(2023-01-27) Cutler Tbm852 Top1 Product Managers
John Cutler: TBM 8/52: Top 1% Product Managers. Why is product management so obsessed with tropes and bromides like "Top 1% Product Managers" and "Good Product Managers _____ Great Product Managers______"? (well, dev has 10x-dev framing, though maybe fewer pieces defining a path there)
There is a lot of ambiguity about what product managers do, and hyperbole is another way of stressing the details of the role. By highlighting "the best" (and "the worst"), we perhaps emphasize what is possible.
This may be controversial, but many product managers are insecure about the value they offer. They don't build, they don't design, and they don't manage. The Top 1% mythology gives a conveniently self-reassuring narrative—that outsized impact is within reach! That "truly great" product managers are true catalysts.
Product managers can "make or break" an effort. We intuit (correctly) that product managers are essential, and this translates into a (less correct) perception of the "curve" linking PM expertise to outcomes. Does moving from a 90th percentile PM to a 99th percentile PM 10x outcomes? It certainly supports #3 above, but I'm not so sure.