The true meaning behind Product Management jargon

Maria Cerase
3 min readJul 23, 2017


Specialist jargon often baffles the uninitiated an impacts all professions: product management is no exception. I am going to burst some of the most cryptic jargon of day-to-day product management so that you can more quickly get to the bottom of what people are really talking about.

Stakeholder a.k.a. Nuisance no. 1

A stakeholder is someone who has an interest in what you are doing, which 99 out of 100 times means they are going to be a pain. Managers force stakeholder strategy on their product people, because they are scared you will go rogue and create a 5-legged table with a curved top that nobody will use. To avoid being assigned some jerks as stakeholders, be proactive and present a stakeholder list before one gets assigned to you. Mindblowing!

Product Vision a.k.a. Slides, docs and too many talks

Developers, managers, sales people and even janitors will ask you for your product vision, as if it came to you as a revelation on the foam of your morning flat white. There are two documents you need to have always ready and in tip top shape: a Roadmap and a Vision. Don’t hold on to them, give them out as if it was candy. If you don’t have a vision yet, read up 5 Steps to develop a shared product vision. If you don’t have a roadmap… why are you even reading this blogpost?

Technical Debt a.k.a. The house is falling apart

Sooner or later you will hear the phrase: ‘We cannot develop this new functionality now, we need to refactor. There is just too much technical debt’. This is not an excuse, but a desperate attempt to tell you that the code is so crappy people are afraid to touch it. Refuse at all costs the proposal of a sprint of refactoring: it will open a time-space singularity that is going to suck in your career. Ask what is the smallest thing that can be fixed each sprint and keep going until the house is not shaky anymore.

Acceptance Criteria a.k.a. Harness the lawyer in you

Acceptance criteria are the key clauses that constitute the contract between you and your development team. At the start of the sprint it’s all roses, but when the…



Maria Cerase

Eternal searcher, sample of Italian madness. Product and Usability expert. Find more about me on