Managing Tension is Product Management

 

Marc Abraham is head of product engagement at ASOS.com, a global fashion e-commerce company headquartered in London. He is also the author of a new book, Managing Product, Managing Tension.

 

In product management for nearly a decade, Marc Abraham is head of product engagement at ASOS.com, a global fashion e-commerce company headquartered in London. He particularly likes “extracurriculars,” which led him to write two books: My Product Management Toolkit, and his most recent, Managing Product, Managing Tension.

In discussing his most recent book, Marc is adamant that tension and conflict are necessary — and useful — parts of successful product management: “To create really great products and deliver value to your customers and to deliver value to your business, you need to have that tension to innovate, to make tough decisions.”

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He also shares his take on the classic tension between speed to market and the perfect product. He likes the idea of minimum viable products, as well as de-risking decisions through experimentation. 

“As a product person, I want to get things in the hands of customers early and often, and learn early and often, whether it’s a completely new product or I’m making change to an existing product. … Learning early and often comes with a lot of unknowns and a lot of uncertainty, because that's the whole point. … You try to experiment, you work on assumptions, you try to get those out in hands of customers.”

Learn more about Marc’s thoughts about tension and uncertainty — as well as how to make them work for you instead of against you — on this episode of This Is Product Management.

 

Download the transcript of this episode here:

 

Here are the Highlights:

  • The difference between internal tension and external tension: 8:10
  • Why Marc likes MVPs, and the importance of learning early and often: 14:34
  • Using storytelling to navigate uncertainty: 22:25
  • How product management is like playing pinball: 26:21

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