get the ball out of your court

In leadership, product management, productivity by Jay Clouse

For a product manager (and remember, we are all product managers) it is your job to achieve the most efficient process for a team to work together towards a common goal.

It’s up to you to understand the timelines/deadline for completion and do everything within your power to hit those timelines.

What I very quickly learned is that if I am the bottleneck for any decision or deliverable, I need to get that decision or deliverable out of my hands.

My number one goal was to get the ball back out of my court as quickly as possible.

When someone else’s work is dependent on yours, you are immediately paying opportunity cost. As a true product manager, I knew I was performing at my best when no one was waiting on me for anything.

But there’s a catch: you can’t get the ball out of your court with ambiguity. If you try to turn the reigns back over to your team, but your decision is unclear or your work is incomplete, then you will create a new problem that requires time (probably for both parties) to solve.

To lead and help a team progress as quickly as possible, do everything in your power to give complete and clear work and direction to the members of your team. As a leader, you need to support and empower – and you do that by getting them what they need as quickly as possible.


PS: If you’re a one-person operation, think of your “team” as the different roles you have to play yourself in a process. If performing one role is dependent on completing a task within a different role, you need to do that as quickly and completely as possible.


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