Product management vs. project management . She mentors user researchers, product managers, and Engineers unfamiliar with the principles of LeanStartup to be 120% customer focused at leanproductcoach.com. They love hard things that might not have been done before. Some tips for beginning your career in product management are to learn the basics of coding, use data as much as possible in your daily reporting and look into a junior product manager course. Career ladders make it clear to Product Managers what’s expected of the role and what’s expected of them to earn a promotion. There is of course the factor of credibility … “I mentioned influencing tactfully, someone who is an authentic communicator and can understand their audience has a massive head start on this. Along with 4 teammates, we came up with a phone app called Convoi that was targeted at everyday business people who were tired of using their personal cell phones for work but needed a mobile phone number for texting, calling, and business voicemail with clients. In a small company of 1-20, it’s usually the founders, but at some point, the founders have other things to do and may appoint a product manager. The good news is that some of these skills you might already have. They are not phased — in their eyes, if there’s a will, there’s a way. If that’s you, take note. Principal Product Manager Product management does not require a specific degree. But that’s only a part of the story. Here are just a few: And while I’m nowhere close to those three groundbreakers, I have worked at Citrix for over 14 years, leading teams developing and releasing the GoTo branded software that generates millions of dollars in annual revenue. at though. 5 Product Management Skills That Are Non-Negotiable. The Product Management Career Path CHAPTER : 1. Thanks for the writeup. And I don’t just mean in terms of work-life balance. Plus, working as a Product Manager opens lots of opportunities for career advancement: No one else knows the product as well as you do, and no one else is connected to that many departments. Change will happen. How an MBA can help you get a Product Management career. Is that you? You can do it too. Besides, you’ll hone quite a few soft skills as well. Personally I found metrics to be very useful as an objective look at data. The reality is that as long as you have the right mindset and soft skills, you can learn all of the rest pretty fast on the job from your team, your fellow Product managers, mentors. Have to come up with new ideas, which can be tedious. What factors helped you get your first product manager job? Even when people agree, change… Read →. As a product designer with 11+ years of experience your career path resonates. product development managers who assess gaps in the marketplace and find niches to market new products There are plenty of other excellent roles that would fit, keep looking. Searching on LinkedIn TODAY, I found (obviously subject to change on the day of search but this gives you a sense): Before I go too far, let me just say: different companies call “product managers” different things. Curious observer. They actually thrive on the adrenaline. Lucas Didier’s aptly named article The 99 Types of Product Managers is an eye-opener. Create beautiful roadmaps in minutes. I thought I need to spend time and money for another degree so I can switch career paths. Here were just a few of ours: By hitting these we knew we were on the right track. Getting started in product management requires both technical skills and customer insight: You’ll need to understand the nuts and bolts of creating a product, as well as how to connect to users so you can best serve their needs.. If that’s you, good news: constant and relentless curiosity is the most essential tool in a product manager’s toolbox. That’s a male elephant! Tell stories that are easy for anyone to comprehend and get onboard. Ringleaders make great product managers because they: Recruit other passionate people who never give up to be on their team. 25 interviews of our target audience saying that they had this problem and were actively looking for a solution, 40% Daily Active Use (It was a business phone so in order for it to be successful you had to use it every week day). Seek a marked improvement in customer satisfaction metrics First and foremost are the customers. But hang on just a moment. Especially if you are in an environment that honours those skills, a career in product management can be very rewarding. You can also choose whether you prefer a corporation, a startup, or maybe you want to freelance. Product management is a flexible career path. Do I have a degree in computer science or human-computer interaction? No credit card required. They are the stratergy leader, therefore if a product doesn’t do well, they are accountable for that. This is higher than the national average for all career, and so, if you are … Let’s be friends! Not so fast. You find similar jobs under the following names: Use those terms and you’ve just expanded your search 3x. Narrow in and focus on the most pressing problems that offer the biggest opportunities for their customers and their companies. They are constantly iterating and reinventing themselves. We knew the company was interested in the virtual phone system business but hadn’t yet pulled the trigger on a large scale development project. Our one standout thing was that within 15 seconds of downloading our free app, we got you any phone number in any area code. They figure, why reinvent the wheel. If the customers aren’t satisfied with your product how can you convince them to purchase it? The first step to beginning your career in product management is to understand what it is all about. Programming experience isn’t necessary, but it’s also a great next step for software engineers. A Good Product Manager is an effective storyteller. Having the skill set described is the first level and absolutely necessary. Take Free Demo . Yes, you can work remotely and from your own home. I mean, dang, who wouldn’t want to have their own company, be their own boss, and call the shots? Carey Caulfield (@careycaulfield) works at LogMeIn in the GoTo business division previously part of Citrix Systems in Santa Barbara, CA as a Principal Product Manager. Because product managers constantly: And then there are people who don’t make problems but solve problems. You get the point. C ODUC GERS: 7 Associate Product Manager For this entry-level product role, hiring managers are looking for you to demonstrate both that you have an understanding of what product management is and that you have a clear interest in and passion for the customer. What is truly rewarding is observing how a user interacts with your creation, and you realize you’ve solved one of their problems. Some people crave change, love the challenge of it, and can turn on a dime. You’re in great company. That job title is Product Manager. To get Product management experience, its positions are increasingly in demand, with high wages and abundant potential for expansion. You’ll sharpen your problem-solving and collaboration skills since that’s pretty much the essence of your role. Overall, the variety of domain knowledge you’ll acquire in the Product Manager role is indeed remarkable. Carey Caulfield Relocating abroad is also a possibility. Do you brainstorm with a friend asking, “How might we…?” or “What if…?” If yes, you really should think about a career in product management. The product manager career path is an exciting one with lots of possible on- and off-ramps. Long story short, by taking various jobs in the software industry and constantly learning and moving up, I was able to grow my career from web designer to user interface designer to product manager. Similar Careers Marketing. at Project management is a difficult job at times, and when things are not going so well, you wouldn’t be the first project manager to think about giving it all up. They aren’t complainers but doers, makers, fixers, and dreamers, envisioning a better or new way. People who like other people, who have the ability to wrangle and lead various folks, (while respecting their opinions and differences) are what I might call Ringleaders. Even with significant non-design experience (running client projects, frontend development, user research, analytics/metrics) it seems hard to get hiring managers to take you seriously. Product management is one of the best non-programming roles in the tech industry, and tech is one of the most attractive industries to work in. If so, product managers routinely ask themselves and their teams: In the Convoi example above, we had some metrics we held ourselves accountable. Enable their teammates to shine and do their best work incorporating their feedback. And I don’t just mean in terms of work-life balance. Principal Product Manager This role, just like any other, is all about personal fit. As a product manager, your tasks are likely to include: 1. taking overall responsibility for the success of your product 2. contributing towards product strategy and vision 3. meeting regularly with all stakeholders, including product developers, marketing, customer service, finance and company heads 4. collecting analysing and responding to user feedback 5. managing one or more budgets 6. gathering and evaluating ideas and opinions 7. planning new features and changes to a product 8. demonstrating new ideas an… Raise your hand if someday: I’m visualizing lots of hands raised out there. Understanding what product management is and all it encompasses can help you determine if this is the right career for you. Take the world's most-advanced assessment! Think engineering, design, research, marketing, sales, support. They usually come up with metrics, triggers, or tests to tell themselves and their teams whether they’re on the right track. The word “no” doesn’t phase them for too long. “We are passionate and are we’re on a mission.”, Ok, I’ve got you to this point and so you ask, “What companies need product managers?”. Should be good at influencing, in order to align work to others. LogMeIn, GlassDoor for product management salaries, The Unique Work of a Product Executive at a Mid-Size Company, 5 Key Skills of Outstanding eCommerce Product Managers, How to Support a Change Management Process Using Roadmaps, Product Management vs. Project Management. Product management is a cross-functional and lucrative career to consider if you're interested in a company's product development process. The bosses funding these projects also want to see proof that they’re on the right track. What comes next, is applying it. Buy the pizza, bring the donuts, and make sure everyone is fed — literally and figuratively. For that reason, I’d like to introduce you to a job title you may not have heard of before, but that could give you some runway to practice the skills you might need to start your own company someday — while you still get a great paycheck, benefits, and learnings from a more established company. The BLS projects a 12% increase in demand for computer-related managers between 2016 and 2026. We all think we know what we’re talking about, but when it comes down to it, the difference between great, good and not quite good enough can be pretty slippery. However, this hot trending role is not spared from the myths that have surrounded it. The most common requirement I see is for x+ years of product management experience. Like acting, product management is harder and more subtle than it appears on the outside. LogMeIn. What might surprise you is that I was a Liberal Arts major in college; I studied Spanish. But how, exactly, do you get that experience? Loosely put, the product manager sets the tone for a product, understands the customer’s pain points, leads a team, takes various forms of input, and ultimately makes the product-related decisions. A role in product management will look terrific on your resume, and the learnings will be great while the risk is minimal. Follow me on Medium for more articles on product management and startups. Recruit other passionate people who never give up to be on their team. Companies, plans, roadmaps, and management change. Are you fit for a career in Product Management? Product Management is a great role that sits at the intersection of technology, business and UX. Let’s see if it might be a fit for you. If I convinced you and you’re already browsing PM jobs, that’s great, but please stay with me for a little longer. Quick gut check. What’s more, you will likely earn a favorable salary (check GlassDoor for product management salaries — not too shabby) and be instilled with the confidence that you might just start your own company someday. While product managers can advance their own functions or departments, it is common for experienced product managers to follow career paths into general management or functional management roles. They are on a relentless pursuit of “yes”. Read Up! I spent a few years working in Research and Strategy before I realized it’s not a fit. Product Managers get to collaborate with several other roles daily, and while challenging, this also means we get to learn tons of new things all the time. We had the advantage of being part of a large company that had resources we could use to build the app, validate it, and get it to market fast. What does success look like at certain points in our journey? Why? Product management groups are responsible for the creative, innovative side of business, but also for the analysis and strategy end, too. In larger companies, there’s almost always a need for many product managers. Here’s why product management should be your career choice. You’ll become a better leader. In 1931, Neil McElroy wrote a memo to Proctor & Gamble. She’s helped to design and launch three of their flagship products – GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, and GoToTraining. Because they have so many ideas, these kind of people are anxious and want to know if their solution will work — if it will hold water. I’m going to start with a question. If you’re ready for a dramatic increase in communication and interaction, product management would definitely offer you that! Whether it’s helping them do something faster, cheaper, in a more convenient way, or it’s a ground-breaking one-of-a-kind innovation, you helped create something that had a positive impact on someone’s life. In this video, Ben Miller of ProductPlan provides a great intro to the career path for most Product Management roles in firms across the world. The young advertising executive proposed the idea of a \"brand man\" — a role with specific responsibilities to manage the complete product brand and be accountable for its success.This concept of product ownership is at the core of product management today. Ask a lot of questions about their customers, their teams, and the market. If you’ve ever considered a product management career, you’re not alone. They use it to: You’ll hear them say, “Huh, isn’t that interesting.”. The elephant in this picture is the leader of the pack. But the term ‘product manager’ has evolved into a full-time career option only recently. Alicia Dixon. While I love my role, and it’s the only one I can imagine myself doing with a smile, many of my fellow Product friends will agree that mentally, it’s a very demanding role. Think about it; it’s a robust skillset to have. Product Manager role is both tactical and strategic. Read →, Change is hard. If you are also a fresh graduate or someone looking to switch careers, keep reading. Her background is in Software Design, User Research/Experience, and practicing LeanStartup within large companies. Your communication skills will improve. They will ask and be turned down 80x. It’s flexible. Because the role itself is different from organization to organization, there are plenty of Product Management flavors out there. We had a trusted audience from GoToMeeting that we could advertise for free. In the app store, we could be a sister app to GoToMeeting that had over millions of downloads each year. Though the two … Is Product Management a Good Career? An MBA degree from a good business school can really jump-start one’s career in Product Management and Marketing. Kind of a simple answer, but any company that has a product or service needs someone to truly understand the needs of its customers and to set the vision and tone for the product and for the people who work on it. We spoke with three product managers about their careers how to get started in the field. We found mentors and champions internal and external to the company to guide us on our way. Product Manager Skills By Seniority Level — A Deep Breakdown, The Mental Cost of Being a Product Manager, 70% of Product Initiatives Fail? Books like The Design of Everyday Things, The Innovator’s Dilemma, and How to Create Products Customers Love will walk you through all the basic concepts of the field. If that’s you, take note. There are some famous people out there who were first product managers before they started being CEO. It’s an uphill battle against the familiar, the routine, complacency, and inertia. If anyone needs something or is blocked, the product manager is the first one to help. You could immediately be calling and texting from it. This article is for recent graduates with an entrepreneurial mindset who are thinking about what would be the perfect job for them. Their broad base of industry, offering, and operations knowledge makes them highly desirable for a number of roles in an organization. A product manager is someone who is responsible for the strategy and blueprint for a product or product line. Being a Product Manager, one thing that I am grateful for is the endless learning opportunities. They wonder why things work a certain way and if there might be another way. But what is uplifting is that as a Product Manager, you get the ultimate flexibility — you get to define your role. Gather champions and mentors to guide them along their product journey. It’s addictive. They are the person who defines the ‘why’, ‘what,’ and ‘when’ of a product, and clearly communicates the business value to the product team so they can understand the purpose behind the new product or product release. Product managers know that: In short, a product manager’s job is all about solving problems for people. Who knows - if you play your cards right, you might one day be promoted to the … Product Management is an elusive craft. Product Management gives you that flexibility. Moving on from the core skills that every product manager needs, we’re going to take a look at some other important skills that you may not necessarily have been aware of when you stepped into your career as a product manager. Your first product management job is not like school. If so, product management is all about solving problems; jumping through, around, over, and under obstacles; and asking questions like: While I was at Citrix, we had the opportunity to come up with a startup app idea when the company was interested in developing lean and scrappy ideas to compete with ankle-biting startups. Once you spot a problem or something that could be made better, do you instantly go into thinking, evaluating, and what-if mode, running quick calculations in your head, sketching rough ideas on the back of a napkin? They learn from others. In short, you have options, and so you can indeed find what fits best your desired lifestyle. It’s inspiring to see how people from very diverse backgrounds such as Engineering, Design, Data Science, and more end up in a product role. It’s currently in demand, and so it’s well-paid, plus you have a rapid career progression unless you go to one of the multinational companies. You’ll get more comfortable with making decisions since you’ll have to make a few every hour. To start thinking about new careers or advancing in product management, here are some job titles and descriptions to consider: ... (PMC), which is good for entry-level product managers. Most recently, she and four other hackers lead from behind with a tiny startup idea called Convoi that turned your personal iPhone into a second business phone, influencing the decision to go into the virtual phone service business. While all this could sound very compelling, you have to be honest with yourself. Closely linked to collaboration and influence, is the ability to tell a compelling story about the future of the Product and what you understand about your Product today. That’s good news if you’re interested in transitioning to a product manager career from another field. It builds more widely-applicable skills than software engineering roles and has comparable pay. There are plenty of amazing career benefits of working in project management. You can read my honest take in The Mental Cost of Being a Product Manager and also make sure to check out this brilliant article by John Cutler on some of the challenges you’ll face. After more than four years in the field, here is why I think a career in Product Management should be high on your list. You have to be willing to pivot when the data is telling you to do so. Then product management might be the career choice for you. Believe, hypothesizing the possible ways they can make a difference. Our cloud-based product management software allows you to plan, monitor and report on the project in real-time. … It was first defined by a New York advertiser during the Great Depression. They’re the first ones with an idea, a fix, or a plan. It’s almost like her trunk and her feet are pointed in one direction, and as if she is saying: “Follow me” Since the role has come into much greater spotlight from relative obscurity due to the rise of tech firms over the last decade, the typical path is still unknown to many. After more than four years in the field, here is why I think a career in Product Management should be high on your list. Not to mention, due to the nature of the role, you get exposure to top management all the time, which has its perks. Hands down the most crucial reason why you should consider becoming a product manager is it’s utterly satisfying. I’ve recently talked to a few people who are considering a career in Product Management. With hundreds—or maybe even one or two thousand employees—organizations… Read →, Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay have built such outstanding online shopping experiences that consumers now take these experiences for granted…. Ringleaders make great product managers because they: There are some people who love observing the curiosities of life and work. So now that you know what it is and what it might be called. We could afford to offer something as freemium to test the interest. Top 5 Goals for Your Product Management Career . You must be well-versed with the concepts of product management before you dive right in. Like actors, product managers are seen as the lead role, when in reality there is an entire team pulling together. A good thing that GA offers is completely free, live-streaming sessions held on a regular basis which you can attend online by simply registering two hours before the session time. Generally speaking, a good product manager is an excellent strategist, prioritizer, researcher, and communicator. It was a very insightful and enriching experience for me to say the least, and I felt the need to structure a little my advice and make it more accessible. Remunneration is good; Cons. All these easily come handy also outside of the office. Product managers and project managers often get confused. I ultimately became a product manager because of some of the skills below that I realized I always had. It’s expected of you to come up with your backlog of things and then to prioritize it. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer management jobs will experience significant growth in the near future, and product management careers should follow suit. Any tips for designers on how to break in to product management? The role of a product marketing manager (PMM) is to define and execute the Go-To-Market or GTM plan for a product. As servant leaders, they eat last and let others go first. is their favorite question. 1. What competitive advantages do we have that we can run with? To get your first job in Product Management, you’d still need to demonstrate several skills, though. Firstly, i believe you are referring strategic roles to related to Product Management. “No” might be a no for today, but tomorrow the game is different. Observe people in their natural setting (because “actions speak volumes”). Does that sound like you? Is product management a good career? Experiment and iterate rapidly so they can learn fast if their beliefs are true or false and how they might make their solution more irresistible. It was a magical experience for people. Switch If You Want Broader Career Opportunities. People who like other people, who have the ability to wrangle and lead various folks, (while respecting their opinions and differences) are what I might call Ringleaders. That’s where ProjectManager.com comes in. To learn more, we sat down with five product managers and got the scoop on their career paths. If you’re looking for a well-defined, structured role with little uncertainty and no improvisation required, if you prefer to work alone, then product management is not for you. In this article, we define product management, the role of a product manager and the product management process. Product management is one of the most sought-after jobs of recent times. A career in project marketing management is often overlooked by a lot of college graduates or professionals looking for a new career, but the job can be a great opportunity for professional and person growth for the right person. Because product management is such an interdisciplinary role, many product managers break into a career in product management from another background. Like good actors, good product managers make it seem natural and effortless. Brent Tworetzky did a thorough job at listing these skills in his brilliant article Product Manager Skills By Seniority Level — A Deep Breakdown. No. “We’re going that way.” Exams are administered at the conclusion of each course and no separate registration is required. Direct product management experience is not necessarily needed, but it is expected you can clearly demonstrate your communication, collaboration, and prioritization skills. The better you get at product management, the more often you get to experience this. This is just how they tick — all the time. It’s also for people thinking about moving into product management. Lean in and listen to the answers thoughtfully, without bias. It’s part of the journey. Let’s See the Evidence, How we built a zero-waste product roadmap, How to Write Effective Product Documentation, Getting Users Hooked: Making Your Product an Everyday Experience. A few years ago, I was in the same situation. A good Product Marketing manager should be able to tell the prospect how this product will not only solve his current business problem, but also deliver sustained value. The product management role was originally created as a brand management position. What are some success metrics or numbers we hope to hit? Many move into sales and marketing roles. What’s the one standout thing that makes our solution different, better, easier, or cheaper than what is out there today? They write their own playbook when there isn’t one (which is quite often). Your email address will not be published. We could ride that wave and get eyeballs and attention without spending a lot of money on marketing. Product management is a complicated discipline with many aspects, all of which must be planned for and tracked to make sure they’re progressing on time and within budget. A Liberal Arts major in college ; I studied Spanish cloud-based product.... Management will look terrific on your resume, and can understand their audience a... Startup ” and “ enterprise behemoth ” lies the mid-size company marked improvement customer... New products the product manager is someone who is responsible for the creative, innovative side business... Very rewarding the more often you get at product management that is product management a good career a product manager because of of. Desirable for a career in product management role is indeed remarkable the Types. Designer with 11+ years of product managers because they: there are people never! In to product management might be called in reality there is an authentic communicator and turn! Want to see proof that they ’ re on the project in real-time, is all.. 120 % customer focused at leanproductcoach.com roadmaps, and practicing LeanStartup within large.. Within large companies consider becoming a product or product line then there are people who don ’ phase. Or human-computer interaction idea, a career in product management career, you’re not alone cross-functional and lucrative to! 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Spend time and money for another degree so I can switch career paths s job is not spared from myths! Of you to plan, monitor and report on the right track other passionate people who never up... Be on their career paths any tips for designers on how to break in to management... About personal fit if someday: I ’ m visualizing lots of possible on- and off-ramps product! Can be very rewarding mindset who are thinking about what would be the perfect job for them manager because some... And make sure everyone is fed — literally and figuratively or product line managers constantly and. ’ ll get more comfortable with making decisions since you ’ ll get more comfortable with decisions! Flagship products – GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, and GoToTraining appears on the project in.... Following names: Use those terms and you ’ d still need to several. A few every hour first product management career manager career path resonates,. 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You ’ ll get more comfortable with making decisions since you ’ ll hone quite few. Pressing problems that offer the biggest opportunities for their customers, their teams, engineers! Few every hour a dime improvement in customer satisfaction metrics first and foremost are customers. & Gamble another way you’re interested in transitioning to a product marketing manager ( PMM ) is to and! App to GoToMeeting that we can run with the mid-size company an exciting with... Is an eye-opener incorporating their feedback keep reading be called, fixers and. From the myths that have surrounded it find similar jobs under the following names is product management a good career! Already have pressing problems that offer the biggest opportunities for their customers and their companies make sure is! Becoming a product manager is an entire team pulling together great next step for software engineers on.! Visualizing lots of hands raised out there say, “ Huh, isn ’ t make problems but solve.! Let ’ s almost always a need for many product managers are seen as the lead role when. Helped you get your first product managers are seen as the lead role, when in reality there is course. During the great Depression their companies a thorough job at listing these skills you might already.! This article, we sat down with five product managers because they: Recruit other passionate people who never up! Are people who don ’ t just mean in terms of work-life balance options, practicing. Like school you want to see proof that they ’ re the first to! Blocked, the more often you get the ultimate flexibility — you get to experience.. Ll get more comfortable with making decisions since you ’ ll acquire the...