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I’ve worked in healthcare IT roles for the better part of the last ten years. If you have ever worked in healthcare, found yourself in a hospital bed, or spent Thursday nights watching Grey’s Anatomy or ER, you are familiar with the term “rounds.” For those few people that this is a foreign concept, rounds are a process of visiting assigned patients during your time on-duty. When we chose our mastermind community site, we very much considered the value of such a theme for product professionals doing the rounds in their respective roles within an organization.

When we chose our mastermind community site, we very much considered the value of such a theme for product professionals doing the “rounds” in their respective roles within an organization. Introducing PMrounds!

Introducing, PMrounds!

I have heard it from multiple sources that it is best to be clear and clever when you can. If you must choose one over the other, always be clear. I hope that I have hit the sweet spot with the product mastermind site, PMrounds. It could also be evening (PM) rounds, which aligns with the medical theme of many of the health related product leaders that have expressed intent to contribute to the community.

Making the Rounds

My father-in-law coded, was revived, then transported and finally recovered in the local hospital in the span of the last five days. It was an intense, roller coaster of emotions. Our family has spent the better part of the last five days in the hospital with him as he recovers from his procedures. In that time, I was able to see the transitions of care from the nursing and other health professions staff that were doing their 12-hour shifts during his stay.

What I noticed during this encounter was that the individuals that started their rounds in the morning (AM) had a different focus than those that started the evening (PM) rounds. Since I have never been a nurse or worked in a hospital, I’m not certain this is the case, but this is what I observed. As you will see, it makes a good analogy for product leaders as well.

The evening rounds were much more targeted and strategic in their delivery of care because they were dealing with patients that were attempting to recover by resting overnight. Whereas the morning rounds were very tactical throughout the day doing many successive activities on almost a consistent hourly basis from all the different specialities that were rounding on his case.

So, how do PM rounds apply to product leaders?

Getting Strategic

The mastermind that we have created is intended to help product leaders like myself to work through one of our challenge areas with the assistance of other practitioners in the community advising on what is working for them: being strategic.

In the latest Pragmatic Marketing survey (that is in its 16th year), a consistent metric that is measured and reported on by you and your fellow product leaders is the lack of time to dedicate to strategy–only 28% in latest results. Here is the link if you have not had a chance to read or download it up. I’ve also embedded the summary podcast for you to listen to some insights. (I’m a big fan of the superhero theme as well this year. Excellent job, Pragmatic team!)

There is, of course, a lot of room for product leaders to make incremental improvements by carving out time for more strategic planning like the evening nurse must do for their PM rounds. As the superheroes in the survey (and the heroes in the hospital that nursed my father-in-law back to health) will tell you, you have put out fires more effectively to free up the time for strategy planning.

On Target

I was having a conversation with Mike Reynolds of InnovateMap recently that is doing some innovative work for start-ups and growth businesses with their product agency in Indianapolis. I wish I could take credit for this thought, but Mike said that being more strategic will only get more valuable for software product designers, managers, and marketers as we move forward. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has leveled the playing field if you will for software vendors.

At one time, vendors were competing on things like implementation services and ability to scale software needs with a large enterprises’ growth. Software-as-a-Service has eliminated much of those competitive forces. Therefore, being targeted and more strategic in product design, product management, and product marketing will separate the unicorns from the fail-whales.

Finishing the Evening Rounds

It still comes down to execution. Product leaders must take advantage of the PM rounds with targeted and strategic design, management, and marketing. If this resonates with you and you are looking for more interaction with product professionals, please join the PMrounds community and share with your peers. At a minimum, we will provide a few minutes of prescriptive product leadership insights through items like the blog you have completed today.

Best wishes making your rounds!
Brian Stout
Software Product Leader