Are you a Puppet Owner?

Product Management Feb 3, 2022

Who is pulling the strings?

“It’s time you realized that you have something in you more powerful and miraculous than the things that affect you and make you dance like a puppet.”
– Marcus Aurelius.

Product Management isn’t for everyone.

There are two harsh truths you will face at some point working as a PM/PO:
1. You need to feel comfortable working in a state of permanent displeasure, in the sense you are not giving all stakeholders what they want.
2. Even if you give stakeholders what they want, it usually turns out to not be precisely what they want or not as soon as they wanted it.

Long story short: you will never make everyone happy. And when they’re not happy, you will have to bear the grunt of their emotions. And that often sucks.

This is why stoicism is important as a Product Manager or Product Owner.

You must learn to not get carried away too much by the feelings of others, and especially not your own feelings. As your own feelings can carry you away the most from what really matters.

Don’t. Let it slide. Control your strings, do not become a puppet when others pull your strings.

You can’t control the ebb and tide of stakeholder demands, but you can decide how you respond to it.

When it’s difficult to control your own emotions, it becomes difficult to influence others, and then you will have to control your own emotions even more. And then it becomes inevitable you’re dancing as a Puppet Owner building mediocre products.

Keep your own feelings in check and practice stoicism to not be distracted from what truly matters in the product.