Why Germany's Demise in World War 2 is an Essential Lesson in Product Management
By Arijit Banerjee
Lessons from history
Almost eight decades ago, a war of worldly proportions destroyed the major powers dominating the world and rebalanced the global power equation for lasting peace. World War 2 brought as much destruction in 6 months as all the major battles that took place in the 19th century. It gave us the deepest scars in the form of nuclear bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It gave us haunting memories in the shape of Nazi concentration camps and the holocaust.
But every cloud has a silver lining, and there’s something positive we can take from WW2 as well. Product managers all over can take some important lessons from this titanic war.
Let’s looks at some insightful lessons that WW2 teaches us about product management.
Diplomacy can get messy!
A product manager has to be a little diplomatic at times, as he’s the link between investors, innovators, developers and marketers. He has to merge the interests of different parties together and involve them into getting the product out in the market.
But WW2 showed us diplomacy is not always the best solution. The international diplomates failed to negotiate a peaceful solution pushing the world into a war.
Product managers must know the fine balance between diplomacy and authority. As both are needed in equal parts to lead a successful product management regimen. Many short term courses in leadership available online can help you achieve this fine balance.
Agility is the key
The Germans were able to develop some really advanced technology during WW2 like the submarines and torpedoes. Termed as miracle weapons “wunderwaffe” these promising inventions could have earned Germany its victory. But the grand scheme failed as they never focused on logistics to strategically place these weapons in the right places. They were simply too busy innovating, they overlooked the other vital aspects of war strategy.
Product managers are often required to encourage innovation and creativity through the discovery phase. However, spending too much time and efforts on this stage doesn’t always equate to better results. In a more practical approach, the product should be developed and released in parts with a scope for improvement. This agile approach is effective in eliminating prolonged product to market time.
Business analyst training, big data certification and digital marketing courses are tools that can help product managers have cross domain knowledge in creating well rounded product management plans.
While the Axis powers namely Berlin, Rome and Tokyo got together to fight the Allies consisting of United Kingdom, France, Soviet Union, United States and China, their acts were really not well coordinated.
The Allied Forces on the other hand showed well-timed and precise team work in attacking Nazi outposts around the world and taking down the nemesis.
As product managers, you cannot simply rely on your skills and intelligence to get the best result. Product management is like a jigsaw puzzle and you’ll have to team up with people having different skill sets to be able to solve it.
Upskilling by doing professional courses related to product management can help you keep up with the highly demanding nature of a product manager’s role.
Learning from other’s mistakes
WW2 teaches us a lot about how to be good at product management. After all, products also have to battle it out on a global level to come out as victors. While some products have seen the same fate as Germany in WW2, others have made the most of every opportunity by adapting to the market conditions.