Kim Scott is the author of the NYT & WSJ bestseller, 15% off Career Coaching | Use code CYBER15 through Dec 13th |, Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity. Only a really self-aware and unusually honest person would have the courage to ask this question in the first place. Melbourne Product Leaders talking about what makes a good Product Manager A Good Product Manager is an awesome collaborator. It could seem a little unrealistic to achieve. In their “The State of the American Manager” study, Gallup found that half (50%) of all Americans have left a job to “get away from their manager at some point in their career.” We've said it before, but it begs repeating: employees leave managers, not companies. In the spirit of fairness, transparency and mainly to confuse my brain in true product manager fashion I will look at both sides of this argument. ): 1. The Product Manager and Product Marketing Manager are a Team. When supervisors are unsure of themselves and their team, they inevitably try to maintain as much control over the work output as they can. If you’re in sales, channel your energy into developing your sales skills and landing bigger deals. So exactly how many ideas/initiatives or proposals see the light of day. On the Product Management side, while it’s less about culture, a Product Manager must have great communication skills to clearly state the goals to the people that are building, supporting and selling the product. I can totally relate. What does my CPO/VP want to do for this release? I also don’t approve of how the warehouse staff has been treated throughout this crisis. Being a manager caused me to feel disconnected from what career analyst Daniel Pink has identified as the three primary motivators of behavior: autonomy, mastery … They “get” sales. Many of these obstacles will require them to employ new tactics, new tools, and new processes — often with less time than either of you would like for a smooth transition. he said, I’m a product guy I really just want to work with product and talk to customer and engineers that’s what I really love. you say you have been practicing the craft for over a decade, you do not indicate how long you have been at your current gig. Here are 6 things I learned about being a project manager — things I didn’t know back in 2000 when I started out. Just like an architect helps build roads and buildings, I help in creating digital products from the beginning. Facts must always trump opinion in decision-making. Another option is making an effort to try and stop hating your manager. I Hate Being Sexy but I'm a Product Manager So I Can't Help It : Product Manager Notebook Funny Product Manager Gifts for Women by ProductManager Creations. They believe that they need to know every detail in order to perfect their end product. ( And hate myself in the process) I will hope to move the needle one small thing at a time. Product managers work closely with engineering on the technical specifications and ensure that teams have all of the information they need to deliver a complete product to market. This month marks a year of being a full-time product manager and I’m not going to mince my words. It’s not far off. Stefan Balcanu, Brand Manager at L’Oreal . Product management is a great way for non-technical professionals to join the tech boom. Few things will burn you out as quickly as being a manager if you don’t enjoy the one-on-ones and the career conversations that you need to have with your direct reports. Learn to deal graciously with differing ideas and personalities, and always draw the team back to the facts that will ultimately decide your direction. Finally and key in terms of getting buy-in and promoting collaboration, Product Managers also need to make sure that the decision making process is clear and available while listening to people’s opinions. Finally a word of advice. Product managers, in contrast, are responsible for healthy functioning across all three product vertices. A product manager is a mini-CEO of sorts. As we grow, it’s important to remain agile and flexible with our approach-but it’s not always easy to keep growing while maintaining the best of our startup DNA! Photo credit: Death to The Stock Photo. Becoming a manager adds a facet to your job that, more likely than not, you were never trained to do. Far from it, if a recent online survey by Amplicate is any indication: 51 percent of the respondents expressed hate for project managers and project management. Analytical Skills . “The majority of PM jobs involve you driving forward some relatively small dimension of the product, with little meaningful control over resourcing, zero actual reporting authority over anyone, nor much, if any, say in the budgeting process — all within the confines of some larger organizational superstructure that you are subject to, rather than master of.” — MatBalez. I’m a product manager at an apparel company, and the whole place is awful. Just like CEOs are surrounded by a team of other experts, Product works on a daily basis with at minimum Engineering, Design and Marketing functions if not more. In this article: 1. Here is a great quote from Daniel Elizalde over at techproductmanagement.com about this, “ In my experience, if I’m able to push through 50% of the ideas I have, then I’m doing a great job.”, 4. For product managers, you have your user conference, Dreamforce, F8, Gartner or other industry events where you must show your prowess without letting out too much of your strategy. Being a product manager is not about getting wrapped up in the fact that you have “manager” in your title. If you’re really wondering what makes a good product manager, start wondering about your customer. In short, a product manager’s job is all about solving problems for people. I hate people now. What about when you are building out your business case? Gain relevant work experience. Towards the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019, I wanted a career change. Yes I can but there will not be a need to do any of that. Few things will burn you out as quickly as being a manager if you don’t enjoy the one-on-ones and the career conversations that you need to have with your direct reports. There are no barriers to entry – and it’s a role where you can make a real tangible impact at your organization. Being a manager caused me to feel disconnected from what career analyst Daniel Pink has identified as the three primary motivators of behavior: autonomy, mastery and purpose. Now it’s time to step up, make some changes, and advocate for yourself. Your letter may be published in an article on The Muse. There is a complete vocabulary to learn I’m forced to make decisions based on other people’s past decisions just to be consistent. Analytical skills follow on the heels of strategic thinking; it's about researching and analyzing the right data to make product decisions with profit in mind.This is a data-driven skill rather than acting on instinct or innate response. This article is part of our monthly Ask an Expert series—a column dedicated to helping you tackle your biggest career concerns. When you have functional expertise and focus on deepening your skills, you can have an extremely satisfying career. 0 Ratings ; 0 Want to read I worked as a Product Support staff for about 2 years+ and I enjoyed what I did. To start, I would encourage you to ask yourself what it is you don’t like. In fact, nine out of 10 leaders believe they do not have the necessary skills to manage. Don’t be surprised if your domineering manager is relatively new to the ranks of management. But you also get to be accountable for every up and down of your product. So, if you are a PM yourself or do PM as part of your role, it’s probably a good idea to proactively address the concerns. Below, we’ll cover the important soft skills that every PM should master. And a bad manager can make employees leave in waves. This can specially be painful if you enter a company with a culture that is siloed so everyone does whatever they want, or one that values seniority/experience so much that you will have to prove yourself over and over again, one that values status-quo or simply one where product management is new and misunderstood. A product manager combines business, technology, and design in order to discover a product that is valuable, feasible, and usable. There is no need to specialize (but I could if I wanted to) 4. CEOs are the same in that they rely on the other C-Level folks who are supposed to be the experts in their areas. Your product manager has to be willing to adjust if they want the product to succeed. You will nod and smile and say as the CEO does. It’s a decent enough explanation for a position which can be difficult to describe. Product Managers are acknowledged as leaders, but it was clear from the discussion that command-and-control style management is out and servant leadership is in. 6 – Changing Market Dynamics Impacting Product Management 3. Each role requires the practitioner to make the best use of those resources to achieve a larger goal, knowing that he or she will never be able to satisfy everyone’s needs. The hours are never-ending, and there’s even less respect for personal time now that we’re all working from home. This is one of the most exciting things about being a product manager. That might be your best case where some P&L might be needed, but that is actually going to be a forecast full of assumptions so not technically a true P&L. I hated my job before the pandemic, and now I hate it even more. Welcome to the real Product Management. If your company does not provide a good career path for individual contributors, look for one that does. Pro: the pay is great and sometimes you get to boss people around if you’re in a management role. Here is a rather accurate if disheartening and flat description of your first 3–5 years as a product manager. But I’ll offer my 2 cents as a product person (who generally likes her job, but not always! In my experience, if I’m able to push through 50% of the ideas I have, then I’m doing a great job. It’s not far off. Being a product manager at Canva has taught me to move fast and make high impact decisions that move the needle, even when there’s uncertainty. The best advice I can give is to never consider that you have done enough. This will likely disqualify you altogether. By developing product management skills like strategic planning and managing large teams, you’re also building a resume that could land you a VP or C-level role in the future. I’m sure you could be the nicest person on earth, but this answer gives me a red flag that you don’t know Product Management very well and/or that you might not be a team player. I believe both roles must be able to ask the correct questions from these different functions to get to the best answer. There is no point in your brand management career in which you should stop asking questions. The hours are never-ending, and there’s even less respect for personal time now that we’re all working from home. CEOs communicate internally to employees, and help set the tone and the culture of the company. You are the evangelist. If you are responsible for hiring a product manager or work with a product manager, here are 9 qualities that make a great product manager: Strategic Thinker. I Hate Being Sexy but I'm a Product Manager So I Can't Help It : Product Manager Notebook by ProductManager Creations, 2020, Independently Published edition, in English Product Management is not the expert in any of these fields but must incorporate and work with these people to have the final product. But the key is to be able, with time, to ask the right ones. A re you considering a career in Product Management, but feeling lost as to how you’re supposed to gauge whether or not the role would be a good fit for you?. Is it all the paperwork and bureaucracy that a lot of companies impose on managers? As a product manager, they’re going to continue to find new obstacles in their path. At it’s best, this statement transmits in an extremely simplistic manner this very ambiguous and amorphous role and at worst it sets incorrect expectations to people who have never done the role and/or attracts the wrong people. What do you do when you realize that you're not cut out to be a manager (you simply don't like it) but you're in the role already—and leaving the position would entail a huge pay cut and/or less access to strategy planning? It would always be different; 2. I stopped the presenter and polled the room about how many people actually had a chance to set the price. Obtaining a role as a product marketing manager requires a bachelor’s degree in marketing, business or other related field.Some employers prefer or require a master’s degree in business administration. The exciting thing about product management is that there’s no one road to becoming a product manager. Pro: the pay is great and sometimes you get to boss people around if you’re in a management role. The only P&L responsibility in my life is my Treasurer role in a local non-profit. For some positions, you may be required to complete on-the-job training before the employer will consider you for a managerial position. There were 3 people out of 40. A product manager is a mini-CEO of sorts. In any case my objective is to clarify and dispel the notions of why Product Management is seen as a role where you, millennial, can be “the CEO”. Usually, the increased impact you have translates to increased pay and involvement in strategic decisions—which is what you seem to enjoy most about management. Unlike a CEO, I have no P&L responsibility. I also don’t approve of how the warehouse staff has been treated throughout this crisis. If you’re an engineer, focus on learning new technologies or working on bigger, more complex projects. Remember, you’ve found yourself in the driver’s seat now. Check out part 2 for an in-depth look at essential PM skills like coding, street statistics, and running more effective meetings!. Sorry to hear you feel that way. Am I interested in these numbers? I hated my job before the pandemic, and now I hate it even more. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to have increasing impact and grow in your career without being a manager. Job Description vs Reality of a Brand Manager’s Life . Counteracting the hate Read about what product managers do and how to get into this lucrative career. Usually what people mean by this is that a Product Manager has to oversee a lot of different teams, the way a CEO does. As product manager, you need to keep the team and your decisions centered on facts. Generally, the product community has a very Love-Hate relationship with this phrase. If it’s the former, try asking for some administrative support or finding ways to mitigate some of that nonsense. All sorts of companies are recognizing that some of their best people have no interest in managing and are creating roles that allow them to make a sizable impact without becoming managers. I don’t have time to fix how that thing displays in 20 places I’m just going to keep doing it the same way it has been wrongly done. ), 2. In some markets, the role has been split into two: the product manager and product marketing manager. So yeah this one doesn’t happen either. Con: you have to deal with all sorts of personalities and sometimes they are conflicting personalities and you’re stuck in between all of it. Sorry. The product manager and the politician both get an allotted amount of resources. 3. First, hats off to you. There’s no official certification you need to enter this field. I have no budget or resources which means no authority. Either case both are big no-nos. Can I read a financial statement or a 10-K? I have a lot of design debt on me. How to try not to hate your boss anymore. I hate people now. The technology would change; 3. Developers don’t report to you, nor does anyone in the other teams you are working with. And a bad manager can make employees leave in waves. I guarantee it. In interviews do not say you want to be in Product Management because it’s like being the CEO of your own product. Their main role is to communicate clearly the situation and the goals, including what, where, why. In a healthy organization, product management and product marketing work closely together, and their complementary responsibilities help take a product from the earliest strategy sessions all the way to … The product manager does this to work towards particular goals, which all aim to improve the product or the overall solution delivered to the customer. But it’s by focusing on a product’s big picture—rather than being the boss—that product managers make the most dramatic impact. The product manager is also responsible for defining the requirements for each feature and the desired user experience. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to have increasing impact and grow in your career without being a manager. In their “The State of the American Manager” study, Gallup found that half (50%) of all Americans have left a job to “get away from their manager at some point in their career.” We've said it before, but it begs repeating: employees leave managers, not companies. If your life has led you to creative thinking, problem-solving, and curiosity, it’s quite possible product management is the perfect career choice and you’d be a perfect fit for a role where you can practice, learn and grow a ton. But I’m not about to make a one-sided argument. Well I think the odds are better than in Advertising. Prior to Product Management. You must inspire people to want to buy your product, you must sell, market, and promote your product. If you fall into the latter category, you probably need to avoid managerial roles—and, I’d recommend leaving your current position. What you can do, however, is trying to perceive your manager as a human, not a boss. The Cons. I can’t choose my vision/ideas totally on my whims/desires, My vision for the part of the product I’m responsible for needs to be aligned to the overall company strategy. But for the few that pass the disillusionment phase, it’s still pretty exciting and crazy all the time. I’m going to outline 3 ways in which the PM role is like a CEO and the 4 ways were it vastly diverges from a CEO-like role. If a user doesn’t understand your product, that’s on you, not Marketing. It’s a subtle distinction. Well certainly. There is something shameful for me on this line, maybe it’s the bragging maybe it’s the cynic in me (which coincidentally has increased since I got into Product Management). I don’t have any idea how many bookings, ACV or TCV we had, what was the deal size of each and I certainly don’t tell Sales what to do. He called me one day and just said, Julia I hate being a CEO. Getting from product strategy to product roadmap, 6 customer surveys to grow your SaaS company, Move over product manager, introducing the Behavioral Product Manager, Management: RICE Scoring Model for Prioritization, Changing the Conversation about Product Management vs. UX, A framework to define your product metrics. It might be better or worse but it’s what you are going to be doing whether you like it or not. So, if there are some processes you could refine or other things you could do to help eliminate frustrating bottlenecks, you have at least some power to make changes. So, if you are a PM yourself or do PM as part of your role, it’s probably a good idea to proactively address the concerns. The product manager is responsible for the product vision, roadmap, definition, and successful launch. (Queue: young “product” guy with *** all over his eyes) To be true, yes product management is amazing, but please for the love of whoever you believe in, don’t say the CEO crap again. I still wouldn’t change it for the world. I have yet to see a standard job description for a product manager, because each role is ultimately defined by the size, type of product, stage, industry, and even culture of the company. Product management is done to: All letters to Ask a Expert become the property of Daily Muse, Inc and will be edited for length, clarity, and grammatical correctness. You might convince them sometimes, but I bet that it’s a back and forth, pull and push until you settle in something that isn’t potentially what you had envisioned. The least interesting times for product managers is when they're working alone. The good news is that you have a number of choices, and you are already thinking very clearly about what you do and don’t want to do. I’m a product manager at an apparel company, and the whole place is awful. Sure, you get to call the shots. ( Actually I’m on a crusade to ban this.) I … I originally wanted to be a Product Manager because as a support lead I saw a role that was making decisions and getting things done, how they wanted, when they wanted, and with authority. Yep, it’s true. I don’t have total control over all the aspects of my product. After all, you can’t simply choose whether you want to hate someone or not. Some professionals find that product management pulls them too far away from the hands-on work that they enjoyed in their previous roles. Editor’s note: This is part 1 of 2. Each role requires the practitioner to make the best use of those resources to achieve a larger goal, knowing that he or she will never be able to satisfy everyone’s needs. Actually I said it before, but I will say it again. Far from it, if a recent online survey by Amplicate is any indication: 51 percent of the respondents expressed hate for project managers and project management. If you’re in operations, look for the thorniest problem your team is struggling with and fix it. Other than that I only deal with numbers in relation to points and velocity. You have responsibility to deliver but no real authority to demand people to do so. A colleague recently likened product management to being a politician. The product manager and the politician both get an allotted amount of resources. If you are responsible for hiring a product manager or work with a product manager, here are 9 qualities that make a great product manager: Strategic Thinker. Our coaches are excited to answer all of your burning questions, and you can submit one by emailing us at editor(at)themuse(dot)com and using Ask a Candid Boss in the subject line. (Bonus! Either on meet-ups or General Assembly, Lean Startup, Design Thinking or whatever your latest thing is, there is someone who will mention the awesomeness of being a product manager and how you get all this ownership and it’s like being a mini CEO. A CEO is the exact opposite because he/she is the major boss of everyone. As software continues to eat the world, the product manager has become an increasingly important role. In all cases, measure the impact your work has. What markets are they going after? Several people have asked me for advice on the topic, so before you jump into taking a pricey Product Management course — and for everyone who may not have a “PM friend of a friend” to … We have all heard this analogy about Product Management. Pursue education. Counteracting the hate Or, is it the emotional labor that is so much a part of being a great boss? Con: you have to deal with all sorts of personalities and sometimes they are conflicting personalities and you’re stuck in between all of it. The product marketing manager focuses more on outbound marketing and coordination, while the product manager tends to focus a majority of their efforts on internal coordination, particularly with the firm’s research and development or engineering teams. Interesting question, wish the Forbes article had gone into more detail to answer it. CEOs communicate externally with every type of stakeholder. A colleague recently likened product management to being a politician. A day in the life of a product manager often involves being bombarded from all sides: requests from clients, questions from employees, instructions from the … !At a recent Product Camp in Austin I went to a talk about the leverage power as a Product Manager which was nothing but 4 P’s and STP, awesome dude. In interviews do not say you want to be in Product Management because it’s like being the CEO of your own product.