Project Management

Delegation for Product Leaders

Rich is the CEO of Mironov Consulting. He coaches product executives, product management teams and revenue-focused agile development organizations.

A topic that’s come up several times recently in my product leader coaching sessions: how much to delegate to the (individual contributor) product managers on our teams, including different ways of building product skills and balancing personal empowerment against good results. Said another way, if you’re running a team of 4 or 11 or 23 product managers, you have a lot to do that’s different from their direct work, so you’ll need to delegate decision-making as well as execution. That means planning some nuanced mentoring. Let’s unpack…

What’s Our Goal for Delegation?

Different execs have different POVs, so I should share my bias. My stated goal as a product leader is to delegate as much direct product management work as possible to my team, both operational and strategic, so that I can do the organizational and process work to make my overall team more successful. If my essential tasks are hiring, mentoring, aligning strategies, building cross-functional collaboration, driving sensible Objective and Key Results (OKRs)/goals, lobbying the executive team for more development-side talent, and preempting the next enterprise sales escalation then I can’t also be second-guessing each of my folks or doing their work for them. We need to build up enough trust and skills and hands-on experience that I shift from “doing” to “showing” to “critiquing” to “inspecting when appropriate

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