Wednesday, April 13, 2011


As I was running through my day, I happened to check Twitter and saw the following:

Carlos Whittaker (@loswhit)
Remember,Every1 else is secretly scared they're gonna get found out that they dnt know wht the crap they're doing either.

This really struck me in that this has often been a fear of mine. That at some point I would come back to my office and find a cardboard box and be asked to put my stuff in it because they had discovered that I was in way over my head. 

Now I love my job, I love the stuff that our teams build together, and most importantly I love the people that I get to create things with. But at the same time a lot of my job involves finding solutions for some big messy problems. The reason that it is still a problem that gets to us is often because it is a giant hair-ball that others haven't been able to or want to solve. And that creates a lot of moments of having to think on my feet and in some cases am in spots where as Carlos says 'don't know what the crap I am doing'. 

There are several ways to react in this position. One is to become paralyzed and not be able to make any decisions until finally a decision gets made by default. I have seen this happen with many projects and it just points to someone who should be taking responsibility and just doesn't want to take any potential blame or is just too scared. Another way to react is to just go knee-jerk and make decisions on the fly without any thought to the 'ripple' effect that it will probably have down the road, to other projects, or for some poor sap who is going to have to come behind you and clean up the mess. Now the right way is to try and be somewhere down the middle and work together to find the best solutions, but in the end - someone has to make the call. 

Being a Product Manager means that for my projects and products that person is me. 

I can look back on projects and see that I have been the person on both ends of the spectrum, so scared to make a call that I just don't, and also one who gets scared that my authority is being questioned or that a decision has to be made in a split second when it really doesn't and making a knee-jerk decision that probably isn't the best choice. In attempting to become a better leader with the teams that I work with, I own those mistakes. I have to take the blame. But in those many other cases where something had to be done and even though we didn't have all the information (you never will) the decision was made and it was a great success - then as a team we share that victory. 

I think this tweet also speaks to why certain people that you run into or maybe work with are all bound up and touchy. It is because they are also scared that someone someday is going to pull back the curtain and let the world know that they really don't know what the crap they are doing.

1 comment:

Cheri said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks those thoughts!