PM'ing Ain't Easy

PM’ing ain’t easy.

Much of the work we do happens behind the scenes. How well we do it is often reflected in what doesn’t happen, as much as what does happen.

This past week's Cosmos network upgrade reminded me of this. Jack Zampolin skillfully led the Cosmos Validator community (of which I’m one) through a smooth, uneventful and successful upgrade 👋

It was an emergency upgrade, that happened on short notice. This added to the complexity and made the result even more impressive.

I’m sure much of the work Jack did happened behind the scenes. As PM’s our job is to abstract away complexity.

Many times this means the visible work we do follows the “tip of the iceberg” analogy. People see the focused tip of the iceberg, they don’t see the massive effort floating underneath it.

Because of this, it’s easy to dismiss the PM’s contributions. In fact, one crypto project I managed to Mainnet launch went down another common path.

That path goes something like, “Now that we accomplished our goal (and the PM made it look easier than it was) we actually could have done this WITHOUT the PM in the first place.” One of this project’s founders went as far as to say, under his breath, that all I did was “schedule meetings, anyway”.


These observations reinforce to me that PM’s provide an insurance policy of sorts. The value we provide often goes unnoticed, until something goes wrong.

Then, of course, the PM usually is the point person to take the blame 😉  We’re also held responsible to get things back on track again.

My sense is that these are some of the reasons holding back the widespread adoption of PM’s in crypto. Yet more PM’s becoming more visible at well-respected crypto projects, like Jack at Cosmos, can help reset peoples views of the value PM’s provide.

P.S. - This post was first published in my free Blockchain PM newsletter.