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How to play & win the product management career game


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As a product manager, it is important to understand and be well versed with the rules and characteristics of the role just like one should know the rules of a game to win. Get to know those rules, my superpowers to write a fabulous resume and how to ace a PM interview!

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How to play & win the product management career game

  1. 1. Ankur Sharma How to Play & Win the Product Management Career Game
  2. 2. *Original fresco entitled "Ecce Homo"
  3. 3. @ankurdinesh Success Metrics ● More questions than confusion ● Build your perfect elevator pitch
  4. 4. @ankurdinesh About me ● Sr Director - Products ● 11+ years of building & scaling products from scratch ● Help startups on growth, platform issues and product. ● Alumni:
  5. 5. @ankurdinesh What Product Management is not? ● Product Management is not Project Management ● Product Management is not requirements gathering ● Product Manager is not a conventional Manager ● Product Management is not Marketing ● Product Management is not Deep Visual Design
  6. 6. @ankurdinesh What is Product Management?
  7. 7. @ankurdinesh So, what does a Product Manager do? ● Help team (and company) ship the right experience to users and deliver measurable benefits to org ● Drives: ○ Sprints ○ Roadmaps ○ Missions ○ Strategy
  8. 8. @ankurdinesh Growth Progression as PM ● Every PM starts as an individual contributor ● Typical PM hierarchy looks like: ● PMs often come from engineering, marketing, revenue as well
  9. 9. Different Types of PMs
  10. 10. @ankurdinesh Enterprise vs Consumer Product Management Enterprise Consumer Everything flows from the business model & buyers Everything flows from Users Sales/Subscription Matters Scale/Virality Matters Customer ≠ User Every customer is a user Reliability > Usability User Experience is King Longer sales & dev cycles Cycles usually < 6 months
  11. 11. @ankurdinesh Startup vs Big Companies Product Management Startups Big Companies Biggest Challenge: Resources Biggest Challenge: Prioritisation Build for growth Build for Scale Ad-hoc requirements run the project (Formal) Processes run the project Roadmap ~ 3-6 months Roadmap = 1-2 Years Focus on new features Focus on later stages of product lifecycle Product Vision = Founder(s)’ Vision Requirements are derived from competitive analysis and white spaces
  12. 12. @ankurdinesh How to build a Kick-Ass Resume! ● Make your accomplishments stand out by : Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z] ● Avoid Cardinal Mistakes: ○ Typos : Read your resume from bottom to top. Use Grammarly. ○ Length : 1 Page for 7 years of work experience ○ Formatting : 11pt Headline. 10 pt font. White paper, Black ink. Use Pdf ○ Lies : Google “Fired for lying on Resume” ● Have keywords in your Resume. Pepper them ● Don’t use photo & paragraph. Use bullets ● Don’t pay to write your Resume ● A/B test your Resume(s)
  13. 13. @ankurdinesh How to ace a PM Interview? ● Generate a career portfolio ● WRITE your answers ● Have a Plan B : A/B test your answers ● Always back your answers with proof ● Practise. Speak Aloud. Record Yourself.
  14. 14. @ankurdinesh How to get your foot in the door? ● Do things that don’t scale: ○ MBA ○ Stalk people. Ask for coffee. Do WhatsApp call. ○ Explore: Go to meetups ● Things which add up: ○ Write. Have a blog. Do product teardowns ○ Have an opinion (about products) ○ Read (a lot and everything which you can get your hands on) ○ Find a mentor
  15. 15. Your Career Portfolio
  16. 16. @ankurdinesh About Me | Experience | Success Stories ● Tell me about yourself ○ Most important question ● What’s your elevator pitch ● Your Strengths & Weaknesses ● When have you used massive amounts of data to drive a decision? ● Tell me about a business or product metric that you were responsible for and how you went about attaining it. ● Success Stories : ○ S. T. A. R (Situation, Task, Action, Result) ○ At least 2 each from your last 3 roles ○ Quantify - Metrics ○ Sell yourself!
  17. 17. @ankurdinesh Functional Skills = Framework! ● What your favorite product and why? ● Describe a time when you used data to make a decision. ● What’s a cool innovative technology or product that you’ve seen recently and why? ● How do you know when to cut corners to get a product out the door? ● Describe one of your failures. What would you do differently, given the chance? ● How do you prioritize? : RICE (Reach, Impact, Confidence, Effort) ● How do you know a product is well designed? ● What are pitfalls of being too reliant on hard data in product design? ● Your sales and marketing team came to you with a feature request, build it and a deal gets done, what do you do? ● How would you determine the price for piece of wearable technology? ● How do you decide what not to build? ● What aspects of product management do you find the least interesting and why? ● Tech Stuff : APIs, Microservices, PWA, React Native
  18. 18. @ankurdinesh People Skills ● How do you negotiate? ● How do you hire? ● How do you get a team to commit to a schedule? ● How do you work with Design / Engineering Team / Stakeholders ● Have you ever had a disagreement with a team member, and what was the outcome? ● How do you define a product to the engineer? ● How do you solve a tech blocker ● A product is ready to ship, but the UX Designer doesn’t approve of shipping because of an UX issue, what do you do?
  19. 19. @ankurdinesh Company Research ● Mission/Vision ● Culture ● Market & Industry : Where do you think the industry is going? Is it ripe for disruption? ● Competitors : What’s the competitive landscape and revenue model? What’s the value chain? ● Business Model : Can the company position itself for success and what does that mean for the product? ● Metrics & P&L ● State of Product : Experience it ● Recent News ● What do you want to build here and why? ● We’re thinking about expanding into XYZ business, should we? ● Personalised question for the interviewer
  20. 20. Appendix
  21. 21. @ankurdinesh Mental Model : Product Building ● Problem Statement ● Problem Hypothesis ● Hypothesis Validation ● Goals ● Product Flow
  22. 22. @ankurdinesh Other Mental Models ● Pirate : AARRR (Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, Revenue) ● STAR : S. T. A. R (Situation, Task (or problem), Action, Result) ● RICE (Reach, Impact, Confidence, Effort) ● Product / Market Fit ● Build vs Buy