Forming a Ring: Product Management Ring (ETHProduct)


#1

Hi all, we are announcing the Ethereum Product Management Ring (Short: ETHProduct)

Recently this past year, there as been a consistent need for better product and project management across the whole ecosystem whether it is in a internal distributed team context or an inter-team open source one.

We agreed we should begin conversations around such matters and provide an forum for meaningful discussion. Hence the creation of ETHProduct.

Topics:

  • Distributed product management
  • Open source web3 product management
  • Attitudes towards PM roles within the community
  • Organisational structures

We have had two video calls so far:

Community call #0 (Aidan, Pet3rpan)
Community call #1 (Aidan, Pet3rpan, Tim Beiko, Yalor Mewn, Chris Remus, Cem F, Chris Seifert, Greg Wong)


About the Product Management Ring category
#2

Thanks for pushing all of this forward @pet3rpan!

During the council of Prague when @cosmosys suggested creating a PM ring, I was very critical of using that as the name of the ring and I still feel that way. I really want to avoid using a term with such weight to it, I believe that the word management does not help articulate what my day to day looks like. Would love to hear what other people think of this.


#3

I wouldn’t get too caught up on the title. A product owner/leader/manager/agent is a proxy to the business/users of said system.

I believe bringing in tools such as COD formulas (cost of delay), timeboxes, and inspect & adapt ceremonies would bring greater awareness and cohesiveness amongst contributors to Ethereum


#4

I absolutely agree, but at the end of the day it all starts with the language we use.


#6

I’m feeling excited to see this ring. My gratitude for organizing it @pet3rpan :pray: I began recognizing the need for more crypto PMs in early 2017.

Here’s my first post on the topic. Knowing then what I know now, I’d change the perspective from consultant/client to developer/user.

It was really early then, perhaps a bit too early even.

Crypto’s matured to a point where execution will emerge as a key differentiator. A white paper and prototype aren’t enough any longer.

Crypto projects that execute will make a difference in our world Those that don’t, won’t. An effective PM guides that execution and increases the chances that it happens.


#7

I personally don’t care about the language used. Yet, the reality we’re dealing with is it matters to those we’re hoping to help.

There’s a strong aversion to words like “manager”, “leader” and “owner” in the decentralized and open source world. That’s why I’ve been thinking about terms like “coordinator” and “orchestrator”.


#8

@noot @cosmosys, @ricmoo, @yuetloo and I spoke about this last night after our meetup. The fact that there is such clear aversion to the terms that you mentioned means that we have to care about our language. We can say semantics don’t matter but because people care about them I will go along with it. Yet this does not actually change our actions even if we call ourselves coordinators. I have never managed one of our projects, I have worked with people to make sure they are able to manage themselves. Human beings are perfectly capable of self organization, we just need to make sure that entrenched systems, processes and language does not stop them from being able to achieve their defined goals. That is why I think this ring should be more focused on studying development cycles as I voiced at the council of Prague when @cosmosys organized the ring. However if I am the only one that feels this way, I am not looking to cause any trouble. Just reflecting on lessons learned during my brief stint in university about how important semiotics are within the context of communication.


#9

Who are Product Manager and what kind of product do they manage?
How are you going to fulfill their decisions in decentralized community?


#10

Sorry, can you elaborate on your question here, I am not sure by what you are trying to ask.

While I agree that on a practical note, it doesn’t matter. However with Aidan’s point on language, I definitely agree that language matters a lot, especially with dealing with all sorts of backgrounds, esp. with those who may not understand the role of product managers and don’t understand how PMs don’t really ‘manage’ people. (well product managers do and they don’t in MANY ways.)

But on the other hand, I personally think people need to be managed/guided and a lot of people also WANT to be managed/guided (if you have experienced great management, you know what I am talking about ~ great product leadership makes the whole team happy and productive - and most importantly WIN together as a team) We shouldn’t shy away from calling it product management just because there are aversions to not wanting to feel to be ‘managed’. (In many cases, my hypothesis is that these aversions are the result of extremely poor management and sometimes complete lack of product management in some cases). But yes, happy to put this aside for the great good so we can share more of the PM love. :wink: I think such aversions can be remedied and also part of our effort to improve the coordination of various teams in the space (which potentially starts with the conversation of “So… What is product management? What is it not?” my guess is that many are not aware, PMship can be arcane at times).

For those reasons, I can see both sides to why we should keep and also change the name. I lean towards keeping the name but I also agree that a different name could provide significant social advantages. Happy to keep the name but also happy to align with a new one if there is rough consensus.


#11

Will you manage independent teams in ethereum space?
How will you do it if they do not like to be managed?
I don’t see how it could work in our anarchistic space…

Unsure if it is true in our space by itself. I see our community as quite leadership resistant :slight_smile:


#12

It is this lack of clear distinction of what a PM does that creates barriers when trying to coordinate development cycles IMO. We have the opportunity to take the lessons learned from principles, frameworks and processes of the traditional PM role and define it more accurately for web3.0. Let’s take this as a positive opportunity to do things better and never create an image of management!

I agree with @Ethernian, some people may want principles, frameworks and or processes but if there is a need for management in the development cycle than IMO our principles, frameworks and or processes are not good enough.


#13

Yes. Great point. We should be cautious with management patterns.

If we take it seriously, we could find people who is able manage communities and then create “guidelined and best practices” based on their experience. Leadership is not easy to formalize, but I don’t know another way to go.


#14

+1 Agreed, we can make it much better :slight_smile:

Leadership isn’t about just one individual in a team. It is about everyone! This comment maybe be from my own experience with other engineers and my own preference back when I was a designer. I really enjoy great product management - allowed me to focus on what I am good at. I believe our definitions of management differ! But happy to agree that we disagree :wink: But nonetheless, I do see where you are coming from and agree your comment on the the anarchistic sentiment of the community.

+1 Bingo :mage: I guess this is where the magicians and our group comes in. I really want to drive more conversation on how we can better coordinate and conduct product management in this space. First step is sharing and learning from each other


#15

Hey y’all! I’m a product manager at Status and would love to join and talk product. Kudos for bringing us all together.


#16

Hey sent you a message! more deets there


#17

Hola, I’d like to join in on this one. Have you a cal link?


#18

hey! just PM me your telegram handle :slight_smile:


#19

Hey, I just caught up on all this - super exciting and I’d like to join as well.
Thanks a lot for pushing it @pet3rpan!

Interviews on product management in the web3 open source ecosystem is super insightful. I’m happy to provide some info on how we work at Gnosis.


#20

Threw you a message on telegram. Cheers!


#21

Hey just reading up on the thread and this is very exciting. I’ve been working on project management with the Whiteblock team and am actively learning more day by day. Would love to be involved in the discussion. Thanks for organizing @pet3rpan