What are some traits of a bad PM?

As the title says, what are some examples, and attributes of a product manager that’s bad at their job?

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I’ve found the following really frustrating.

From personal experience.

-Assumes they know best

I’ve had PMs come to me with their ideas, I’ve pointed out the flaws, given them the figures to back up my findings, but because I’m the PO and they are the PM, they have ignored the feedback and then act shocked when it went wrong.

-Doesn’t take accountability

When things do go wrong, I’ve seen PMs shift the blame to development, to QA, to Sales, etc etc. But if the feedback from all those teams is that Product were the failing due to any number of reasons, they don’t want to hear it.

-Is solution driven, not requirement driven

This is a slightly more subtle one but a trap regardless. PMs have spotted issues and immediately gotten right to “Well you need to do this to solve it”. Development will say “Oh it would be better to do X, instead of this”, but the response will be “Make it work”. Instead, requirements should be brought to development and they should create the solution.

Effectively, bad PMs are those that attempt to “be the boss” and “take control”, whilst the best PMs I’ve worked with have been very much about using their knowledge to work with other departments to arrive at the best solution, not to dictate.

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  • Being focused on output over outcomes
  • Being focused on delivery over discovery
  • Being focused on vanity metrics
  • Not forming a product team
  • Solving all problems by building more features
  • Not knowing jack shit about building software (mba types)
  • Not realizing that almost all innovation comes from engineers and designers
  • Demanding that things are requirements that aren’t
  • Making roadmaps, focusing on roadmaps, thinking that roadmaps have any value at all even slightly, worst of all, thinking that your primary job is to “set the roadmap”
  • Ignoring product marketing, legal, support, security, customer success, operations, etc.

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