Be Steve or How to Become the Greatest Agile Product Manager Ever!

Elad Simon Published: 08 Jul 2016 Updated: 23 May 2023
Craft logo with other competitor and software logos around it

Each agile product manager thought of how it would be to become as successful as Steve Jobs in achieving the product goal at least once. No wonder, his inspiring career in the spheres of product design, management and marketing has marked a brand new era in PM.
Over thirty years, Steve Jobs, the greatest master of presentations all around the world, managed to turn an idea into a new product Art. His methods, polished over years of practice, can even now be successfully used by the professional product owners and project managers, start-ups and other entrepreneurs, by small business owners, teachers, coaches or anyone who just wants to inspire his or her audience. How to become a product manager like him? Let’s view some ‘mesmerizing’ methods elaborated by Steve Jobs that can be used in your everyday product management struggle.

1.  A “wow” effect

In each Jobs’ presentation, there was a moment that always brought delighted to the audience and triggered it to endless discussions. Though these “moments” were prepared in advance, they worked quite natural which had even greater psychological impact on the group. These moments were also put into the presentation slides, on Apple official web site, press releases and advertisements. All channels were connected by the mutual ‘wow moment’ and worked in sync to bring delight to the public accordingly with each new product release.

September 9, 2009. This “moment” was not the product itself. It was the appearance of Steve Jobs on the stage after a long absence because of his illness. He honestly told the audience that he had made a liver transplantation from a man who was killed in a car accident. “But for his generosity, I would not be standing in front of you”, – said Jobs. Of course, the audience was touched by another wow moment that somehow was connected to the product or to its owner, to be exact.

Of course, there is no need to shock your scrum or the customers like that at each presentation. Simply, any anticipation related to the product will make a positive wow impact.

3 hands numering 1,2 and 3

2. The rule of 3

The rule of three or the power of 3 is a common principle in writing. It recommends that things that come in threes are more entertaining, more fulfilling, or more viable than different quantities of things. Steve Jobs new that and extensively used the principle in his work. That is why his presentations almost always consisted of three logical parts.

Thus, in 2007, he introduced “three revolutionary products» at the Macworld show: mp3-player, telephone and internet communicator. Guess what?  “The rule of three” became the most discussed topic. Ask yourself about what three things your audience should know and present them. The listeners or your target group thereby will more likely to remember this information.

3. A backup

Steve, as a senior product manager, has never organized his presentations without help and rarely performed the entire presentation independently. He always had a support group.

Phil Schiller, the vice president of marketing, Jeff Robbin, the developer of iTunes, and four other game developers could easily participate in presentations with Steve. Even Norah Jones, the singer, could act on meetings. No wonder, he had a great team and was never a single player.

Of course, it is unlikely that Norah Jones will perform at your next presentation, but if you can present your project with a colleague (or a client), do it! It is always good to have a backup.

4. Who’s who

Just like each fairy tale has a positive and a negative character, Steve’s presentations introduced both the heroes and the villains. Steve Jobs was a great enterprise “storyteller”. He has been applying his method since 1984 when Macintosh by Apple was first introduced to the public. Then, Jobs began his presentation from IBM’s story, the story of the giant obsessed with “the world domination.” The audience liked the story and simply exploded. In well-planned presentations, there should always be a negative figure – a common enemy, through which people can form their positive visions of the hero. Your brand and your product are thereby the heroes. So, tell their stories. can be used as a user story mapping tool ro build super awesome user storymaps

Man behind podium speaking at a convention
Speaker at Business Conference and Presentation. Audience at the conference hall.

5.  The rule of images

Each software product manager should be able to visualize and cater the information in simple physically visual form. Apple presentations were always simple and clear. They were exquisitely thought over.

Steve Jobs’ slides always had a little text. At the time, when any PowerPoint slide presentation may contain about 40 words, there was even less text in 12 slides, but more supportive visual information.

When Jobs talked about the popularity of the iPhone in the world, then he simply demonstrated slides of 23 state flags of different countries, rather than their names. Get it?

In fact, this is also a psychological approach which is called  “the rule of images.” This means that the ideas are easier to store when they are not only textually fixed but also well illustrated too. Simple as it is.  So, each digital product manager may stick to the rule and achieve unbelievable success in product presentations.

Twitter logo on glass wall behind restaurant

6.  Twitter headlines

Apple could make their products discussed all over the media very simply. The thing is that the company itself wrote the headlines for each twit. No one ever would have called MacBook Air “the thinnest laptop in the world,” except Steve, when describing anew product. Because so called him To tell the truth, it is difficult to imagine a more apt expression because who knows the product better than its owner, eh? Jobs always described the new product by using laconic phrases that could easily fit in the 140 character limit on Twitter.

What’s iPod? – “It’s a thousand songs in your pocket.” If you can not describe what you are doing with the help of a single sentence, continue to work on it further on, because genius lies in simplicity.

Steve Jobs holding an apple

7. Sell dreams, not products

Steve Jobs wanted to change the world very passionately, and his passion was expressed in each of his presentation. Any of us can learn his special techniques for creating extremely creative and informative slides that would call to action even the most sceptic audience. Indeed, they cost nothing, if presented without passion or enthusiasm. Since each product manager agile should be inspired, driven and energetic, Steve’s major motto about selling dreams but not products will be the punch line.

During iPod presentation in 2001, Jobs said that “music can change us,” and Apple, in its own way, had tried to change the world around them. Many of us are music players or listeners, so Jobs had seen an opportunity to create a “better” world for its music customers. The greatest difference between him and any other inexperienced junior product manager is the fact that Steve Jobs unlike the majority of PMs sincerely wanted to change the world, and was not afraid to talk about it openly. So, be bold and never be afraid to challenge the world!

Wanna know how to be a product manager like Steve? Look up for more at and go ahead!

Elad Simon
Elad Simon

CEO & Co-Founder,