6 things great product managers do with downtime

Krishnan Raghupathi
7 min readSep 7, 2020

I learnt it’s not what they do, but how they do it.

Photo by Katie Moum on Unsplash

Life as a PM is mostly an orchestra of frenzy. There’s always the next spec to create, status reports to send, open issues to chase down, issues to clarify, research to synthesize, data to collate….you get the idea. If this sounds frantic, it is. This sort of orchestrated chaos is actually one of my favourite aspects of the job.

And yet, once in a blue moon (aka August), time grounds to a standstill. Key partners from whom you need inputs are blissfully off on vacation. The engineers are heads down refactoring and rearchitecting, muttering under their breath about how they got persuaded to take on all this technical debt and giving you long sideways glances. Yup. It’s still happening even if you’re remote and can’t see it 😀.

I’ve been really lucky to observe and learn from how some of the best PM’s I’ve worked with used their moments of downtime profitably. What they did:

  1. Plunge into the data.
  2. Go customer insight hunting.
  3. Scrutinize competitor’s products.
  4. Find allies for the team.
  5. Seek moments to delight.
  6. Celebrate the team



Krishnan Raghupathi

Product Manager, Meta. Notes on building products, life in large organizations, science fiction and travel. All opinions are my own.