The Ultimate Associate Product Manager Guide

One of the best ways to break into the field of product management is to start as an associate product manager (APM).

After all, the associate product manager role is set up as an apprenticeship that leads into a future product manager role.

When I first started in product management, I had no idea what associate product managers were, and how they fit into the broader career trajectory for PMs. Therefore, I’ve put together this guide to dive deep into the associate product manager role.

I’ll cover the following:

  1. What is an associate product manager, and what do they do?
  2. Why do organizations even have associate product managers?
  3. How does the associate product manager fit into the broader PM career trajectory?
  4. How much does an associate product manager make?
  5. How can you best position yourself to get this role?
  6. When can you expect to be promoted to a full Product Manager?

Let’s dive in!

What is an associate product manager?

An associate product manager works with one or more product managers and enables them to do their work more effectively.

Associate product managers hold many of the same responsibilities that product managers do: collecting quantitative product data and metrics, synthesizing customer research, gathering requirements, and coordinating with stakeholders. Continue Reading

Product Manager Career Paths

Members of the PMHQ Slack community regularly host awesome events for product managers to swap tips and learn from one another.

In San Francisco, Vinay Melwani (Product Manager at HouseCanary) has organized a monthly morning meetup called AM | PM. Attendees answer a thought-provoking question-of-the-month in a round-robin fashion and reflect on each other’s responses.

Below is our summary of January’s AM | PM meetup!

Our question of the month for January 2018 was:

“What viable career paths exist for product managers?” 

Below are the different paths that we explored as a group.

Vice President of Product

Vinay commented that the traditional path of a product manager is to rise the ranks internally: from product manager to director of product, then to VP of product. Continue Reading

Blended Metrics

In the PMHQ Slack community, we regularly get thought-provoking questions that we feel should be explored in-depth and documented for future reference. We’re starting a new set of Q&A posts called Highlights to dive into these kinds of questions, and enable everyone in the community to revisit the answers and contribute further!

“What do you think about creating blended metrics (a series of metrics, rolled-up into one)? How do you generally decide the weight to give to each particular metric in the blended metric?

For example, let’s say we want to improve “User Enjoyment” for a travel booking site. Imagine that we already have the following raw metrics: net promoter score (NPS), look-to-book (percentage of people who make a purchase out of all people who visited), repeat bookings, and referrals. Continue Reading

Product Development Q&A and Best Practices

In the PMHQ Slack community, we regularly get thought-provoking questions that we feel should be explored in-depth and documented for future reference. We’re starting a new set of Q&A posts to dive into these kinds of questions, and enable everyone in the community to revisit the answers and contribute further!

How can I be well-organized on JIRA for multiple platform products? We have mobile, back-end, API, admin panel, etc., so when we start the sprint all our focus is based on user experience, but we need to improve all our products. How should we handle this?”

– Anonymous

First, it depends on how your product teams are structured. Do you have a single team that is tackling all of these initiatives simultaneously, or do you have dedicated teams? Let’s walk through how to organize JIRA for either team structure. Continue Reading

Product Leadership Best Practices

In the PMHQ Slack community, we regularly get thought-provoking questions that we feel should be explored in-depth and documented for future reference. We’re starting a new set of Q&A posts called Highlights to dive into these kinds of questions, and enable everyone in the community to revisit the answers and contribute further!

“As I continue to grow into a leader of product managers, I’m finding myself disconnected from the actual product work that’s taking place. I should mention that I also manage the design team, so I’m strapped for time, as you can imagine.

At any given moment, I want to know what’s going on with the PMs and their work so that I can be helpful, but I don’t always have the time to sit-down and debrief each week. Continue Reading

Product Review Meetings

In the PMHQ Slack community, we regularly get thought-provoking questions that we feel should be explored in-depth and documented for future reference. We’re starting a new set of Q&A posts called Highlights to dive into these kinds of questions, and enable everyone in the community to revisit the answers and contribute further!

“How do you conduct quarterly product review meetings with the executive team? Do you have a good outline or example to share what you include and in what order?” 

– Ellen Last

As a product manager, it’s crucial to keep executives in the loop regarding product direction, achievements, and blockers. While different organizations schedule different cadences for product review meetings (some review monthly, others review quarterly), product managers must ensure that they are communicating effectively with the executive team. Continue Reading