Do PMs who put in a lot of effort also experience low recognition?

Hello all,

For the past four years, I am employed as a PM. I started working for my current employer, about 1.5 years ago.

My job title is a Product Manager, and I lead a team of five people with a structure like, One team leader, for e.g., lets call him A, and one second to the team lead, lets call him B, 2 supervisors and 1 assistant manager.

A and B have been employees of the company for the longest period of time—roughly four years—and get along well with all CXOs and the department head. They are also fairly knowledgeable and smart.

Please tell me if I’m being petty or if A and B really are being rude and a little snobby in these situations. The team suffers from significant information asymmetry; all information from senior management only reaches A and B, and the rest of us only receive secondhand information. They will jump in at any time if we juniors are trying to lead a project and say things like, “It’s better if I set context because I know the architecture.” I initially believed it was just my inexperience, but I’m not so sure now. There are also these brainstorming sessions between product and business regarding some complex requirements, and although I occasionally try to be assertive and contribute, there is never a chance because A and B are so loud that it is impossible to interrupt them. Furthermore, they don’t seem to be thinking clearly at all; in fact, most conversations are aimless, and they would have been more fruitful if everyone had worked on it independently before talking about it and comparing notes.

I know this sounds like a rant, but my coworkers and I feel like we’ve been cornered and bullied in some way. There is unmistakable bias, favoritism, and patronizing.

I manage a lot of things and work very hard, but I don’t get the credit I deserve. Has anybody experienced something similar? Should I be more assertive, or will it be in vain?


It’s challenging to say because I don’t believe we have the whole picture.

I can see two extremes, and I’m curious where you think you fall between them.

Remember that you might not be seeing things as accurately as you think you are (although all perspectives are somewhat inaccurate).

I can imagine a situation where you work with some idiot loudmouths who dominate meetings but don’t contribute anything. They take the initiative, but they do so in a way that compromises the way projects should be managed. They then claim all the credit once you have painstakingly guided the team to success despite them slowing down the process.

Another scenario that comes to mind is where more senior colleagues are responsible for the results of multiple teams and help create the environment that will enable your teams to succeed, but you feel like it detracts from you and you are unnecessarily critical of how they go about doing things, despite the fact that they are just going about their jobs.

The questions that result from these two extremes may be helpful even though it is obviously neither of them.

How does your boss perceive their function? Are they going too far, or is this how your team should interact with them?

Is this about them causing unfavorable outcomes, or is it about you not having the chance to cause things? You should talk to your manager about how you might step up if they are doing something that, in your opinion, would be beneficial for your development.

This presupposes it’s not a part of your job description and you might have to prove yourself in order to get the chance.

Is this a case of the business ignoring you? Do you excel in your work? Do you really understand their contributions to the business well enough to say that they are not justified?

It stinks to see idiots with silver tongues receive so much praise. However, I’ve also come across individuals who are merely envious and unaware of what others do, believing that their efforts deserve more praise.

If the first scenario applies, you may want to leave. If it’s the second, you might need to gain a better understanding of their world.

Nothing is being said by me. You alone can respond to these queries, not me.

What do you think?


A lot to think about. Perhaps some of the things I wrote in my post aren’t even truly the case; they don’t indicate a problem with reasonable solutions.

Thank you for your viewpoint.


Unspoken rules of Product Management apply: When things go well, credit is shared by the whole team, but rarely given to the Product Manager; however, when things go wrong, responsibility is quickly placed at the PMs doorstep. Even though success is a team effort, the Product Manager is frequently held responsible for failure.


This. However, the majority of leadership roles. are affected with a similar issue.

“Leadership is lonely,” is a comforting and accurate quote, in my opinion. It comes as a part and parcel of the job.


Agree. Normally, you won’t accept a lot of responsibility for significant problems when you’re at a lower level. Managerial and director levels will bear the brunt.


I think the important thing is:

  • At lower levels, advancement is based on your ability to show leadership.
  • If you show good leadership and the organization reacts negatively, that is evidence that you should start looking for another job.

Leadership is lonely, and you’re absolutely right about that.

When compared to engineering, I believe that PM roles are not adequately compensated for the level of effort. Also, engineering has a faster IC and M track than PM. I understand engineering is actually building it but I still think what/why it gets built is critical to health of the business.

I am going to do analysis on compensation + level progression + new startup opportunities between product and eng over lifetime. My hypothesis is that PMs are making significantly less in lifetime than Eng.


I concur with your broader point regarding what or why something is built is crucial for the business.

While eng can concentrate on delivering as an IC, it is my responsibility as a PM to sort through the customer’s never-ending questions, concerns, and issues.

All of the time-consuming and mentally taxing steps—discussing with business stakeholders, prioritizing, gathering requirements, organizing / handling new requirements mid-project, etc.—involve talking to and handling business stakeholders.

Not to mention, I have to use my influence to persuade the engineering team to give the customer and business stakeholder concerns top priority by taking into account all of the customer’s hopes and dreams.


This isn’t correct, and bit of PMs patting themselves on the back.

When compared to UXR, UXD, and Eng, PMs receive an excessive amount of praise for good work. Accountability will frequently fall on the PM’s lap, but engineering may occasionally be at fault, and PMs can more easily throw them under the bus than vice versa.


@MariaWilson ,I’m sorry to hear that you’re experiencing these challenges in your current workplace. It can be frustrating and demotivating to feel like your contributions are not valued and that there’s a lack of fairness and transparency in the team dynamics.

Firstly, it’s essential to validate your feelings and acknowledge that these issues are real and can have a significant impact on your well-being and job satisfaction. You’re not being petty for feeling this way; it’s a valid concern.

Here are some steps you can consider taking to address the situation:

  1. Open Communication: Try to have a candid conversation with your team lead or manager (A or B) about your concerns. Express your feelings and how their actions are impacting your ability to contribute and grow within the team. It’s possible that they may not be aware of how their behavior is perceived by others.
  2. Seek Feedback: Ask for specific feedback on your performance and areas for improvement. By seeking constructive feedback, you demonstrate a willingness to grow and contribute more effectively.
  3. Document Your Contributions: Keep a record of your achievements and contributions, so you have concrete evidence to support your case when discussing your performance with your superiors. Sometimes, lack of visibility can be due to not adequately highlighting your accomplishments.
  4. Build Allies: Try to connect with other colleagues in the organization and build relationships outside of your immediate team. Having allies who can vouch for your skills and work ethic can be helpful in breaking through information barriers.
  5. Be Assertive: In meetings or brainstorming sessions, don’t hesitate to speak up and share your ideas. It might be challenging to interrupt A and B, but assertiveness is crucial in ensuring your voice is heard.
  6. Involve Higher Management: If you feel that the situation is not improving and there’s clear favoritism or bias, you might want to escalate the matter to the head of the department or HR. Ensure that you have evidence to back up your claims.
  7. Consider External Opportunities: If the situation doesn’t improve and you continue to feel undervalued, you might want to explore opportunities outside the company where your skills and contributions are recognized and rewarded.

Remember that you have the right to be treated with respect and fairness in your workplace. Sometimes, despite your efforts, the organizational culture may not be conducive to change. In such cases, it’s essential to prioritize your well-being and consider alternative options. Don’t let this experience deter you from seeking better opportunities where your skills and contributions are appreciated.


I’m not saying you need to start bragging and telling everyone how great you are, but PMs who struggle with low recognition have a marketing and PR problem. Instead, you need to demonstrate how your leadership, direction, and effort contributed to success. This is challenging because a good PM is humble and also credits their team for success, but when things go wrong, you are solely to blame.

A good leader will be noticed and rewarded, even if it doesn’t come in the form of compliments and high fives. The art of leadership is that.


What a wonderful and detailed response @NaomiNwosu.

Good point @KaranTrivedi, and although I can understand your perspective, trust me, I’ve tried it. It is practically impossible to speak louder than my team’s seniors due to the environment and culture. Not that I want to run them over, just hoping to get the opportunity and recognition I believe I merit after my deliverables and the favorable comments I got during appraisals and other forums.


One of my three aspects of being a project manager is “The first get blamed and the last to be praised.”

You seem to be dealing with a case of favoritism and narcissism. A and B enjoy making themselves heard and honking their horn.

Instead of trying to be louder than A and B, try to be helpful so they will promote your idea alongside theirs. Determine what you can do to influence them to consider you as a means of improving their appearance or feelings. Identify what feeds their egos and come up with strategies to satisfy those needs while motivating them to support and promote your ideas.

Instead of trying to make yourself into someone you’re not, make them work for you.


Thanks @Nathanendicott! You hit the nail on the head. I shall definitely try. Thanks!


I believe that this situation is complicated by a number of issues. Although I disagree with random vowel’s post, it’s worth reading if you fit that description.

  1. You don’t feel like the company is helping you grow. What is a company doing if it hires young folks but doesn’t support their development? More autonomy and accountability are what you’re requesting, but they won’t let go.
  2. Having two layers of leaders is inappropriate for a team of five. Simply put, that’s poorly organized.
  3. Without access, growth is impossible. A good PM must have access to stakeholders and information to develop market context.
  4. Stakeholder trust is essential in such a setting. What steps have you taken to foster trust?

After 1.5 years, contemplate these questions for yourself:

  • Do others feel this way as well?

  • Is this worth salvaging?

You don’t have the power to change a dysfunctional culture, so you might soon be looking for employment elsewhere. Although it’s possible, why not just start looking instead of trying to have a “this is how I’d like to be managed conversation”? Life is too short to waste away in misery.


@DhirajMehta, This. Yes.

The structure of the organization was not created unbiasedly. These top two were chosen by HOD from his previous company. You made a very strong argument regarding access.

I do believe that as a PM, the skills I develop will come from direct interaction with stakeholders as well as some leeway to influence events how I see fit and learn from my errors.

Regarding your fourth point, however,

  1. completed projects by prioritizing work over personal obligations.
  2. Quantifiable results, more items delivered;
  3. picked up products that were allegedly too difficult to deliver and
  4. performed admirably in those situations.

My particular problem is with:

  • My immediate seniors are not advocating for us enough.
  • keeping for themselves the best projects.
  • We feel like pawns who are told what to do because there is politics at the top.

You’ve hit a growth cap that’s probably not going to go away without a battle.

Other things to consider:

  • How do you present your successes?
  • How do you present your team’s successes?
  • What is your product leader doing about this culture?
  • What’s important to you?

With all that, what are you going to do about it?
Wishing you Best of Luck! :+1:

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The perception that Product Managers (PMs) get a disproportionate amount of credit for successful projects compared to other team members like User Experience Researchers (UXR), User Experience Designers (UXD), and Engineers is not uncommon. However, it’s important to remember that this perception can vary widely based on the specific dynamics of each team and organization.

The reasons behind this perception can be multifaceted:

  1. Visibility and Communication: PMs often act as the main point of contact for stakeholders and executives, which gives them more visibility into the project’s progress and outcomes. They are responsible for communicating project updates and successes to higher-ups, which may lead to them receiving more credit.
  2. Ownership and Accountability: PMs are generally seen as the owners of the product or project, and they bear the responsibility for its success or failure. Even though success is often a result of collaborative efforts, the PM is more likely to be associated with the project’s achievements.
  3. Leadership Role: PMs are expected to provide strategic direction and decision-making for the project. Their role in guiding the team and setting priorities can lead to a perception that they are driving the project’s success.
  4. Cross-functional Nature: PMs work closely with various teams, including Engineering, Design, and Research, to bring a product to life. While all team members play crucial roles, the PM is often seen as the orchestrator of these efforts.
  5. Communication Skills: PMs are typically skilled communicators, capable of conveying the project’s value and impact effectively. This can influence how others perceive their contributions.
  6. Subjective Evaluation: Evaluating individual contributions to a project’s success can be subjective. As a result, biases may come into play when attributing credit.

That said, it’s essential to recognize that successful projects are the result of strong collaboration and the collective efforts of the entire team. No single role can claim complete credit for a project’s success. The most successful teams have a culture of appreciation and recognition for all members’ contributions.

To address any feelings of inequity, it’s crucial for organizations to foster a culture that values and acknowledges contributions from all team members. This can be achieved through transparent communication, celebrating achievements collectively, and promoting a culture of recognition and appreciation.

Additionally, team members should strive to give credit where it’s due and advocate for each other’s contributions. When successes are shared and recognized collectively, it can lead to a more positive and supportive work environment for everyone involved.