Making Tradeoffs is Product Management

Wayne Greene, former Senior Director of Product Management at VMware, discusses how he approaches roadmap prioritization, allocating resources across a portfolio of products, and communicating decisions with key stakeholders.

Wayne has held product leadership positions at Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, and VMware where he has worked on software, hardware, and services businesses. More recently, he wrote a book called “From Product Management to Product Leadership”, wherein he discusses how making important product decisions often requires making tradeoffs.

Wayne says that there are fewer tradeoffs that need to be made when you’re a startup managing a single product than when you’re at large company managing a portfolio of products at different stages. He discusses how he’s made important decisions in challenging situations, such as:

  • Managing engineering debt
  • Developing channel partnerships
  • Integrating mergers and acquisitions

Wayne discusses forming a cross-functional product leadership group to collaborate on important decisions, establishing a core philosophy, conducting regular reviews of product plans, being explicit about the tradeoffs that you need to make, and discussing the decision with every stakeholder.

You’ll learn a lot from this episode about strategic decision making and stakeholder management.

Here are the highlights:

  • The most challenging situations where product managers need to make tradeoffs (6:30)
  • How Wayne defines business priorities when managing a portfolio of products (10:18)
  • Wayne walks through a tough decision he made when managing a product with technical debt (14:55)
  • How Wayne approaches channel partnerships (20:29)
  • Wayne describes his experience doing M&A deals as both the acquirer and acquiree (26:47)

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