Micah Dickerson is a Senior Product Manager on the AutoCAD team with responsibility for AutoCAD for Mac, as well as several key areas of core AutoCAD. He’s been working in the software world for more than 15 years, and has a background in architecture, web technologies, market research, and visual design. He has spent time in the startup trenches, as well as in large well-established organizations.

Show Notes: 

5:12: Shares his career journey.

7:22: How he handles a remotely located team? How does he compensate for lack of face time?

13:00 Shares early challenges he faced managing the team.

14:00 How should a PM who joins an existing product team grow in influence?

19:00 How does he get early validation of his designs from customers?

24:00 How does he drive new behaviors for reluctant users who are not happy with the new behaviors?

30:00 On PM-PO relationship in team.

38:00 How does he manage upwards especially the executive team? How does he influence the higher-ups, taking their buy ins for the product direction, handling disagreements etc?

42:00 Do you believe that it’s high team product management should have their own tools?

47:00 Where does you draw your inner motivation from? What do you do to stay sharp in your craft of product management?

55:00 What according to you are a few key skills that you think are important to have  for product managers?

Quotes:

  • “Influence comes from knowing what you are talking about. That can be appreciated from any distance.”
  • “The more you know, the better you are”
  • “Earning the respect of smart people takes more effort.”
  • “I let the leaders of various functional roles be experts because thats what they are”
  • “I ask for their opinions and I value their opinions”
  • “A week of in-person time is worth three months of phone calls”
  • “We always use video whenever possible”
  • “When you are new and joining an established team you have to know what you are bringing to the table”
  • “Focus on how to talk customers and bring that information back from customers”
  • “Let people be experts”
  • “The key to dealing with the folks above you is to make sure you know what is important to them”