Many product leaders will agree that we’re always short on time and spread so thin. We desperately need time to think and strategize. I completely understand these challenges, but we need to be prudent in how we spend our time.
As product leaders, we’re the backbone of the customer-centric and innovative culture we need in our teams and organizations. This means that there are specific discussions that we must lead and participate in because they significantly impact our products and the vision we want to set. Above all, we need to understand the ideas and viewpoints of our diverse partner team members.
With that in mind, here are the 10 meetings that I recommend product leaders should attend and/or lead when possible.
10 Meetings Product Managers Should Make Time For
- Sales meeting with potential customers.
- Customer success/relationship management meeting with an existing customer.
- Internal sales and customer success/relationship management quarterly business reviews (QBR) meetings.
- Customer quarterly business reviews (QBR) meetings.
- Retrospective meetings with the engineering team.
- Daily stand-up meetings with the engineering team.
- Engineering demo review meetings.
- 3iab (product manager, design lead, and tech lead) weekly sync.
- Quarterly product planning.
- Monthly product roadmap review with engineering and design lead.
1. Sales Meeting With Potential Customers
Joining sales representatives on calls with prospects allows me to gather insights into our competitors’ offerings, including their features and pricing. It also helps me understand the prospect’s business strategy, upcoming needs, and changing technological requirements. Additionally, these meetings provide valuable information about industry conditions and emerging trends that might affect the client’s business.
2. Customer Success/Relationship Management Meeting With an Existing Customer
Attending meetings with existing customers and their customer success or relationship management representatives helps gauge their satisfaction and identify any gaps between expectations and the product’s performance. In addition, we can find out if the customer is already assessing our competitors.
These conferences provide an opportunity to share the client-facing roadmap and get their feedback and validation; if I have a prototype available, I will present it to them to confirm we are delivering value and solving their problem. The review also offers thoughtful conversations regarding their jobs to be done and what additional tools or insights would help them better manage and realize their objectives.
3. Internal Sales and Customer Success/Relationship Management Quarterly Business Reviews (QBR) Meetings
QBRs offer valuable insights into our internal teams’ strategies and approaches to engage and support customers. These reviews help uncover any misalignments between our product offerings and customer needs. They also foster collaboration between product management and relationship management or customer success teams, promoting a shared understanding of customer requirements.
4. Customer Quarterly Business Reviews (QBR) Meetings
These meetings allow PMs to understand their customers’ business motivations and mission. During these QBR sessions, product leaders can assess usage metrics, discuss feature requests, and solicit feedback on the product roadmap. This information helps product teams to prioritize development efforts and identify areas for improvement. QBRs also allow us to educate customers about new features and functionality.
5. Retrospective Meetings With the Engineering Team
Product leaders are the architects of the customer-centric and innovative culture at both the individual team and the organizational level. We ensure that the customer is at the center of all our decisions. Therefore, we must attend and be a participant in agile retrospective discussions. These meetings enable us to reflect on successes, failures, and potential improvements that can help the team continue delivering value to customers.
6. Daily Stand-Up Meetings With the Engineering Team
As the cornerstone of customer-focused culture, we must be strategic and tactical. We have to communicate the larger picture, why it matters, and why everyone must care about solving customer pain points. We also have to answer the day-to-day tactical questions, which is why being present at daily stand-ups is imperative.
Joining daily stand-up demonstrates that PMs genuinely care about their design and engineering partner teams. This meeting is an opportunity to align on core values, which is where the love of product comes from. It further serves as an opportunity to motivate the team, reminding them of the lives they will change for the better when the product or feature launches. Finally, these meetings help us identify any difficulties or tasks the engineers face, allowing the product team to offer assistance where needed.
7. Engineering Demo Review Meetings
Some organizations conduct new and/or enhanced feature demos at the end of the sprint. In my experience, the engineering team members lead these get-togethers, which offer PMs opportunities to view the feature and assess if it meets our expectations and acceptance criteria. Our UX/UI design partners also have an opportunity to evaluate whether the experiences match the prototype provided. I love attending these huddles because they’re yet another opportunity to ensure our products will add value for our customers.
8. 3iab (Product Manager, Design Lead, and Tech Lead) Weekly Sync
Regular sync meetings with the design and engineering leads are crucial for collaboration. These sessions foster honest discussions about the product roadmap, our specific customer problems, and any unknowns or additional research required. Innovative ideas often emerge from these discussions, and alignment on messaging ensures effective communication, even when delivering difficult news to leadership.
9. Quarterly Product Planning
In some companies, the product management teams plan and lead quarterly forums that include engineering leads and relationship management or customer success teams. During these talks, each product leader will present a SWOT analysis of their product line, vision, and roadmap. These events are important because they reinforce our commitment to putting customers first in all decision-making processes.
10. Monthly Product Roadmap Review With Engineering and Design Lead
Transparency equals trust. These monthly huddles with design and the scrum team enable product leaders to showcase the roadmap and discuss modifications to it, the rationale, and the overall impact, if any, on the customer base and company revenue. The upcoming features and experiences are also discussed.
During these sessions, the PM can also impart results from surveys produced by marketing, feedback from customer events like focus groups, advisory boards, and days in the life of your customer. You should also discuss sales pipeline losses and non-renewals. These monthly syncs with engineering and design are very informational and offer an opportunity for the scrum team to learn about the organization’s business side.
Use Your Time Wisely
In conclusion, product leaders are constantly occupied with back-to-back meetings. Time is always limited, and accomplishing everything on our to-do lists is challenging. To create products that genuinely honor and uplift humanity, however, we must value our diverse, cross-functional teams’ ideas, perspectives, and ability to innovate. By fostering a culture of psychological safety and customer-centricity, we can unlock the full potential of our teams and organization.