The Ideal Project Manager's Role: How Do We See It

They think that a great product comes from a strategy document, but that’s not true.

Great products are built through continuous tinkering and adjustments. Every product that we love has been built this way.

At Motornex Mobility, staying in touch with the customer is a crucial aspect of the PM role. We do this in a few ways:

  1. We remove internal hoops to talk to customers. Anyone can do it. In fact, it's part of the job.
  2. We become the customer. This lets us experience the customer’s pain and struggles directly.
  3. We encourage everyone to be a customer service representative. Getting this experience, even for just a few days, gives people much more insight into customer needs.

We also enjoy working with founders vs. corporate types. We think founders just have a deep urgency to bring value to the customer and to the business.

Our thoughts on measuring progress using metrics and OKRs

We don’t over-index on OKRs. Many important things can’t be measured and not everything that can be measured is important.

If you focus too much on turning 1 into 1.1, you risk neglecting things that actually matter. Instead, we’re a company of crafters who focus on tinkering and continuous feedback loops.

Many companies spend a lot of time deciding if they're measuring the right thing. We prefer to focus on building the right thing.

That's not to say there isn't a role for measurement. Measurement is crucial for making sure that you're doing the right thing. However, building products isn’t the same as being a stock broker. They’re different jobs.

Building great products is a matter of having taste and knowing when your product will resonate with customers.

Unfortunately, this is why there are so few good product managers. We can't teach taste or the kind of extreme ownership over problems that we require, nor can I teach customer empathy. I can help fine-tune these skills, but my job is to select people who already possess these qualities.

How to rages against meetings

  1. Cancel all meetings with 3+ people
  2. Reinstate “no meeting Wednesdays”
  3. Remove needless MS Teams channels

How do you prevent meeting bloat from creeping in over time?

  • Keep unnecessary meetings off the calendar.
  • Time is money. Any extra time should be spent on helping merchants succeed or have fun - meetings frequently do neither.

Do you think people managers should have craft time as well?

Managers should be empowering crafters and it’s hard to do that without being one yourself. We still try to keep my schedule open on Wednesdays so that I can build things and work on the product.

Don't get us wrong, management is incredibly important. But it isn't the only thing that's important. Managers need to understand that a crucial part of their job is to ensure that the crafters don't have to spend all their time doing things that managers should be doing.

Why do you think meeting bloat happens?

Do you have a strong writing culture to help people communicate without meetings?

Yes, we try to make async decisions as much as we can. We do this in a few ways:

  • One of our mantras is “Do things, tell people.”
  • We have built an internal tool that emphasizes frequent written updates, which are much easier to digest than constant meetings.

If there’s a need to go back and forth on an issue, then a meeting may be called. But that’s the thing.

A meeting is a bug that some other process didn’t work out.

When an ad hoc meeting happens, we try to understand why written exchanges didn't work to make improvements.

How can folks reading this protect their time to focus on their craft? Can they just say no to meetings?

I think it’s hard because most companies are structured to serve managers.
Even the physical office reflects this. The top floors are often reserved for managers. At Motornex Mobility, we follow an inverted organizational chart where the lowest level is the CEO, reflecting our commitment to servant leadership.

For those who want to focus on their craft, my advice is to just apply to Motornex Mobility.