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Having a decisive Product Manager for the project, and what if this does not happen ..

In many cases, especially for small projects / new teams, the Product Manager is typically somebody who is also not very experienced. The idea is that the Product Managers who are highly skilled or with a lot of relevant experience are assigned to the teams that are doing more important work. But this can sometimes result in significant problems for the project, to the extent that the project can become unsuccessful. There is an argument that people need time to get experience, and working in smaller or less important projects is necessary to groom people, and that may be a fair and true argument, but there is no getting around the fact that this can cause a lot of problems for the team.
When you have a team with newer people, there is a far less acceptance of what is possible and what is not. People have not had the time or the experience to learn a dose of realism, and figure out the speed at which things move as a part of software project development. When you add an inexperienced Product Manager to the mix, things can get even more complicated.
Consider the case whereby the team is working on a new feature, and something that is not really a copy of another product’s feature. In such cases, the team can have a lot of fresh ideas when working on the requirements and design of the feature, and when you have a user experience designer working on the project, the person will have a lot of ownership of the design of the feature. Now, based on some experience in such situations, what I have typically observed is that feature requirements are not really closed for long periods of time, or get closed and are then re-opened some time later. This would typically happen when the user designer has an idea, and then when it is implemented, the team members or even the designer has some modification of the idea, and far worse, the modification is seen as an improvement.
Now, if you are in the shoes of the project manager, in order to get the project moving, you can appreciate incremental improvements in the product as described above, but if these happen all the time, the schedule (even if you are using Scrum or other Agile methods) will never really get close to a conclusion. In such cases, what you really look for is a strong Product Manager who can take calls about whether the feature is good enough for customers, even when it is not perfect (and this may seem strange to a lot of people, but successful project management is about striking a balance between the improvements that you make to the application, and also about the discipline needed in the project in order to get achieve progress in the schedule).
In all such cases, a strong Product manager can ensure that after some due iteration, the feature requirements and design are closed, or even more, when newer queries are raised, they need to be striking improvements before they are allowed to be open. A good Product Manager is worth his or her weight in terms of gold if they are able to make these kind of calls and ensure that the schedule is adhered to.

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