What traits of a poor product manager can you think of?

What are the key attributes and behaviors that can be observed in a product manager who performs poorly in their role?


I think, a telltale sign of a bad product manager is their inability to effectively communicate and collaborate with cross-functional teams. They may struggle to articulate the product vision, goals, and requirements, leading to confusion and misalignment among team members. Additionally, they may lack the ability to prioritize tasks and make informed decisions, resulting in delays, missed deadlines, and a lack of progress in product development.


Some of the traits I can think of are:

  • No vision.
  • No roadmap.
  • No emotional intelligence.
  • No business acumen.
  • No ability to say no.
  • No confidence to present.
  • No talking to customers.
  • No understanding of process to remove blockers and improve efficiency.
  • No collaboration.
  • No ability to execute.
  • No writing skills.
  • No basic frameworks.
  • No time management.

Taking at face value the subjective judgments of others about what constitutes a poor PM and bending their own emotional state in the process of listening to them.


Not very bad; just a pet peeve and probably done with the best of intentions, but making sure to invite all the engineers to every meeting so that nothing gets built ever.


What I like to do is add the principal Engineers, leads, and Engineers who will most probably take up development of that feature, in the “To” section.

And add the team’s DL in the CC.

Makes the full team aware and anyone interested can join. But others feel free to reject.

Is this approach fine? Any feedback?


That is not effective in my opinion because everyone will join even if they are not required to or needed. Engineers waste a lot of time in pointless meetings, which usually works against me as the product manager because I would prefer that they complete their work.


I see a lot of responses with some relevance and a lot of responses with no logic.

After six months of red hat consultants working with our PM team, here are my two cents:

The PM role is often so vaguely defined in Orgs that few people can perform it well.

I believe that some of these people are in companies with poorly defined PM positions based on some of their responses.

Take this information with a grain of salt, however, as I find it incredibly difficult to define a job well done by a PM other than to say that the client or customer is happy.

  • obsession with scrum/agile best practices (or any process really)
  • talks about “alignment” often
  • gets blocked easily
  • refers to colleagues as “my designer” or “my engineer”
  • struggles to solve user problems

I would disagree with 4, that’s more of a personal preference. I refer to people on my team as “my” and they refer to me as their product manager. “My PM is saying, etc.”. I’m actually not sure how else people on my team would refer to me as.


Yes, I do use that phrase along with the royal we, particularly when something goes wrong and I don’t want someone to take the blame. When possible, I accept responsibility, but occasionally it’s clear that I wasn’t to blame, so being ambiguous is preferable. With the exception of praising effort, where I always mention a name, I try not to be too specific. It’s a matter of protection.


I use ‘our PM’, ‘our back end engineer’, ‘our team’s designer(s)’…

You sound a lot less individual and possessive… and I’d say truer to cross-functional spirit of everyone’s brains and hands supporting each other to get to the outcomes you want.

‘My’ is just a bit slavey.


I’ve found that those who advocate “taking the time to get alignment” are often the ones who drag out decisions over multiple weeks of meetings while waiting for pointless advice from others.

instead of having their suggested approach in mind when deciding how to arrange and present tradeoffs. Give people a chance to see you and the chance to suggest things, but don’t sit around waiting for someone else to do your job.


To make sure the solution achieves the intended goals, I believe it is crucial to invest the time—which really doesn’t take much—in making sure developers and engineers understand why we are doing something.

If decisions regarding alignment are taking weeks, I believe there are some additional factors at work.


I meant greater coordination between teams such as sales, marketing, education, etc.

And I completely agree. Alignment is not necessarily bad. It can be problematic when people justify their doubts about decisions by citing “alignment.”


Lack of proper vision. A poor product manager frequently fails to present a compelling and clear vision for the product.

They may not have a clear direction, have trouble communicating their objectives, or frequently change their priorities, leaving the team disoriented and lacking in cohesion.

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I’m not a PM, but my team has a Senior project manager (SPM), which is the textbook definition of what you said.

The SPM calls my team’s PM (her report) out for being “negative” and asserts that “we just need to do what leadership says” whenever she tries to explain the product’s vision. The SPM reports the PM to HR for “having a negative attitude” if she objects to prioritization.