[All respect to Ms. Mayer, she’s accomplished a lot in the technology industry]
I have blogged earlier about how a PM must tackle challenges to his authority from a strong engineering team. Well, if you read this article from the Business Insider called “The Truth About Marissa Mayer: An Unauthorized Biography” you would realize that these inter-personal conflicts occur in almost every firm, right from a 5 person startup to the largest internet giant.
[ The Business Insider article is also a must-read for the details it offers around the activities of a web PM in a senior role]
The article also mentions how her run-ins with engineering led to her ultimately being sidelined into a different role at Google. In fact, as many can attest, this is a common theme in technology product management. If you come up against a powerful engineering lead, then the person most likely to move out is the one who does not write the code, even if she is closer to the customer.
A couple of references from my blog here. Here’s the first post where I described how engineering and product management can have creative conflicts.
Here’s another post where I specifically mention why obsession is important for a product manager. As per the unofficial biography, in Marissa’s case, her obsession with details caused resentment in engineers and other stakeholders who did not agree with her vision. Another issue was that her obsession was primarily about data analysis and the value of that analysis, without understanding the impact of her decisions on others. And that was a key factor in her getting sidelined. The article also mentions how this obsession had also alienated a lot of people at Yahoo!
Without getting into the merits of this debate, I leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.
By the by, I have posted earlier on why analytics is important for a PM today, but that is not specifically about the UI analytics, as was discussed in the Business Insider article.