Umbrellas

Eleanor has written this really great post on the problem with being a ‘shit umbrella’. There is a lot in there I recognise from an earlier version of myself – I definitely went through a stage of being both paternalistic and a bit of a martyr (though I did have my own umbrella!) but with some distance and more experience I came to see the error of my approach (not until after I’d burned out!). I didn’t lose faith in the idea of being a shit umbrella though. My understanding of it just evolved.

As I said in a tweet last night I think the thing about an umbrella is it keeps the rain off you for the most part but you still know it is raining and you do get a little wet…that is the goal – stop the team getting drowned but never hide the fact that it is pissing down.

Good, empowered teams should all have a responsibility for watching out for changes in the weather – it effects what can be achieved and things like a shift in strategic priorities, a changing risk appetite or simply new leadership in an organisation can have a real impact in the trenches. That said I do think it is the responsibility of the Product Manager to act as the meteorologist – watching, analysing and communicating what to expect – giving the team enough notice to get under the umbrella when the shit starts falling!

For better or worse that is what ‘be the shit umbrella’ means to me. YMMV.

be-the-umbrella

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