Make it Stop with You

November 23, 2019 Brandon Waselnuk 2 min read

In product, specifically product management, there’s a joke most people like to tell and it goes “you’re responsible for the outcome of a product but the boss of no one.” Meaning you have to engage all stakeholders, customers, execs, teams (squads if you’re into the lingo), and more but you can’t tell anyone what to do. So how is it fair that the outcome of a launch falls on your shoulders?

It probably isn’t totally fair.

But it stops with you. It’s squarely on your shoulders.

So instead of bemoaning this fate and repeating the joke — make it stop with you. Take responsibility for outcomes and let that drive everything you do.

Dev team having a slip on a delivery date? Then take ownership of it, protect the dev team from management and then support them however you can. The outcome is your responsibility.

Marketing team struggling to get content out in time for launch day? It’s your problem now; start writing, do their dishes at lunch if it’ll free up some extra time for them, buy the team coffee — support them. The outcome is your responsibility.

C-Suite decide that your open headcount is now 0? Best get to balancing workloads for the extended team so no one burns out. Cutting projects and getting back to prioritizing what will really bring customers value is always a worthwhile practice. The outcome is your responsibility.

I hope you’ve caught the recurring theme here; the outcome is your responsibility.

So take all the energy you spend being annoyed about it and get back to solving problems. It’s what makes us happy after all.