Crypto PM’s need to be flexible. This flexibility can feel uncomfortable to PM’s who are used feeling in control.

The flexibility can feel like you’re letting things go a little farther than you usually would. It takes some trial and error to determine how far to let things go.

Not letting things go far enough means the team may start to feel frustrated. They may feel you’re trying to tighten the reigns more than a decentralized team needs. This is especially true in crypto projects, since there’s already a bias against the need for any centralized coordination to begin with.

You may fear you’re letting things slide more than you’d like them to. One way to mitigate this fear is by doing some work in the shadows.

It's what I call shadow PM. The idea is you do the PM work around the team, as the work continues. You ask for their minimum required inputs, then build the structure using the inputs. You can read more about shadow PM here.

At the other end of the spectrum, letting things go too far means the project may tip into chaos. At this point, what's the point of you being there?

Striking this balance is a key to managing crypto projects well. Doing this will allow you gain the team's trust. It will also let you build the structure needed to increase the project’s chance to succeed.

Not doing it may mean an uncomfortable tension between you and the team begins to build. Then you’ll be at odds, working against, rather than with each other. But not doing so means the project runs along without the structure required to make it successful.

Either way, the chance of being able to do what you do well will suffer. When this happens the project will too.

If you find this happening, I’d encourage you to assess where this balance is. Doing so honestly and adjusting accordingly could be what’s needed to get the project back on track.


P.S. - This post was first published in my free Blockchain PM newsletter.