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How to become a product manager

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1. What is a product manager?
2. 8 key traits to succeed as a product manager
3. 5 paths to becoming a product manager

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How to become a product manager

  1. 1. How to Become a Product Manager Isaac Souweine Head of Product Management @ Frank & Oak Presented to Real Fellowship June 20, 2014
  2. 2. I. what is a product manager?
  3. 3. product managers partner with devs, design and business to bring products to market that drive business value http://www.mindtheproduct.com/2011/10/what-exactly-is-a-product-manager/
  4. 4. product managers thrive in specialized organizations (=not early stage startups) PM Design Eng. MktngBD PMO UX VPs Customers Sales
  5. 5. and that diagram is a massive understatement PM design Eng. MktngBD PMO UX VPs Customers Sales BI INF Cust svc Ops HR FIN LAW M&A Strat
  6. 6. PM design Eng. MktngBD PMO UX VPs Customers Sales the context is appropriate considering who invented product management
  7. 7. and who practices it at scale today PM design Eng. MktngBD PMO UX VPs Customers Sales
  8. 8. II. what makes a good product manager?
  9. 9. 1. communication ● via email ● via slide decks ● in meetings ● in hallways ● rationally and emotionally
  10. 10. 2. analysis ● logical thinking (occam’s razor) ● versatile number crunching ● problem/solution mindset ● strategic mindset ● pattern recognition ● simplification
  11. 11. 3. grind ● keep the wheel moving ● Marissa Mayer style ● do whatever it takes
  12. 12. A 1% PM grinds it out. They do whatever is necessary to ship. They recognize no specific bounds to the scope of their role. As necessary, they recruit, they produce buttons, they do bizdev, they escalate, they tussle with internal counsel, they * http://www.quora.com/Product-Management/What-distinguishes-the-Top-1-of-Product-Managers-from-the-Top-10] a definition of grinding
  13. 13. 4. precision ● meeting agendas ● note taking ● specifications ● test plans ● bug reports ● god of small things
  14. 14. 5. versatility ● business ● design ● marketing ● technology
  15. 15. 6. curiosity ● technical curiosity ● vendor curiosity ● industry curiosity ● customer curiosity ● pure passion
  16. 16. 7. empathy ● customer empathy ● stakeholder empathy
  17. 17. 8. leadership ● lead by consensus (not fiat) ● lead by example ● shape a direction ● guide people
  18. 18. “how to hire a PM” 1. Hire all the smart people 2. Strong technical background 3. "Spidey-sense" product instincts 4. Leadership that's earned 5. Ability to channel multiple points-of-view 6. Give me someone who's shipped https://www.kennethnorton.com/essays/productmanager.html
  19. 19. III. how to become a product manager?
  20. 20. 1. be an engineer ● e.g. at Google ● e.g. Nima @ F&O ● tech as primary frame of reference ● for gregarious coders
  21. 21. 2. be a designer ● e.g. Dave Morin ● design/UX as primary frame of reference ● for products where look/feel are paramount
  22. 22. 3. be a marketer ● e.g. at FMCG ● e.g. at Yahoo ● e.g. Jeff @ F&O ● customer or business as primary frame of reference ● often includes b-school
  23. 23. 4. be a domain expert ● e.g. Dom @ F&O ● specific domain as frame ● often a B2B context
  24. 24. 5. be a CEO ● e.g. Nick D’Aloisio (Summly/Yahoo) ● e.g. Satya Witoelar (Koprol/Yahoo) ● product acquired path ● acqui-hire path
  25. 25. THANK YOU! @sonofsarah isouweine.com

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