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Paul McAvinchey
Co-founder of Product Collective
Asked a question last year

What if leadership at the company doesn’t understand what Product Management really is?

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Danie Karaplis
Product Leader | Treasurer, getWITit Cleveland Chapter

Education, education, education.  Use articles, books, podcasts, and whatever resources you can find to share information.  I have done full-on PowerPoint presentations explaining the value of product management to an organization.  I really like Inspired, by Marty Cagan as a baseline for what product management is as a whole and why it's important. 

Ant Murphy
Product Coach and Consultant | Occasional Cat Herder 🐈

As @Danie Karaplis 86 said education is the best medicine here.

This often falls on product leaders shoulders more so than anyone as they are these people's peers. As well as anything that impedes a product team's ability to build great products becomes their responsibility to solve.

But for any PM in the org, you can look for any opportunity to turn something into a learning opp. i.e. add an explanation as to why we're focusing on outcomes over output before talking about product metrics - or adding into a conversation with a stakeholder some of the value we've managed to get from doing discovery. Anything that adds to what you are doing and the value it brings.

On a more formal level you could consider:

  • Establish a PM competency framework in your org. This is a great tool not just you as a PM in a company to know what is expected of you but also what you need to do to be promoted. But it also can be a powerful tool if made transparent to the rest of the org as to what the role of a PM is and the value it brings - heres a good example of one82.
  • If you have enough PMs in your org, consider starting an internal PM community of practice. This is a great way to create alignment on what PMs do in your org, share knowledge but also become a go-to point for anyone (including leaders) looking to learn more about the role of a PM. 
  • Or perhaps even creating a value prop statement or mission statement for the role in your org? Or build out a team or role canvas155 as a PM practice and share it with the rest of the org.

But at the end of the day the best thing you can really do is spend a lot of time talking about it. 

Coming back to what I said at the beginning, a lot of this really falls on product leaders' shoulders. I'd be expecting them to be doing 2 or even all 3 of my suggestions above. In addition, I'd be looking to them to be coaching the org, their peers and evangelizing what product management means in your company. Ultimately ensuring that there is a clear and common understanding of what Product Management is across the org is their responsibility.