimate the average 1-point story being roughly 2 days...So you now have a trend over time. And you can start getting an idea of the fact that when a developer says “1-point,” this is roughly the timeline associated with that. You can see how much time they actually take vs. what they say it will take. Here’s their rough accuracy of estimating and here’s the rough timeframe they associate with points (for ex: over time, 3-point stories mean 5 days). And integrate that into the burndown chart and then you can see roughly where they’ll land.”
- Add a "Goals and Objectives" or "Key Insights" tab to serve as a single source of truth for why certain features or initiatives were prioritized over others - provides information on key objectives, limiting factors, or things that must be achieved in a cycle/sprint --> esssentially a forced-ranked list mechanism with the ability to save notes under each item
- This helps to keep everyone aware of how product decisions impact the business, keeps track of why priorities shifted, and serves as a reference point for future discussions.
- A "Key Insights" tab could be helpful for also sharing important customer insights, user feedback, and design decisions. Of the participants I spoke with, the "higher-ups" (Head of Product, Director of Innovation, Principal Product Manager, etc) stated that they missed being closer to the user and market research aspect of product development. They would like to be aware of key findings but often do not have the time to carry out research or read reports in detail.
Who I Spoke With (video recordings)
Interviewee 1, Senior Program Manager
- Tools: JIRA, Confluence, Pivotal Tracker, monday.com, GitHub
Interviewee 2, Senior Product Manager
- Tools: Pivotal Tracker, BitBucket, Google Suite, Slack
Interviewee 3, Project Manager
- Tools: Microsoft Project Server, Trello, Clarity, Sharepoint
Interviewee 4, Product Manager
- Tools: JIRA, Trello, Confluence, Product Plan, GitHub, Google Analytics + MixPanel (for A/B testing), Slack, email
Interviewee 5, Head of Product
- Tools: GitHub, Waffle.io, Trello, GSuite, MixPanel
Interviewee 6, Director of Innovation
- Tools: Asana, JIRA, GitHub, email, text, Microsoft Excel
Interviewee 7, Sr. Software Project Manager
- Tools: Microsoft TFS, Perforce, GitHub
Interviewee 8, Principal Product Manager
- Tools: GitLab, Amplitude, Aha! (recently started using this tool), ZenHub, spreadsheets
All Tools Mentioned by Interviewees
- JIRA, Pivotal Tracker, Confluence, Clarity, Sharepoint, monday.com, Microsoft Team Server, Perforce, Trello, Amplitude, Aha!, ZenHub, Waffle.io, MixPanel, Google Analytics, Slack, Asana
Organization, communication, traceability, flow time, comprehensive, tangible, integration patterns, trends over time, agile estimation, story points, Fibonacci scale, velocity, stories, forced rank list
Experienced some difficulty recruiting participants who had enough familiarity with/job duties related to value stream management.