It's Not You, It's Me
Use Data: An offensive and Defensive Weapon
Never Features. Always Themes
Always talk in terms of product themes when engaged in discussions with senior management. Refer to features at your own peril.
Should you choose not to follow this commandment, you will find yourself sitting in exceptionally long, sleep inducing meetings where irrelevant people have opportunity to fill your plate with lists of features that more often than are either trivial/obvious or Herculean task that don’t work with the product/corporate strategy.
The Average Salary Rule
The higher the average salary of the audience in any room, the less anyone really cares about the details of what you do. This means that if you want to connect with these people, the more you should talk in high level vision type language and the less you should mention details.
Details and practicalities are things only those on the low end of the salary totem pole need to concern themselves with.
Be The Adult In The Room
Never Assume You Know Your Customer
Protect Yourself From All Things Pear Shaped
Put It In Writing
Known and Unknown Unknowns
Having the luxury of knowing all the facts before making a decision is a luxury afforded only to those in menial jobs or grade 5. Get used to the fact you will never know the full picture and stop whining about it already. Besides, its was separates the amateurs from the professionals.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Learn to Say No
While Mick Jagger proclaimed “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing”, if you are thinking beyond a stage persona and more long term, develop the discipline of saying “No”.
Much like how you need to say no to yourself before you stuff that extra Oreo down your gullet, learning to say no when asked to make commitments to certain product requests may be painful in the short run, it can benefit everyone in the long run.
Make Allies, Not Enemies
Beware The Fake Use Case
Manage Time Estimate Like A CEO
Much like how CEO’s and senior executives talk in broad strokes when asked about the timing of milestone achievements, when asked about the delivery time of a feature/project, you are best served by being as non-committal as possible and talk in terms of quarter or corporate milestones.
Let whoever is asking the question get more specific in their request for clarification.