When you get dressed today, don’t for­get to put on your hat. You know, the one you wear at the office. Which one, you ask? That’s what I wanted to hear. Good man­agers usu­ally wear sev­eral. In the­ory, it’s why you’re a man­ager. You can do many things bet­ter than most peo­ple in your organization.

Each hat, how­ever, comes with respon­si­bil­i­ties and over­sight, some of which isn’t directly under your juris­dic­tion, yet must be attended to in order to do your job well. If you begin to think like a gen­eral man­ager, embrac­ing a broader view, you’ll find that wear­ing many hats, inter­change­ably, and even con­cur­rently, will become eas­ier. Addi­tion­ally, the per­spec­tive will help you to deliver improved prod­ucts with a greater chance for suc­cess and earn you lead­er­ship sta­tus beyond your cur­rent position.

A few years ago, when I was work­ing on mar­ket­ing for a Web ana­lyt­ics prod­uct, we dis­cov­ered there was no bid man­age­ment prod­uct avail­able to help us with our own bid process. With this new par­a­digm, we cre­ated what we needed and brought a bid man­age­ment prod­uct to mar­ket. If we had been wear­ing blind­ers cre­ated by our defined roles we might not have found that suc­cess­ful solution.

Think­ing in a “Big Pic­ture” for­mat, whether you’re a prod­uct man­ager or mar­ket­ing man­ager, just makes sense. As ref­er­enced in my pre­vi­ous two blogs, a hum­ble but pow­er­ful lit­tle book titled 42 Rules of Prod­uct Man­age­ment deliv­ered this wis­dom dur­ing my tran­si­tion at Adobe from dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing man­ager to prod­uct man­age­ment. Sim­ple, doable, and log­i­cal, here are the things to con­sider in your own per­sonal choice of headwear.

1)   Mar­ket Dynam­ics: What impact do you want your prod­uct to have in the mar­ket? Does that sync with the expected impact as things stand? Is that mar­ket in a growth stage, or is it dimin­ish­ing? Is it a new mar­ket or an estab­lished one? What is your best guess for the com­ing year(s) regard­ing a change in that sta­tus? Such con­sid­er­a­tions can shed light on cur­rent prod­uct man­age­ment plans and mar­ket­ing strate­gies, help­ing to stream­line and fine tune results.

2)   Your Cus­tomer: Define who will buy your prod­uct; then define who will buy your competitor’s prod­uct. Find out why cus­tomers choose you, and then find out why they don’t. Do you want to cap­ture that mar­ket? Then get down to busi­ness and fig­ure out how to get it.

3)   Your Busi­ness Model: Con­sider your cur­rent projects and under­stand what each prod­uct or ser­vice pro­vides the cus­tomer in terms of value or sat­is­fac­tion. Will this prod­uct or ser­vice be prof­itable? Why, and more impor­tantly, how?

4)   Your Price Point and Your Product’s Value: Is your prod­uct or ser­vice worth the price? And, if it is a new offer­ing, is there a pos­si­bil­ity of shift­ing rev­enue from exist­ing prod­ucts or ser­vices to this new kid on the block? Is that accept­able? Is that avoidable?

5)   Prod­uct Life Cycle: Does your prod­uct have a nat­ural life cycle? Prod­ucts or ser­vices become obso­lete either due to mar­ket demand or sim­ple deple­tion.  Plan for inflec­tion points from indus­try and tech­nol­ogy, and con­sider how to grace­fully exit a mar­ket before becom­ing obsolete.

Over­all, con­sider how to deliver a great cus­tomer expe­ri­ence on all touch­points. Does your prod­uct or ser­vice ful­fill its promise, and more impor­tantly, is your orga­ni­za­tion set up to deliver? Make sure that if you build it, peo­ple will not only come, but will hang out a while and enjoy the purchase.