Why Xena, Warrior Princess, Is The Greatest Product Manager Ever

Yesterday we summarized the Xena adventure “One Against An Army” In 10 Screencaps Or Less™. Now, let’s use that episode to see why Xena is arguably the greatest product manager ever.

Product Management Requires Courage And Action

When faced with a difficult situation–like saving Greece by fighting an entire army by herself–Xena does not cower and hide. She treats challenges like opportunities, and never fails to help someone in need.

“I don’t accept defeat. There are always choices.”
- Xena, One Against An Army

In product management, decisions are made constantly–sometimes in less than ideal conditions, and often with incomplete knowledge. Don’t be a coward. Don’t give up.

Develop an informed, market-based vision; sell it to your team; and use it to guide your product development through good times and bad. Accept your duty, make your decisions, and learn from your mistakes. Just like Xena.

Customers, Like Sidekicks, Are Necessary To Your Journey

Xena would risk the world to save Gabrielle from the poison coursing through her veins. But the more urgent matter is staving off the invading Persian army–and Gabrielle won’t let Xena’s personal feelings stand in the way of doing what’s right.

“Promise me. Promise me you won’t leave this battle because of me.”
- Gabrielle, One Against An Army

Like the best PMs, Xena knows she is not developing solutions for herself–if she was, she’d put Gabrielle’s life first. But she can’t; not if she’s going to save Greece, which is the true market need.

You Reap What You Sow

Xena’s past haunts her, so she knows something about reaping she’s sown. In this episode, her past actually helps her (in the form of a hidden armory from her old warlord days) while Dorian’s past actions condemn him to death.

As a PM, you probably don’t have a hidden armory in the office, but you do have a bag of tricks. And one of the mightiest tools at your disposal is decidedly non-lethal:

Showing your appreciation

To team members. To direct reports. To partners. To customers. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. And because saying “thank you” is part of the essence of product management.

“If this is to be our destiny, let’s see it out together. Even in death, Gabrielle, I will never leave you.”
- Xena, One Against An Army

As product managers, we create and maintain products through other people. This requires the cooperation and support of many different folks, inside and outside your company.

When you show appreciation to others for their help and loyalty, you’re more likely to receive their help the next time you need it. You reap what you sow. Make sure you say thank you, always.

The Clincher: Working With Xena Is Transformational

Need more proof why Xena is the greatest product manager ever?

In addition to developing CPR, kites, tracheotomies and bungee jumping–Xena brings out the best in her comrades as they fight together for the greater good.

Prior to traveling with Xena, Gabrielle was nice and imaginative but not brave, not willing to lay down her life for a cause she believed in. Now she’s wiling to sacrifice herself to save others.

Working with Xena is remarkable. Transformative. She helps make you a better person.

Who wouldn’t want to be–or work for–a product manager like that?

Additional Resources

If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment or subscribe to the feed to receive future updates. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: