Why chefs and soldiers make the best product managers

Via firstround.com   Article

“‘Both the military and professional kitchens are environments where there’s zero tolerance for slackers and indecision — you have to be on all the time, working quickly under high pressure’ … Making good decisions quickly isn’t the only quality PMs need that military or kitchen experience instills. There’s a whole checklist Patterson looks for whenever he makes product hires:

  • Being able to lead without authority.
  • Always taking blame while giving credit away.
  • Strong decision-making with imperfect information.
  • Valuing intense preparation
  • Methodical in how they recover from mistakes and crises.
  • Operating optimally under extreme pressure.

While very few may actually be former chefs or soldiers, this list can serve as a rubric for hiring product managers who have the raw skills to succeed in the role. …

Great PMs Earn Authority with Respect and Consistency

Product is this tough job where no one truly works for you. The engineering team doesn’t report to you. They don’t really have to do what you say, but you have to be their leader anyway. …

Great PMs Make Being Thankless a Habit

The best product managers know they have thankless jobs, and they don’t mind. This is a skill unto itself. They never throw anyone else under the bus. …

Here’s What a Real Growth Strategy Looks Like …

The best way to root out this mentality is to pay attention to pronouns. In an interview, does a PM candidate say ‘I’ and ‘me’ a lot? Or do they say ‘we’, ‘my team’ and ‘us.’ …

Great PMs Move Fast Without All the Facts

Military service drills you in making quick decisions with imperfect information.’“Mostly right, never in doubt.’ …

Great PMs Value Preparation Above All

… ‘Think about how complicated it is for kitchens to take hundreds of ingredients every day and combine them beautifully and consistently so that hot, gorgeous dishes all come out at the same time, every time for dozens of tables’ … ‘ All the real work was done starting in the morning before the doors open.’ …”

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