Playing football makes me even a better product manager. Here is why:
- One goal. Many ways to get there. A football team might choose to play a particular match offensively and play another defensively. But every player strives for a non-negotiable outcome: winning every game. PMs also have laser focus and create multiple strategies to meet their long-term goal. For example, PMs can focus on customer retention for one quarter, and customer acquisition in the next. Both strategies contribute to the broader goal of increased customers.
- Every player has a specific but critical task to perform. A goalkeeper keeps the ball out of the net. An attacker puts the ball in the opponent's net. If either player does not perform, the team might lose the match. Similarly, a product's success requires all stakeholders to perform. A great PM knows every stakeholder's role in her product's success, and she empowers them to do their job well.
- Teamwork. If a defender is supporting an attack and is unable to return to her position in time, others step in to cover the open position and fill in for the defender. Great PMs do the same: if their team members need help, they step up and do whatever it takes to win.
- Focus on the strengths of the team. Ronaldo takes every spot-kick for his team because he is the best spot-kicker in the team. The team appreciates his skills and utilises it to increase their winning chances. Product teams identify the strengths of every PM on the team and use it to their advantage.