Posts Taged efficiency

Smart Meetings – As Product Managers, how do you run your meetings with swag?

Smart Meetings

Fortunately (or unfortunately) I’ve been to a lot of business meetings over the past 10+ years. These include (and not limited to) customer meetings, product launch meetings, road map meetings, train-the-trainer sessions, knowledge transfer sessions, pricing meetings, sales, marketing, and customer service. The list can go on but you get the drift – it’s a lot of meetings. Many of these meetings have ranged from outright boring to full-on comedy to downright hostile – essentially, the entire gamut.

I have concluded that as a Product Manager, the expertise to handle meetings and take notes is de rigueur. And yet, we all struggle to master this basic skill. The idea is to be fast (and not so furious) with meetings and write clear, concise and actionable meeting minutes with tangible outcomes.

In this article, I have tried to put together a few things that I have learnt and practice myself to beat the deluge of meetings.

Ground Rules:

  • Be on time
  • Set the agenda and allocate time for each item
  • Present your points clearly and pay attention to everyone’s points
  • Don’t shy away from asking questions
  • If still not sure, repeat your understanding or question
  • If things go off-track, politely ask people to take that topic offline and shepherd everyone to the agenda items.

Cheat Sheet for clean, actionable Meeting Minutes:

Keep the following in mind before sending meeting minutes:

Let’s now see a sample:

Meeting Date: 11/12/2017 14:00

Location: Skype – Conference ID: 9478230  PIN: 5345

Title: Bi-weekly Product Review – Product Management (8am RR / 2pm Ireland / 6:30pm India) – 11/12/2017

Hi Folks,

The meeting notes and links are below. Please let me know of any questions or concerns.




  •   Participant 1 (Meeting Organizer)
  •   Participant 2
  •   Participant 3
  •   Participant 4
  •   Participant 5
  •   Participant 6
  •   Participant 7


  • We all met and reviewed the 2.01 release deliverables
  • Development has been completed and regression testing is WIP
  • No risks have been identified at this point


  • The Sprint Tracker dashboard is here
  • The feature heat map deck is here

Next steps:

  • Ashok to communicate the release date to the on-boarding team by 10/Jan/2018
  • Mahuya to finish the demo setup by 15/Jan/2018
  • We regroup in 2 weeks to go through and discuss the product demo planned by Pamela

Summing it up:

  • Send out the agenda in advance
  • Be prepared for the meeting and mind the time
  • Be attentive and take notes, don’t be apologetic to ask questions or direct people to the agenda when you see it going off-track
  • Take notes (yes, again), proofread and distribute to the participants
  • Most important tip – Don’t forget to follow up. This helps in avoiding unpleasant déjà vu scene.

It would be incomplete to end the article without mentioning about Pijush & Niamh – two of my brilliant colleagues, whom I have seen swag in meetings with elegance. This article came as an inspiration from them, hope some of the information was helpful. I would love to hear about your views and tips to run meetings efficiently, feel free to comment below!


Our Book: Mystery to Mastery – Ideation to Productization Playbook





Product Manager’s Dream Inbox


Dear Readers,

When I opened my office Outlook this morning, the 3rd email from top grabbed my attention. It came from a fellow Product Manager who requested the IT Admin to remove him from a certain Distribution List (DL). The last line really made me think. It went like this (names have been masked for obvious reasons):

 Note: – I am receiving 6K+ mails in a day from different environments since my email is in this DL. This is causing distraction and I am not able to concentrate!”

I laughed my heart out but yes, more often than not – this is how our life is!

We get trained (over time on the job) and paid to process tons of information and most often it feels like searching for clues in a labyrinth and making the most educated guesses. The life of a Product Manager is all about distilling the ‘right’ information from myriad sources. It’s all about saying “Yes” and “No” emphatically (mostly the latter). Sometimes we hit jackpot while at other times we get a raw deal. Over time, I have learned that ‘no-decision’ or ‘slow-decision’ is like poison; it will surely kill the product’s longevity. So it’s better to make a decision today, fail fast and move on. As long as I figure out why the decision was a wrong one, I need not announce it to the world. But yes, I would have my confidence intact and that should be good enough to help me make a better decision for my product in future. Making my product live long with glory is my purpose!

So how do I stay on top of my Inbox?

The Goal I set for myself everyday: “The clutter free inbox – Less is more.”

(yes, I know no two days are the same!)

How do I get to my dream Inbox?

Everyone has their own ways of doing things. This is what I have been doing for last 3 years which has helped me by a great extent to become more productive:

Rule 1Inbox (quick scan of ~ 5-10 seconds/email, max of 10-15 minutes per day to go through Inbox) > Delete (delete irrelevant emails) > Archive (archive the entire Inbox at the end of day).

Rule 2: Don’t spend more than 10-15 minutes/day to bring the unread email count in your Inbox to 0, regardless of whether it’s 5k+ or 500 at 8 am or whenever you start your day.

Yes, I know this might shock many, but this is the best way I found to stay focused. It doesn’t mean I am careless. I have been doing this for the past 3 years, and trust me, neither am I inefficient, nor have I missed any deadlines. In fact, I managed to get few awards instead [no not for deleting emails ;)].

I realized over the years that we often waste our time going after the wrong information; added to that we further waste time questing the source. And all this while, the truth hides somewhere else. In the process we fail to take a decision today and as a result, our most beloved product suffers.

I am sure that soon technology will solve the problem of stopping/eliminating unwanted information/emails reaching us every morning when we open our business email. In fact, one of my colleagues is working on a patentable idea that would solve this problem!

If you have an unique recipe for attaining Zero Inbox in < 10 minutes, please don’t forget to comment below with your tips and tricks.

I will end my thoughts today with these quotes:


Yours Truly,

A Product Manager

~ Build the best version of your product ~


Our Book: Mystery to Mastery – Ideation to Productization Playbook