There is a long-standing debate around whether product managers are the CEO of their products. I've generally taken a nuanced stance in that debate, because it depends. Though over the last few years I lean more toward "yes" because I would prefer that everyone look at themselves as owning the products they work on. That includes not just the product managers, but designers, business analysts, engineers, everyone. We own these things together. Whether they succeed or fail. So we should adopt that attitude.
And while I extend this to everyone involved in a product's development, I feel particularly strongly about it with regards to the leadership trifecta - the product manager, the designer and the engineering lead. They form the group that has to ensure a product's success.
In the book Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink sums it up nicely: "Extreme Ownership. Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame."
6 Ways the Product Manager is the CEO of the Product - I wrote this several years ago, and it stands up very well still. Product managers need to own many aspects of their products, from being experts in how it works to empathizing with users and stakeholders.
CEO of the Product Revisited - "The key is that, like the CEO, the product manager needs to have a solid understanding of the many aspects of the business, and assimilate all of this information to make informed decisions." It's not a simple thing. If you think it is, take another look.
How to be the Best Product Manager You Can - I listened to this podcast episode recently. Manu Prasanna, a senior PM at VMware, touches early on the idea of being the CEO and taking ownership of the product. He also talks about being interesting and playing to your strengths.
What is Product Management - In our Product by Design podcast, Eva and I dive into product management, what makes a good product manager, some of the differences between product ownership, project management, and product management.
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