Practical Product Ep 2: The “Impossible” Product Manager w/ Jason Cohen of A Smart Bear + WP Engine

A great product manager is… 🧵 ” <- You’ve probably seen more than a few threads like this on Twitter. The challenge is that the whole list is impossible to be in one person; even if you did somehow manage all the skills needed, you’d still end up with not enough hours in the day to do it all.

Jason Cohen, cofounder and CTO of WP Engine knows this tradeoff well. He wrote about the challenge in his blog post, “The Impossible Product Manager, a.k.a. the “Great” Product Manager.”

Reading it resonated a ton as I’ve seen in my career and coaching other PMs, so I knew I had to reach out to Jason to talk more about it on the Practical Product podcast.

The “Impossible” Product Manager w/ Jason Cohen of A Smart Bear + WP Engine

The demands of a product manager can be overwhelming. You can often be expected to be more things to more people than any one person can truly master. And even if you can do those things, there’s not nearly enough hours in the day nor the week to do all of them. 

Read Jason’s full post here. Today’s podcast discussion is focused on the consequences of the post and what to do about it.

As a quick summary, there are 4 key areas of responsibility that can fall under product managers that Jason outlines:

  1. Strategist
  2. Customer Whisperer
  3. Scrum Product Owner
  4. Orchestrator

The key to those for is that as Jason puts it, “a “Great PM” is excellent in one area, good in at least one other, and doesn’t have time for more than two.”

So today we’re diving into what that means for product managers.

Listen in the player above, or you can find all your favorite podcast platforms with links to them by clicking the “Subscribe” text in the player.

And as you search for that balance of the right areas to focus on, keep in mind this great visual from Jason on finding your ideal situation:

When you find this intersection, you’ll maximize your happiness *and* thrive in your career.

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