pm@olin: Most Likely to Succeed (Class 10)

Product Management Class 10 was originally intended to be a recap of everything we covered before our capstone next week, as well as some “special topics” to delve deeper into a few areas.

A few hours before class started, a student forwarded me an email with the text “ :( “ added. Olin was having a screening of the documentary, “Most Likely to Succeed” specifically for the students.

The documentary is about the current state and future of education in our country, and specifically followed High Tech High in San Diego. Following the film, Richard Miller (Olin’s President) and Tony Wager (Harvard Innovation Fellow) were going to take questions.

This is why Olin is a special place. The President of the college stayed at work until 9pm, on a Wednesday, to talk to students about the future of education. If I’d been a student rather than the teacher, I would’ve skipped class, no questions. You go to Olin for those opportunities.

So, I sent an email to my class with a poll about what we should do. There was a wide consensus that we should go to the film, and tie the other content into next week’s class. So that’s what we did and will do.

The film wasn’t directly related to be PM at all.

That said, I think it still make sense. A lot of being a PM is rolling with what doesn’t cost very much, and helps make the team happy. You don’t always get the most done by optimizing.

For me this week, it was letting the class take a one-time opportunity to see a film.

For a PM, It’s figuring out how to find a little extra time for the easter egg. It’s doing the extra work to get a cool side project into the product. It’s helping someone else learn a new skill. It’s the thank you cards or the day off after shipping.