4 Things That Real World Product Managers Do

What do product managers really spend their time doing? We like to talk about all of the things that tthey should be spending their time doing – boldly defining new products and clearly laying out markets to go after. However, the day-to-day reality of being a product manager can be quite different. The folks over at Pragmatic Marketing have just released their annual survey and it contains some interesting points…

Roadmaps

If ever there was a part of a product that a product manager should own, the roadmap is it. Just to make sure that we’re all on the same page here, a product roadmap lays out the changes and enhancements that are planned for your product in the future. You get to define the future: is it just this month, this year, or do you go out for 5 years?

Although we should own the product’s roadmap, this is not always an easy thing to do. Development teams have been known to want to play a big role in saying what shows up in the product and when it shows up.

The reason that this is the wrong way to handle things is that for your product to be successful, it really needs to be your customers who are defining in what order (and when) features are introduced. Who owns the roadmap can be the source of many battles within the firm.

Requirements

When people ask me what skills a product manager needs to have, at the top of my list is the ability to communicate clearly. Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to product requirements.

You own the requirements for your products. Normally, the creation of product requirements is not something that people fight over. I mean, who really wants to do all of that writing?

The key skill that you need to have is the ability to both clearly and succinctly express what the product needs to be able to do. This has to be done for multiple simultaneous audiences: the sales teams need to be able to read it and understand what’s coming and the development teams need to be able to read it and understand what they need to do.

Market Problems

In a world without problems, there probably wouldn’t be much of a need for product managers. Thankfully there are a lot of problems out there! I’m not sure if “problems” is really the right word to use here, I think that “changes” might be closer to the mark…

When we create and launch a product, we do so in a market that has certain characteristics: we know who our customers are and we know who we are competing against. From that moment on everything changes.

As things change, it is your responsibility to change with it. We need to adapt our products, our marketing message, and perhaps even our pricing to deal with the new realities as they show up.

Positioning

What does your product do? Who does it do it for it? Why should your customers choose your product over somebody else’s? These are all great questions and if you don’t have a solid answer for each of them, things are not looking good for your product.

Knowing how you want people to view your product against all of their other options is a key point that product managers have to take care of. This higher level ability to “see” your product as the market does is very important.

Since we are dealing with an ever changing market, your product positioning will always be changing also. This means that as a product manager you need to always be “looking” at your product and making marketing adjustments to it.

What All Of This Means For You

It’s not easy being a product manager. There is no such thing as a product that just “runs on auto pilot”. Instead, every day we need to be making adjustments to both our products and how we market them in order to ensure that they will be successful.

A recent survey shows that product managers spend a lot of their time working on four main tasks. These tasks are: creating roadmaps, defining requirements, dealing with market “problems”, and ensuring that their products are properly positioned.

If we can master these activities, then we’ll have the core of what it means to be a great product manager taken care of. That being said, it’s not easy being a product manager; however, at least now you know what’s required!

Why an Integrated Workplace Safety and Wellness Program Is Best

Employees are a business’s most valuable asset and keeping them safe and healthy should be a priority for any company. Many businesses have a workplace safety program and a wellness program, but the two programs operate independently of one another – but should they? There are some compelling reasons to integrate the two so that employees can benefit from a more global, holistic approach to staying safe and healthy on the job.

To adequately address health and safety issues, companies need to look not only at whether an employee is performing their job safely but whether they’re healthy and fit enough to do their job without a high risk of injury. Issues like obesity, poor physical fitness and inadequate nutrition make it harder for employees to carry out certain tasks in the workplace.

The link between health and safety

According to research published in the American Journal of Public Health, people who are obese are at higher risk for occupational health issues and injuries. When obese staff are exposed to chemicals on the job, they’re at higher risk for occupational asthma and heart and lung issues compared to a non-obese person. They’re also at greater risk for ergonomic issues and bio-mechanical problems including carpal tunnel syndrome. If companies focus on workplace safety without addressing the obesity issue, the bigger problem remains. A unified approach that integrates occupational safety measures with wellness initiatives that emphasize good nutrition and weight control provides a more effective solution to the problem.

There’s also the issue of back injuries. Back injuries are one of the most common workplace safety issues, and people who are overweight and physically unfit are at higher risk for injuring their back on the job. Most back injuries occur as a result of lifting objects at work and ergonomic issues. Although it’s not possible to prevent all work-related back problems, integrating wellness with safety by emphasizing regular exercise to strengthen muscles in the lower back can reduce back injuries. Integrating workplace safety and wellness offers a more well-rounded approach to preventing back injuries.

What part does wellness play in safety? Wellness programs that focus on stress reduction, smoking cessation and alcohol and drug-related issues are also important for workplace safety. According to a study published in a Canadian publication called The Daily, smokers are at greater risk for being injured at work compared to non-smokers. Among women, the risk was nearly double. Stress does more than just affect employees psychologically – it increases their risk of being injured on the job. Employees who are under stress at home or at work are distracted and less able to focus on doing their job safely. Integrating stress management into a workplace safety program can help reduce the number of injuries and motivate employees to be more productive. Nutrition is another factor that a workplace safety and wellness program should address. Employees who start their day with only a cup of coffee are more prone to blood sugar drops that can lead to workplace injuries. Good nutrition is an integral part of any safety program.

There’s another benefit of merging wellness and workplace safety. Employees are less likely to participate in programs that address workplace hazards than they are wellness programs that focus on personal benefits. Integrating the two makes it more likely that employees will take part.

The bottom line

Combining workplace safety with wellness has a number of benefits for both employees and employers. Most importantly, it helps to create a safer, healthier and more productive workplace – and that’s something every company should strive for.

The Importance of Workplace Safety Posters

Workplace safety posters play an important role in effective safety communications, safety precautions and safety warnings to workers. It is one kind of safety communication. Their applications in chemical industries are very common where various potential hazards present.

Safety regulations and legal require the use of workplace safety posters. Generally, these posters have to be placed in workplaces where hazards exist. They warn workers about specific hazards that accompany their jobs and naturally appear in such workplaces.

Government or Department of Labor in each country has may already established the required workplace safety posters. And in some cases, the government has prepared these printed posters that can be used directly.

When the safety regulation requires such posters application, there will be certain penalties or fines for violations. In general, the employers will be fined when workers get injured due to lack of safety posters as required by the regulations.

Some employers may think that these posters for workplace are only devoted for the workers or employees. But, actually they are wrong. These posters are purposed to protect both workers and employers.

Employers would not responsible for any incident happen in the workplace if they have applied the required posters. As an example is the usage of eye goggle. When the employers have displayed the poster of eye goggle according to the regulation, then when worker or employee gets injured by chemical splash without using eye goggle, the employer does not responsible. The reverse condition is also applied.

However, before displaying any safety posters in the workplaces, always bear in mind that these posters should be relevant, clear and to the point. Use only common words and communicative images or pictures to get workers’ attention.