Product Management – What Makes a Good PLM?

A survey of standard wording in Product Line Manager (PLM) job postings reveals the following skills and attributes:

Project planning


Team motivation and delegation

Budgeting and data analysis skills

Understanding and experience with related business

Goal oriented Customer service

Documentation skills

Team player

Written, verbal, and communication skills

Organizational skills and attention to detail

Time management skill

Ability to work tight deadlines

Fast learner

Ability to work independently or in a group.

All of the above are important, but do they really describe what is ideal for a project manager or do they actually describe what is ideal for every single employee. I suggest the following attributes to be as important as, or rather, more important than the above attributes:

Care deeply about the company and that it’s products are of high quality and technically sound.

Defines the product accurately and ensures that it performs according to its intended use.

Makes sure that during the planning stages and during the lifetime of the product the right people are involved in making decisions.

All decisions gauge the impact the decision will have on the customer.

Understands all aspects of how the product works, how it is manufactured, and how the client uses it.

Understands the company and ensures that all new products fit within the companies business model.

Understands “the law of compensation” and balances company goals with speed and quality constraints.

Takes initiative to solve difficult problems: whether happening with existing projects or if they would require a new project. Does this before executives realize there ever was a problem.

Shares victory with the team, accepts accountability for failures alone.

All vision setting keeps the business in mind.

The business is to manufacture and sell high quality product for a profit.

Steps to Quality Project Management

Make sure that the company does not see project managers as paper pushers and meeting setters. Instead, project managers are seen as a means to enable the best, most productive, and enjoyable work. This is done by enabling full team cooperation in all facets of a project / product by accurately communicating the vision and goals of the product and explaining the value of its existence. Team members consist of all departments and are allowed to input their viewpoints on aspects of the product that effect their departments. Goals are established and team members are given “ownership” of the goal. The time of product to market decreases because all affected parties are developing materials related to the product during its development.

Product design. Questions to be answered: What is the purpose of the widget? Who will use the widget? Why will they want the widget? How will we sell the widget? How is success measured? Do we release by a certain date, or when minimum specs are met? Do we keep to a maximum cost, or do we exceed costs if necessary to meet specs. Does the widget fit with the company goals, and existing products.

Goals are defined in the beginning, during, and at the end of the product life cycle. Goals are defined by actual use by the potential customer Market surveys. Existing and upcoming regulations. Experience of experienced staff. Communication with known experts. Desired final outcome including product life.

Teams. A team is an assimilation of ideas working together for one common goal and that goal is to produce a product that will benefit the buyer and provide both the buyer and the seller with a profit. A team consists of Product Line, Sales, Marcom, Manufacturing, R&D, Service, Tech Support, and Accounting. Including everyone in the team and assigning each member of the team set goals brings product to market faster, trains the sales and service faster, ensures that there is a marketing message established upon release, and guarantees that products are developed to suit the needs of the customer. Success is measured by Success. If the product is a useful quality instrument that performs adequately and allows the client to save time and make a profit then it is a good product. If the product is a good product that can be sold at a profit and is in high demand it is successful. If a product is successful then the company is successful. Hence, success is measured by success.

What makes a good PLM? A good PLM must be observing and able to draw inferences about all possible effects of decisions made. A good PLM must assimilate knowledge and be able to accurately organize, and measure that knowledge objectively into something that is useful. A good PLM translates ideas into tangible objects that increase the value of existing products or turns an idea into something completely new. The good PLM realizes that it is impossible to conceptualize a product without knowing its demand so that learning about the product and its uses never stops.

Since innovation involves risk, the good PLM must be willing to take risks, and must be willing to accept responsibility for the inevitable failures that result from risks taken. The good PLM must have accurate knowledge of all products and processes of the product, and must have an uncanny knowledge of the uses of the product, both past, present, and future. The good PLM must be a team player and readily accept the ideas of others because no one person can know everything. The good PLM recognizes the strength of the mastermind and allows the team to submit ideas and follow these ideas through to their physical form. The good PLM shares all success with the team publicly.

Do You Dream in the Past, Present, Or Future?

Many psychologists believe that dreams are all about a coalescing of the day’s events, moving the information from short-term to long-term memory in a defragging information sort of way. Whereas, it appears to be true that some of the dreams we have are about that, I would submit to you that some are forward thinking. In fact, I would say that dreams are without time; past, present, and future.

However as I say that, I can tell you that there are people who disagree with me, including some very famous professors, theorists, and famous dead white men whose names we must memorize if we are to study psychology. If you have a few moments I’d like to discuss this with you. The reason I say that dreams are in the past, present, and future is through actual observations. We know that if you are sleeping, and there are events going on around you while you are sleeping, fragments will end up in your dreams.

This is simply because the auditory part of the brain is always on. Perhaps it was a survival tool that survived the evolutionary process. After all, when humans are sleeping they might be attacked by a vicious animal, but if they heard the animal coming, they would wake up and could defend themselves. That’s a theory as well. Thus, dreams can be set forth in the present, and involve what’s going on in real-time.

In 1983 A. Phillips stated that “Dreams are always in the past,” but that seems rather absolute, how can we know that for sure, in fact, I think I disagree, rather strongly actually. Not only for the reasons I cited above, and I will give Phillips some credit, because dreams do include the past, but they are not “always” in the past.

Further, it is possible to dream into the future, it may not be the actual future that occurs later, but the mind has an interesting way willing events to occur, using Inherent tools perhaps similar to psycho-cybernetics, which is what athletes use to envision victory before the sporting event. Lastly, dreams seem to be no different at a subconscious level, then at the conscious level with regards to time. Just as we cannot live in the future, we can set ourselves up and project ourselves into that future, just as we can in dreams.

We can also use our memory of the past to relive the past in our conscious mind and in our thoughts. Just as we do in our dreams. Now then, I ask you this simple question, and before you answer to yourself, I’d like you to please consider this; do you dream in the past, present, or future? Please think on it.

3 Behind the Scenes Secrets to a Terrific Presentation

So often I’m telling you how important it is to have a Signature Talk (and it is!). What you ask me is why and HOW? Why is easy: having a Signature Talk raises your expert status and bottom line. How can be tricky so today I want to share a few key tips for giving a terrific presentation.

1. Perhaps the most important and often overlooked aspect of being a good presenter is connecting with your audience. Think of yourself as in relationship with your entire audience. Each time you present, even when you present the same material, is a unique event. It’s a performance experience that connects you, your vision and your audience in a way that enlightens everyone and grows your business. How do you connect with your audience? Understand that you are there to serve them and they truly do want to hear your message. Connect with them through your voice by speaking with enthusiasm, with your body by standing tall and making eye contact and with your message by using clear and memorable language.

2. That brings us to my second tip which is your content. Create a clear and compelling presentation that shares what you have promised to share without overloading your audience with information. Organize your presentation into an introduction where you explain what they can expect from your presentation (who are you, why are you here and what will they learn by the end of your talk), a body where you share your content and a conclusion where you remind them of your key points and explain how they can get more (i.e. your call to action). In general, you only want to have 3-5 key points in your presentation. This is a rule of thumb there are many ways to organize a presentation but when in doubt stick with 3-5 points.

3. What ties together everything for a terrific presentation? YOU. Your personality is your #1 asset. Don’t be afraid to express who you are. If you’re funny; be funny. If you’re serious; be serious. If you’re amazing at statistics; throw in some statistics. Hey, if you do a cool magic trick it might make a great ice breaker. The key is to be yourself. There is no one right way to present. You need to follow the rules of connecting with your audience, writing compelling content, being prepared, etc., but beyond that there are no rules. Allow your passion for your subject and for your desire for your audience to be successful to shine through. Let the audience know that you care about them. Be genuine and transparent. Be everything that you are. That’s the real secret to a terrific presentation and it’s what makes all the other pieces fall effortlessly into place.

Have fun with this!