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Well, that does a fine job of saying waht you wouldn't say ... but what would you say? Shepherd -- leading by creating a dependency relationship and standing the silly things up when they fall over? Quarterback -- taking direction from the coach (CEO) and coordinating execution (as well as taking some really big hits?)? Conductor -- making all the players play in harmony, and being responsible for the bum notes? ... I suspect the problem is that it's hard to agree an analog because a) there isn't one, it's a unique position and b) there is insufficent consensus as to what the role really involves.
I know there are tremendously professional schools of thought (I'm a Pragmatic fan) as to how the Product Management and Marketing functions should work, but 'm not sure that Senior Management really buys in ...

This conversation reminds of comic book creators and the difficulty they have getting the general public to understand what they do. Some people are surprised that comics have writers. Others don't get what inkers do (the ol', "So you're a tracer?" argument). Brian Michael Bendis was once asked if he had created Spider-Man...

I've often fallen back onto "adult supervision" and parental analogies. These don't satisfy the need to assign titles externally (what do we call ourselves) but is helpful IMO internally as we consider PM role and challenges:
[1] how can we help shape behavior, since we're not always there to supervise? [2] how do we think long-term when everyone else is ADHD? [3] can we remember that products (and organizations and companies) succeed because of us/in spite of us, and we can't claim credit for much of what happens?
http://bit.ly/XUYiZ -Rich MIronov

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  • Tom Grant is a senior analyst at Forrester Research. You can e-mail him at tgrant@forrester.com, or reach him via Twitter at TomGrantForr. All opinions expressed here are my own, and not necessarily those of my employer, Forrester Research.

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