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Every Product Manager deals with coming into a new job and not knowing all the information. Whether you are new to the industry, new to the product or just new in your career, it’s difficult to be the go-to person for all things product related when you don’t know all the information yourself.

That’s why I really like the idea of creating a Product Manager’s Playbook. A PMPB is a document that summarizes the most important aspects of the product and serves as a high-level overview of all things necessary to know for a Product Manager to be successful.

It should start with some basic information such as what value the product brings, who your target customers are, what the industry looks like and even a strategic roadmap. You’ll find my working list of suggestions below, although there are others who have different suggestions.

I like to think of a PMPB as the CliffsNotes version of the job rather than an actual playbook that’s referenced all the time. The reason for that is that first, there’s no way you’re going to cover everything (you do have an actual job to do) and second, there’s a good chance that, depending upon your industry, by the time you complete this playbook, some of the information will already be out of date. That’s OK though because the PMPB is really an exercise in education. The process of collecting or defining the items you want to add to your playbook will help you learn your product, learn your customers’ needs and learn your industry.

Here’s my list of what I’m adding to my PMPB:

  • 3 Year Roadmap and Historical Product Roadmap
  • Product Sheets/Value Description/Sales Collateral
  • Pricing Information
  • User and Buyer Personas
  • Competitive Information (Battlecards)
  • Industry Analyst Information
  • Key Client Information
  • Implementation Process Description/Flow
  • Technical Architecture (or Marketecture)
  • Launch Process/Checklist
  • Financial Plan

Credit: I first heard about creating a Product Manager’s Playbook from Steve Johnson 

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Pete Dudchenko

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