Career development in software product development and management


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My Ignite talk on how to develop your career when you are a Product Developer or Manager. Like a Terry Gilliam movie, it starts slowly and then ends in a blinding paroxysm of violence, except for the violence.

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Career development in software product development and management

  1. Career Development in ProductTy Ahmad-Taylor
  2. ProductEssentialsLet’s take it as agiven that productexists as the fulcrum/linchpin betweenbusiness goals andengineering. Thislumps UX andcreative into‘engineering’ forreasons ofexpediency.BusinessEngineeringProduct
  3. TheProductProcessThis may be receivedwisdom, but it bearsestablishing what Iam talking about,when we describewhat product peopleactually do. This isthe overall productprocess, and itincludes the entirecompany.ProblemMarketMarket sizeThesisMVPValidationRinse/repeat
  4. Whence productThe sports model, or . . .Coach QB LinemenWRRBGM Product EngineeringUX/DesignBusinessdevelopmentand sales. . . The Ty-Maslow modelGMProductEngineeringUX/Design BusinessThis model has business leading the effort, and product as the“QB.” It is one way to think about you role in your business.This is my preferred lens, where product sits at themiddle of three legs of a slightly unbalanced stool.
  5. ProductDevelopersProblemMarketMarket sizeThesisMVPValidationRinse/repeatProduct developers should ownthis.
  6. ProductManagersProblemMarketMarket sizeThesisMVPValidationRinse/repeatProduct managers should ownthis.
  7. Product LeadersDo all of the above as well as drive the business goals/define the business goals.They are super-efficient but also are people-people.They are responsible for the customer experience and programming thecustomer experience.
  8. Product StrategistsThese people think of pretty lights.I am not sure what they do.There is no product without actually rolling up one’s sleeves.
  9. Managing or not‣ If you view management as a chore, youshouldn’t manage‣ The best product people are the bestmanagers in addition to knowing productbecause product is multidisciplinary‣ If you don’t want to manage, you could be aproduct architect‣ Management should be about clearing a pathfor your staff to be successful, presuming thatthey are good and work hard‣ Management is not just other product people,but engineers and UX‣ You are the lynchpin for the customerexperience.
  10. Hope is not a plan‣ Coined by AndersonCooper‣ We can’t hope that ourcareers will work out‣ It takes active planning‣ I have told my menteesthat this means: plantseeds where you wanttrees to grow‣ You can’t be upset withyour office for notplanning your future; thatis your responsibility
  11. Getting a plan‣ Network‣ Advice on your options‣ A sponsor‣ A mentor (or two)‣ If Product people can’tcreate a career plan,then shame on us
  12. 1Mentors‣ They can makeintroductions‣ Lay out career options‣ Help with salarynegotiations‣ Assistance managing upand down
  13. 2 Sponsors‣ Usually have adirect connectionto your workplace‣ Put you up forjobs you don’teven know about‣ Keep an eye outfor you in adifferent group ordivision‣ Also known asyour rabbiConsigliereClue needer
  14. 3 Reading‣ Get a feed reader,or use Twitter‣ You should knowmore about yourmarket thananyone else.‣ If you don’t, youshould be inanother market
  15. 4Learning‣ Go toconferences inyour field
  16. 5Networking‣ Go out, see whatothers are doing,volunteer.‣ Product, bydefinition, is aboutthe userexperience, writlarge.‣ Don’t wear your“party shirt”
  17. 6 Informational meetings‣ Take people forcoffee.‣ It is low cost andhigh value‣ If they don’t likecoffee, meet themfor breakfast
  18. The Netflix model?‣ Interview with anothercompany once a year‣ Unclear if this yieldsgreat results‣ A lot of effort withunclear benefit‣ Could tarnish yourreputation
  19. The overall mix for your Plan1. Mentors2. Sponsors3. Networking4. Informationalinterviews5. Reading6. Learning
  20. Your goal foryour 40sLike a boss, you want to . . .1. Name your company2. Name your position3. Name your city4. Name your salary
  21. My contribution, to this jam‣ Career development is your responsibility‣ Product is new, and thus the efforts togrow your career are new‣ Pick your passions‣ See my other decks‣ How to Choose a Mentor‣ How to Choose Your Next Product Job