Shreyas Doshi How To Get That Next Pm Job Svpma March 2010

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Shreyas Doshi, Product Manager at Google, shares an entertaining perspective on how to get that next product management job. Includes practical tips and stick figures!

Talk delivered in March 2010 to 100+ people at the Silicon Valley Product Management Association (SVPMA).

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Shreyas Doshi How To Get That Next Pm Job Svpma March 2010

  1. 1. HOW TO GET THAT NEXT PM JOB Shreyas Doshi Product Manager @ Google http://twitter.com/shreyas http://shreyasdoshi.typepad.com 1
  2. 2. Goal: actionable steps that will increase your chances of getting the right product management job 2
  3. 3. Disclaimer: Opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. They don’t necessarily reflect the views of my employer 3
  4. 4. 4
  5. 5. 3 key lessons learned from hiring and getting hired: 5
  6. 6. 6
  7. 7. 1. building credibility before you even walk through that door => priceless 7
  8. 8. 2. PM roles usually require prior experience: the catch-22 8
  9. 9. 9
  10. 10. 3. job hunting makes you smarter 10
  11. 11. So, what are hiring managers looking for? 11
  12. 12. take a step back: what does a product manager do? 12
  13. 13. Marty Cagan the product manager is responsible for discovering a product that is useful, usable, and feasible 13
  14. 14. Shreyas’ addendum: 14
  15. 15. the 5 essential attributes of PMs: 15
  16. 16. 1. has product sense 16
  17. 17. product sense = the ability to usually make the right product decisions - both macro and micro 17
  18. 18. 2. is smart 18
  19. 19. 3. gets things done 19
  20. 20. 4. is a culture fit 20
  21. 21. 5. has technical skills technical skills = has domain expertise + understands technology 21
  22. 22. Good PM 1. has product sense 2. is smart 3. gets things done 4. is a culture fit 5. has technical skills 22
  23. 23. the search: 23
  24. 24. where to look for PM jobs 24
  25. 25. the usual places... btw, LinkedIn works pretty well for PM jobs look and apply for new positions every day 25
  26. 26. start-up job search tip use crunchbase 26
  27. 27. Read more at: http://bit.ly/startupjobs 27
  28. 28. start a blog if you don’t have one 28
  29. 29. the accidental A/B test 29
  30. 30. 30
  31. 31. 31
  32. 32. A: more interesting conversations, references to blog posts, higher success rate 32
  33. 33. B: lower success rate 33
  34. 34. but, I can’t think of any topics to write about 34
  35. 35. observation: compared to other fields, theres almost no info. on the web on the practice of product management 35
  36. 36. 36
  37. 37. the search: transitioning into product management from other roles 37
  38. 38. first, be sure that you’ll enjoy product management 38
  39. 39. 39
  40. 40. 40
  41. 41. talk to at least 8 product managers about the good and (especially) the bad 41
  42. 42. still want to do this PM thing? 42
  43. 43. splendid. so what is the best place to go to become a PM? 43
  44. 44. wrong answer: business school 44
  45. 45. don’t fall for the deferred life plan the “MBA first, PM next” mindset is harmful 45
  46. 46. X an MBA degree is not an escalator. its a door-knob 46
  47. 47. confirm if your MBA expectations are realistic spend at least 20 hours with the best, free career research tool on the planet 47
  48. 48. ? 48
  49. 49. 49
  50. 50. 50
  51. 51. what is the best place to go to become a PM? 51
  52. 52. right answer: your current company 52
  53. 53. get hands-on PM experience at your current company. get the skills and perspective you’ll need for people to take you seriously when you apply for PM jobs How? 53
  54. 54. observation: PMs are super- busy people and can always use help from capable co- workers 54
  55. 55. 1. approach your PM - offer to help out be specific about what you’ll do, for how long, what the goal is 55
  56. 56. 2. shadow PMs at their core team meetings 56
  57. 57. 3. you already work on a product. become the biggest source of ideas for that product. implement them become “hard to ignore” 57
  58. 58. wait... this is too much work isn’t there an easier way? 58
  59. 59. its about being resourceful which is a key quality of PMs so treat this as a test of your PM-suitability 59
  60. 60. 4. take a (good) PM class. esp. useful for learning the PM vocabulary for your future interviews 60
  61. 61. do this for at least 6 months highlight this experience during your job search more doors will open for you now 61
  62. 62. the resume: 62
  63. 63. 1. the Summary is important for the go/no-go decision keep it short and real if you have technical background, mention it 63
  64. 64. remove the buzzwords e.g. fortune 500, synergies, C-level, CxO, product management executive, team player, cross- functional, strategically strategizing the strategies.. 64
  65. 65. impress with facts, not with big words that make you look important (because they don’t) 65
  66. 66. Bad: a visionary product management executive with vast strategic experience driving operational efficiencies at Fortune 100 enterprises with C-level visibility 66
  67. 67. ?? 67
  68. 68. Better: 5 years of experience building enterprise monitoring products for companies such as IBM, HP, Applied Materials. Products generated more than 200 million revenue 68
  69. 69. 2. Don’t write everything about your product and everything you did 69
  70. 70. three bullet points max: 70
  71. 71. 3. include hooks - things that pique the reader’s curiosity and become conversation points during the interview 71
  72. 72. e.g. 72
  73. 73. 4. include links e.g. info about your product, or link to the product itself, or even your blog posts 73
  74. 74. radical idea - include a small screenshot of your most important product 74
  75. 75. 5. clearly highlight career wins e.g. promoted to Group PM within X years, given Y additional responsibility 75
  76. 76. the interview: 76
  77. 77. the 3 types of PM interview processes 77
  78. 78. 78
  79. 79. 79
  80. 80. 80
  81. 81. the categories of questions in PM interviews: 81
  82. 82. 1. product-sense questions 82
  83. 83. 2. product management basics 83
  84. 84. e.g. what does a PM do what are the key challenges of the PM job how to prioritize features 84
  85. 85. 3. process-related 85
  86. 86. e.g. how to manage a complex launch how to deal with a difficult team member 86
  87. 87. 4. past projects or products 87
  88. 88. e.g. why did you choose X over Y how did you deal with Z failure 88
  89. 89. 5. brain teasers/problem- solving 89
  90. 90. e.g. Joe’s weight: 140 lbs weight of each stone: 5 lbs how can Joe get 3 stones across a bridge that can only take 150 lbs of load? 90
  91. 91. 6. domain expertise 91
  92. 92. e.g. how is company X positioned vs. company Y what are the 4 key pain points for customers in our vertical 92
  93. 93. 7. understanding of technology 93
  94. 94. look familiar? 94
  95. 95. 95
  96. 96. on technical questions: observation: engineering usually has huge say in the hiring decision 96
  97. 97. you must be able to explain the basics of the technologies your product depends on 97
  98. 98. e.g. for consumer-internet http, ssl, dns, html, ajax, javascript, cookies, GET, POST, web servers, .... 98
  99. 99. bad idea: saying “i am a business person. next question please” as a PM, technology is your business 99
  100. 100. on product-sense questions: e.g. your favorite product and why compare facebook and twitter 100
  101. 101. 101
  102. 102. true success = interviewer has learned something new from you today 102
  103. 103. on product exercises: some examples write a mini-PRD draw rough wireframes present a proposal on X 103
  104. 104. tips for success in product exercises: practice is key 104
  105. 105. Mark Twain It takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech 105
  106. 106. 1. clarify the objectives 2. cover the top issues first, then go into detail 3. show options considered 4. point out drawbacks of your choice okay to say “i don’t know” 106
  107. 107. practice - corollary: if you *absolutely love* a particular company, wait a bit before interviewing there 107
  108. 108. you’ll get noticeably better after your first 2-3 interviews elsewhere ensure you’re interviewing with that dream company after that 108
  109. 109. finally, you must know the company’s products really well. come up with ways you’d improve them. but you will be lacking a lot of context, so be aware of that 109
  110. 110. the choice: 110
  111. 111. congratulations, you have some offers 111
  112. 112. choose carefully 112
  113. 113. some PM jobs that (usually) suck 113
  114. 114. 114
  115. 115. 1. the PM without any engineers 115
  116. 116. Corollary: the PM who’s not in-charge of an actual product 116
  117. 117. 117
  118. 118. 2. the PM in a company that doesn’t consider engineering as a core strength 118
  119. 119. Result: engineering at such companies becomes a “service organization” - doesn’t attract good engineers - engineering isn’t engaged in the product 119
  120. 120. 120
  121. 121. 3. the PM in a company that doesn’t understand the role of Product Management 121
  122. 122. Corollary: the PM who reports into Marketing 122
  123. 123. Recap - heres what you learned today: 123
  124. 124. Rule #1: job hunting makes you smarter - so enjoy it 124
  125. 125. on transitions: know very well what you’re getting into 125
  126. 126. Rule # 2: you don’t know what you’re getting into unless you’ve spoken with 8 people who’ve gone through the same thing 126
  127. 127. learning about product management: only way to learn is to actually do the job 127
  128. 128. Rule # 3: do the job before you get the title, not the other way around 128
  129. 129. Rule # 4: MBA != MBA = 129
  130. 130. Rule # 5: best place to position yourself for your next career step is where you are now 130
  131. 131. transitions require planning: start 6-12 months before you have to make any transition 131
  132. 132. Rule # 6: keep your resume short, show you’ve worked on important products, use hooks 132
  133. 133. Rule # 7: build credibility even before they’ve met you. start a blog 133
  134. 134. succeeding in the interview: you now know what to expect prepare & practise 134
  135. 135. Rule # 8: join a company that gets prod mgmt, builds good products, has smart engineers 135
  136. 136. And finally ... 136
  137. 137. Once you have landed that dream PM job ... 137
  138. 138. make great products 138
  139. 139. That’s all Good luck! 139

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