Monday, December 10, 2007

6 Months

So they gave me another product to manage. Well, since it is a mere idea yet, more than "managing", it needs to created and launched. On one hand this is a good thing (validation, more responsibilities, higher profile, yada yada), on the other hand, it puts me in a situation where I will have rework my 6 month old working style and reinvent a new one. More on that in a later posting.

Can you believe it? This week, I will finish 6 months at Google. It is almost time to think about the next step (grins). The following values have helped me be moderately successful at what I am doing (which is: not getting into trouble). Most of it is commonsense and somewhat contradictory.

1. Over-communication - I run a constant roadshow about my product in the company. I write monthly notes to my team, I make every presentation on my product as if it was a pitch to investors, and I constantly keep updating relevant folks with the latest state of the product. This has built momentum, reduced misunderstandings, and help garner attention for my product internally.

2. Under-communication - On the flip side, it is a good idea to shut up and not to say a lot more than is needed. This does not mean I am the authority on what needs to relayed and what not, but sometimes keeping quiet is the best way to maintain the sanity of the larger team.

3. Create Consensus - Instead of dropping my supercool product onto the laps of the various reviewing committees, I spend a bit of my time meeting most of the relevant folks in smaller groups unofficially (1-on-1, office hours etc) as I develop the product. This means that by the time the official reviews roll along, I would have probably got the backing I needed. More importantly, my product would be a good, solid product which would have incorporated much needed feedback from a lot of experts around the company.

4. Become Religious - Define a core set of principles (features, marketing segments, UI, etc) that you truly value and believe in. Dig deep into why you believe in them, and what is the logic behind that belief. And then, do not let go of them unless somebody convinces you (or rather teaches) why the contrarian view is appropriate. Being religious about your product's core values helps, because the barrier to criticism and opinions is so low in a product which is unproven and still a concept.

5. Do your Homework - And do it well. Last but not the least, you have to make sure (if you are CEO or a PMM or a PM or an engineer whatever) that you are absolutely on top of all those things that are directly your responsibility. If you are good at what you do, you will have the credibility to push others to line up behind your vision.

All this is barely keeping me afloat, whether I am truly good will be decided when I actually can implement these principles. The proof of the pudding will be in the day my product sees the light of the day, and is used by some of you out there. Till then, here's to the next 6 months at Google.
Hopefully (grin).