How do you know when you’ve arrived as a Product Manager? When you’re in a planning meeting with your Executive team and one of them makes a statement about the Market, or what product you should make next, or what they think your customer base needs – and you stare them straight back in the eye and say: “You’re wrong. Here’s why…” Remember, your one job before all others is to talk to the Market and internalize its voice. You must be the voice of the Market – the Vox Mercati.
In 2008 and beyond, make a pledge to be the Vox Mercati. So long as you speak with the truth of the Market, you’ll always find a company that needs you.
[UPDATE 2008-01-30]: Bob Corrigan from ack/nak makes a great point in the comments below. Politics is a part of the Game in Product Management just like any other role. The delivery of your message is key, so remember you represent the market, not you are the market. To make the voice of the market palatable, present your methods and sources as your research and let your data back you up. Consider dissenting voices and inquire how they are getting their data.