Productivity and the product manager

Productivity and the Product Manager

Being a product manager in todays crazy environment can be like juggling a chainsaw, a bowling ball, and a sword. It’s crazy at best. Marketing wants those new release features, engineering wants more detail on a requirement, the UX team can’t agree on a design, management wants a development checkpoint presentation and you are speaking at a conference next week. How in the world can you keep everything moving forward?

I have found that I needed a system to keep track of everything. As a product manager, it’s important to be action oriented, so I needed a system to keep track of my actions.  After reading “Getting Things Done” by David Allen, I began for formulate my system. What I like about his book is that it doesn’t prescribe a tool, but rather it describes a system.  And after you get a system in place, you can revise and improve that system. I have been improving my system for several years now. It is amazing how having a personal system that is tailored to your needs helps you in so many ways.

“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” 
― David Allen

Now I capture these ideas and formulate a plan for accomplishing the tasks related to the idea. Having a system that captures all the actions required in the role of a product manager is essential. It’s also something you have to continually revise and improve. There are always new tools on the market to help you with your system. I typically set aside some time twice a year to see if there are any new tools that I can leverage. The most important thing is your system, often there are many tools that can assist in your system.

For more of the latest from David Allen visit

And finally, here is a little humor from Rob Cottingham on the subject of getting things done.


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