Product Management Pitfalls

The first activity we did as a class was the paper puppet project. This was done as a fun way to introduce us to Project Management. The main point was to show the class how a basic supply chain worked and how to identify a bottleneck. Additionally, as a class, we learned the importance of product quality and communication. We also touched on the idea of crashing when talking about the complexity of the second task. Throughout this demonstration I kept thinking about how it was similar to a project I worked on this summer.

I started an internship a few weeks after school ended at a mobile second hand ticket broker called Ticket Scalpr (which is like a mobile stubhub).  My six coworkers and I were tasked with creating stadium guides for all the NFL and NCAAF Big Conference teams, 120 in total. Each guide included a few paragraphs of stadium history, fan pictures, videos, restaurants, and a top ten best features list for each stadium. The end result would be a website new where visiting fans could find enough information about the venue to enjoy each game like a local.  Even though team member had their assigned stadiums, communication was key. When one of us found a good source of information or pictures, it would get shared so that everyone start adding content as quickly as possible, working together to knock out the bottleneck task of finding pictures and video as quickly as possible.  We also talked about quality.  With no real quality control until a final review; we had to judge for ourselves what to use.

The project manager used many of the concepts we learned about in class. He would often ask us how long we thought it would take each one of us to complete a task so he could estimate the earliest completion time. Once the project manager identified our bottleneck he took it upon himself to crash the project for us.  He shortened the project duration by a few weeks through outsourcing the gathering of pictures and video to another contractor.  We liked this because finding the pictures and video was one of the more tedious factors of developing the guides.  Overall the project took much longer than anticipated based on the quality they wished to present on the website.  Thus, the initial goal of moving on to social media by mid July was missed, we finished all the stadium guides by the end of summer with a high degree of quality.

Right now the website has yet to launch.  I’m not sure what else needs to be added or changed to get everything ready to go, but the project has already taken longer to complete than anticipated.   The only change I could really see to make this project go smoother would be to add manpower and possibly create a information sharing library to enable the reuse of content.


What else would you recommend to management to speed up the project?

3 thoughts on “Product Management Pitfalls

  1. The sharing of photos and videos is a great example of how teamwork can speed up the elimination of a bottleneck. In the paper puppet project had the other workers been able to help worker two, the whole project could have been done much sooner. For a project manager, this shows how important it is to hire people who are passionate about the completion of project. A worker who is their to just do their job and not optimize the project will not seek out bottlenecks and help other when they can. It is the opposite way for some who really wants to see the project go the best it can. This is a great lesson to be learned from your work and our class project.

  2. This was a great post! Not being in this profession limits my advice, but maybe management is waiting for a signal before actually launching the site? I feel that you and your team members all did a lot of work, and it must have been good. So management’s delay must either be because they feel that the time is not right, or maybe because they changed their mind.

  3. Great Post! I appreciate you bringing up the fact that your team missed the deadline just by a little which is not something unusual. Actually, like mentioned in class, it happens quite often; however, it does present an issue for the company and should be communicated as early as possible. Handling your expectations can become overwhelming that’s why it’s essential to let higher ups know of the problem early so there is less tension for you later on.

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