Inspiration: Anyone who acquires deep expertise...

Anyone who acquires deep expertise does so at the expense of breadth.—Andrew Hargadon.

Professor Hargadon is the author of How Breakthroughs Happen: The Surprising Truth About How Companies Innovate, which was published by Harvard Business School Press in 2003. Learn more...

We throw the word "expert" around somewhat casually but you can't be an expert in everything. The more you know about your domain or industry, the less you can know about others. It's like the brain is a candy machine that can only hold so many M&Ms. And when you add new memories, the old ones get pushed to the back and become stale.

Product managers and product marketing managers should take a moment to inventory their expertise. Is it the domain, the product, the market? And then set a plan to keep that area of expertise current. "I talked to a guy last week" is more persuasive than a story from last decade, don't you think?

Product leaders need to staff the right level of expertise in their teams. You may have a lot of product owners who are strong on the product and technology but how's their market knowledge? Maybe you need to supplement your group with some product marketing managers.

You can have breadth or depth. Staff accordingly.

Want to learn more? Read my free ebook, Product Management Expertise.