A Product Manager’s cheat-sheet to deliver great features

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I changed my job a few months ago. I interviewed with a few companies on my way to find the right place for me. In several interviews I was asked: “Would you say your stakeholders were happy with your performance? Why?”

Were my stakeholders happy? I felt very appreciated by my stakeholders, I was told several times they liked my work, and they prefered if I took care of sensitive topics. They knew I will deliver good solutions.

My new stakeholders are also happy with my work.

But why? I didn’t really have the answer.

I started paying attention to how I plan features. What do I focus on? What do I emphasis? After sometime, I realised there are three principles leading, more often than not, to good features: Effectiveness, Simplicity, and Durability.


Among the many departments that make companies work, the Tech Department has a special role. It is the department in charge of execution and deserves special attention.

After working in a few startups, you realize how they share some basic structures and behaviors. Some of them positive, some of them not so much. In most of the startups, you will find teams dedicated to Development, Design, Product Management, Marketing, Social Media, SEO, Finance, Human Resources, etc.

Among those, the Development team deserves a special consideration. It is the team in charge of execution. Coding, releasing apps, and being ‘on call’ when something goes wrong at 3.30am on weekends, all are part of the Development team work.

Usually, every team in the company creates requests: a new pop-up for Marketing, those keywords for SEO, adjust the Social Media share buttons, those 3 pixels here and there for design, and that new big feature from the Product Management team. The Product Manager gets those requests in the shape of tickets (or tasks or whatever you call it), prioritize them, and, ideally, negotiates with the Development team what will be done next. …


The first advice you usually get when you say you want to be a Product Manager is ‘Act like one’. What does that mean?

‘Act like a Product Manager’. Easy right? Thanks for the advice.

I am not sure if this is something you can fake. Getting into Product Management is complicated and time-consuming. Product Management is a central discipline that touches almost every other discipline in a company but doesn’t directly execute any of them.

A good Product Manager should be able to speak Marketing, SEO, Tech, Design, and on top of that, know your business too. She doesn’t need to master every discipline but she does need to have a good working knowledge of all of them. …


How to apply for a Product Manager position, have a great idea, build a business case and never get an answer.

Someone had once told me that the best way to get your first Product Manager position is through your current company. Try to be really good at your job, show interest in other areas, learn how all the other departments work, and then fight to get one of the Product Manager positions.

It was the beginning of 2015. I was working as a developer for dubizzle, a classifieds website. Think of it as the Craigslist of the Middle East (but cooler).

I checked the job openings within the company and noticed a Product Manager position. I was a well-respected developer there who had been recently moved to the development team of the most profitable section of the company. They even let me implement my own version of Scrum for my team.


I am a Computer Scientist, a Software Engineer, a Developer, a Coder, a Programmer and a Web Engineer. Call it anything — that is what I do. What I used to do.

I spent the last 7 years in front of a computer. My career had reached a point where I had to make changes if I wanted to grow professionally. It was time to do something else. For the second time in my life, I was at the crossroads.

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Computer Science vs Cooking

When I graduated from High School I had to make a decision. What did I want to study next? It was time to choose a career and I had two options in mind: Computer Science or Cooking. On one hand, I loved the internet. Websites connected people from all around the world. You could build something from a little town in the south of Spain and make it available to everyone else on the planet. The internet could make people’s lives better. …


José Mujica fue el 40º Presidente de Uruguay entre 2010 y 2015.

Esto lo pensamos mucho. Pasamos más de 10 años de soledad en el calabozo y tuvimos tiempo… Estuvimos 7 años sin leer un libro, tuvimos mucho tiempo para pensar y descubrimos esto:

O logras ser feliz con poco y liviano de equipaje porque la felicidad está dentro tuyo o no logras nada. Esto no es una apología de la pobreza, es una apología de la sobriedad.

Pero hemos inventado una sociedad de consumo, consumista… y la economía tiene que crecer porque si no crece es una tragedia. …

About

Álvaro Hurtado

Product Manager, Web Engineer, Chef Amateur

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