Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management


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Entrepreneurship as a Corporate Value

Guest post by Harrish Sairaman

Entrepreneurship is an important, integral part of modern corporate world. The entrepreneurs bring a different flavour to the companies in terms of expediting different values such as innovation, quality, trust, Ethics, Morals, Code of conduct,, adaptability to situation, personal integrity etc. to name a few.

Entrepreneurs not only contribute to the financial development of the firm, but also, they contribute heavily in the economy of the country as well. There are certain corporate values that the entrepreneurs bring to the world that can be explained as follows.

Entrepreneurship Continue reading


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Managing projects effectively

Guest post by Joel Parkinson

In general, a project is defined as an activity or endeavor that has a definite start and end date, and is done to achieve certain goals or objectives. The common stages of a project include Initiation, Planning, Execution, Control and Completion. A project is also run by a project manager, who is responsible for the day-to-day execution of tasks, and is often appointed by the project owner or sponsor. A good project manager must also possess the ability to communicate clearly, solve problems, handle interpersonal conflicts, and plan, as well as secure commitments.   Below are more useful tips on how to manage a project effectively.

Define Project Scale and Scope

Once a project proposal hits the desk of the project manager, most of the terms and information inside it can still be too broad or undefined. The first thing that the project manager must do is make a list of questions that should be asked for clarification. The more closely project managers define the project at the onset, there will be less likelihood of slippage, and other costly errors.

Identify Project Tasks

Once the project plan or proposal passes the viability and feasibility tests, the next phase would be to identify and designate all the individual tasks associated with the project.  Good project management requires the efficient managing of various activities, to bring a successful conclusion forth. Remember that, in project management, a “task” refers to anything that consumes time, whether action is required or not.

Get Off To a Good Start

Get off to a good start, by keeping track of the objectives. The manager can eliminate all fears and uncertainty by holding regular formal meetings with all stakeholders, and keeping morale up by immediately dealing with all staff concerns. The manager must also make sure that he/she has all inputs from interested parties, and foster an open environment that encourages the free sharing of ideas. It would also help if the manager breaks the project into small sections, for better tracking of progress.

Perform Time, Quality and Cost Change Control

According to most project management experts, a project has three major constraints, and these are time, quality and cost. The manager, along with his or her team, needs to devise a set of parameters (and safety nets) to ensure that if things go wrong, the problems are recognized, and the project is not bogged down because the backup plans and revisions are already in place.

When it comes to managing projects effectively, take time to identify what went well and what did not go right. Learn from your mistakes and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the project team (or the processes), and then hold meetings with the team to discuss what positive changes need to be done to improve.

Joel Parkinson is a writer for the web site projectmanager.com where he has recently been researching project management software. In his spare time, Joel enjoys surfing and running.


The Product Management Perspective: Software projects have a lot of moving parts. The project manager keeps these projects running smoothly. A solid project manager is a product manager’s best friend. Work closely with your project manager and be grateful for the work they do to keep your software project moving forward in a timely manner.


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Finding your strengths

Think about the following statement: “At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do the best every day.” How do you respond? Do you get the opportunity to use your best skills and strengths for what you do every day? Or are you still living in the “You can be anything you want to be, if you just try hard enough” mindset? Hard work is absolutely critical for success, but if you are working at something that is not a natural fit for your skills and natural talents you are missing a huge opportunity.

In the book Strengths Finder 2.0 author Tom Rath gives an action plan for helping you find the qualities at which you excel. The book is based on research by the late Dr. Donald O. Clifton, considered the father of Strength’s Based Psychology, who discovered and developed 34 themes to clearly classify human strengths. This is a “2.0 version” of the book that provides a succinct description of each theme, ten “ideas for action” that help you apply the theme, and three suggestions for working with other people whose strengths apply to that theme.

Each copy of the book has a unique access code to a comprehensive Strengths discovery and Action-Planning Guide on their website. After completing strengths assessment you receive an email detailing your top five strengths. You then use the descriptions and ideas for action for your top themes to help you identify what you can do, and what you might need to change, to apply your strengths to your work and other important aspects of your life.

The author’s studies indicate that people who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general. The stated goal of the book is to help organizations overcome the “epidemic of active disengagement” that has become prevalent in many organizations.

Mr. Rath sums it up this way: “Far too many people spend a lifetime headed in the wrong direction. They go not only from cradle to cubicle, but then to the casket, without uncovering their greatest talents and potential.”


The Product Management Perspective: One of the great things about product management is you get to use many different skills. However, knowing your strengths will help you focus on areas that are most important to your products’ (and your own) success.


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Making tough decisions

Making big decision is not easy; in fact it might be one of the most difficult things we ever have to do. The tendency is to postpone decisions as long as we can and put of the pain.

At its root the word of decision means to cut off. When you make a decision you go with one thing and leave all the rest behind. Cutting yourself off from other choices is not easy, and that’s at the root of why we tend to put off big decisions. We postpone decisions for various reasons: we don’t want to offend people; we’re not sure who or what to choose; we’re afraid we’ll be wrong in the end. We need to stop putting off big decisions.

According to Seth Godin, the key to making big decisions is not time: “First rule of decision making: More time does not create better decisions. In fact, it usually decreases the quality of the decision.” Why is it better to act quickly? Seth goes on to say, “Deciding now frees up your most valuable asset, time, so you can go work on something else. What happens if, starting today, you make every decision as soon as you have a reasonable amount of data?”

A CEO I know recently made a decision to consolidate three teams into one. Two of the teams were led by VPs, which meant one of them had to go. There was a fair amount of disagreement whether the CEO made the right decision, but I was very impressed by his decisive action. I don’t know any of the details behind the decision, but from my perspective he didn’t draw it out, he was cordial and fair to all parties involved, and he didn’t apologize. He admitted he might find out he was wrong at some point, but he accepted full responsibility for the decision and is moving forward.

“Leadership is an action, not a position.” ~ Donald H. McGannon


The Product Management Perspective: As a product manager you have to sort through a lot of data. Don’t get bogged down in the details. Be decisive. When you encounter decisions that must be made about your product, get the information and make the decision. Don’t procrastinate; your product’s success depends on it.


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Timely decisions

What does it take to make the right decision? According to a recent post by Seth Godin, the key to making decisions is not time:

First rule of decision making: More time does not create better decisions. In fact, it usually decreases the quality of the decision.

So if taking more time decreases the quality of your decisions, what can you do to increase it? Seth goes on to say:

Deciding now frees up your most valuable asset, time, so you can go work on something else. What happens if, starting today, you make every decision as soon as you have a reasonable amount of data?

Acquire the data you need and sort it out quickly. Make the decision and move forward confidently.

“Leadership is an action, not a position.” ~ Donald H. McGannon

Do not let time get in the way of timely decisions.

The Product Management Perspective: As a product manager you have to sort through a lot of data. Don’t get bogged down in the details. Be decisive.


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Moving forward

People go through many stages in their lives. Nobody is immune from difficulty. One of the key traits of great leaders is their ability to move forward despite the difficulties they face. Not only are they inspired to move forward themselves, but they also inspire others to advance with them.

Many methods exist to help people improve. Art Petty writes about the importance of creating a Personal Quality Program as a compelling way to make real progress in your business and personal life. In his post Art gives a brief history and definition of a Personal Quality Program and how it helps people become better individuals as well as leaders. After implementing this program, a group of MBA students came up with three conclusions, one of which resonates in this context:

Identify processes from your personal and professional life that you would like to improve.  These processes should be measurable and with purpose.  Process improvement should ultimately benefit you and/or your customer[s].  Focus on no more than 10 of these processes at a time.

The act of moving forward (progressing) requires action and effort. Putting together a plan — to help you progress to the next level — is a smart way to get started.


The Product Management Perspective: Product managers almost always have more work than hours in the day to do it all, yet the pressure to release quality, market-driven products on time never ceases. To ensure that you continually progress as a product manager — meeting both the needs of your company and your own personal growth objectives — you should create specific objectives, write them down and abide by them. Think of it as a roadmap for your career.