Product Manager’s Guide to Utilizing Leverage | Written by Brandon Chu

Maximizing Managerial Leverage in Product Management

Product managers play an essential role in a company, managing outcomes executed through a team and facilitating progress towards the company’s vision. To succeed as a product manager, it’s critical to internalize the two concepts of managerial output and leverage. Once these concepts are ingrained into the product manager’s mindset, they will have a better understanding of what matters most in their role.

Measuring Managerial Output

To measure managerial output, it’s essential to understand that a manager’s output equals the output of their team plus the output of the surrounding teams that they influence. Once a product manager grasps this concept, they can focus on developing awareness of where they have leverage, which is critical to their long-term impact.

Understanding Managerial Leverage

Managerial leverage refers to the idea that some activities a manager does creates more output than others, and each possible thing’s amount of output created per unit of time is its leverage. Understanding this concept is the basis of decision-making in choosing between activities A and B. By internalizing the concept of managerial leverage, product managers can make informed decisions about where to focus their attention and efforts.

Vision and Strategy: The Foundations of Product Management

For product managers, two aspects of managerial leverage are vision and strategy. Product managers exert leverage by focusing their attention on vision and strategy, as opposed to other activities that have less impact.


Vision is critical in creating the end state of the team’s efforts. A good vision influences the team’s everyday micro-decisions and provides alignment between the product team and their stakeholders. A great product vision must fit within the company’s boundaries and not deviate from the global vision. Product managers should spend considerable time talking to the leadership team to internalize the company’s vision.


Strategy defines how to achieve the vision chosen by the product team. A good strategy should incorporate various factors that influence the team’s path forward in executing the vision. A strategy should never be confused with a roadmap. Roadmaps should always be an outcome of strategy, and good roadmaps should tie back to the strategy.

Maximizing Managerial Leverage in Product Management

To maximize their leverage as product managers, it’s essential to focus on foundation-building activities and optimization activities. The foundation consists of vision and strategy, while optimization includes the scope and backlog. It’s vital to prioritize focusing on the foundation before optimization.

Creating Impactful Teams

Maximizing the efficiency of a product manager’s impact relies on creating strong foundations. With this mindset, a single product manager can have significantly more impact within an organization by building foundations across a set of teams. With this in mind, product managers should strive to make each hour as impactful as possible and assume that creating output through their team is the best way to make the most significant impact.


In conclusion, maximizing managerial leverage in product management involves understanding the concepts of managerial output and leverage. A product manager’s greatest impact comes from focusing on vision and strategy as opposed to other activities that have less impact. Foundation-building activities should take priority over optimization activities, and great product visions should fit within the company’s global vision. Maximizing managerial leverage ultimately leads to impactful teams with a clear understanding of how their work contributes to the company’s vision.

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