How to Deal with Failure in Product Management

how to deal with failure

A happy ending is what people always strive for and Product Managers are no different. However, unlike in fairy tales, failure is a common occurrence in life. Failure is scary to face head-on and we attempt to avoid it in any possible way. There are different levels of failure. The product could completely fail or the product can launch, but its success did not reach your goals. Sadly, failure is an ordeal that everyone has to deal with and we can’t just ignore our mistakes. It’s best to learn how to deal with failure now so that you’re ready when things go sideways.

How to Deal with Failure: Accept It

When it comes to failure, do not push it aside, run away from it, or blame anyone else for it. 

Accept what has happened and the blame. As a leader, you should be aware that failure does not just affect you but the entire team. By taking the blame you are raising team morale and inspire more effort in their next project.

Analyze the Failure

The product failed for a reason. You can learn how to deal with failure without knowing why you failed. It could have been due to bugs in the program, or perhaps a critical or minor detail was overlooked, as with the release of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, iPhone 6, and 6 plus.

The Note 7 failed due to the battery being too large for the phone casing, resulting in overheating. The iPhone 6’s casing was too weak, which caused it to bend when placed in pockets. By analyzing these mistakes, you will be prepared for future circumstances where you’re in a position to prevent these mistakes from happening.

Listen to the Users

Your product didn’t appeal to your intended users. Listen to them to find out why it ended up a failure. Spend more time investigating what the users think about the product if you didn’t before. The end goal of a product is to be used by its intended target. 

Rethink Your Goals

Once you realize why your product failed and adjusted to how to deal with failure, it’s time to set attainable goals. You might have set high goals on your last product, which might have been one of the reasons why your product failed. Consider resources when setting goals and make sure that it is possible to achieve within the given timeframe. 

Take failure as a lesson learned and commit yourself to make sure that these mistakes don’t repeat themselves. Of course, don’t obsess over the mistakes by devoting your attention to preventing them. Take your failures with an open mind and be the best version of yourself.

Move Forward

If you’re learning the ropes of product management, you’re sure to face some failures and setbacks as you ease into your new role. It always helps to have some support. Product Gym is a lifetime membership program for PMs, PM job hunters, and product people of all sorts. Helping people succeed in their product management jobs is our bread and butter: that makes us very good at acknowledging failure and equipping you with the knowledge and skills you need to deal with it, overcome it, and keep moving forward.

If you want to learn more about the ins and outs of Product Manager skills and tactics, get in touch with us! We’re offering free career coaching sessions with our in-house team of PM Recruiter experts. We’d love to hear from you.

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