4 Recruiting Tips for Students Aspiring to be Product Managers

4 Recruiting Tips for Students Aspiring to be Product Managers

Last week I had the opportunity to return to my alma mater to help out with campus recruiting. It was both humbling and eye-opening to realize that I was now on the other side of things – I’d originally gotten my product management internship (which led to my full-time PM offer) at that same job fair!

While entry-level product management roles tend to be harder to find, in recent years more and more companies are offering these positions. Better yet, these PM opportunities are not just at college job fairs, they’re becoming more prevalent at other career fairs and recruiting events as well.

In this post I’ll go over some tips for aspiring product managers, based on my personal experience interacting with people at the job fair who were interested in my company’s PM role. My goal is to identify key factors that set the best candidates apart from the less memorable candidates. A lot of these tips are also best practice for job fairs and recruiting in general, so read on to make sure you have these in your job-hunting arsenal. Continue Reading

Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research

Qualitative vs Quantitative Research

One of the most important aspects of delivering a solid product is making sure a lot of research goes into the effort. Given the limited time and money a project has, it’s essential to understand the aspects that should go into your product for the best possible end user experience. In this post, we’ll be going over quantitative vs. qualitative research, including their differences and when to employ each kind of research.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research includes A/B testing, fake door testing, and following patterns.

A/B testing tests changes on the page against the current design. For example, half of our customers would see a blue button while the other half would see our current grey button. If the blue button shows a higher click-through rate, we know that the change is an improvement. Continue Reading

An Intro to the Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Minimum Viable Product

At my company I frequently hear the term “MVP” being used by PMs, developers, and designers alike. What exactly does this mean, and why is it so important for agile software development? MVP stands for minimum viable product and is a development technique in which a new product gets just enough core features for it to function.

The goal of the MVP is to quickly get feedback from customers and improve the product without having to invest a lot of time or money that could potentially go to waste. From the customer’s interaction with the MVP, the product can then go through cycles of improvement that result in a full-featured product that customers will love.

The term MVP is by no means boxed-in to just software development and writing code. Take a look at some famous examples of tech entrepreneurs using an MVP to validate and improve upon their early products: Continue Reading

What is the Agile Methodology?

What is the Agile Methodology?

Earlier this week, we discussed the Waterfall methodology and today we’re going to go over another popular methodology in the industry called Agile. Agile is an extremely iterative approach to product development based on the Lean methodology that rapidly delivers a product in small batches.

“Agile is an iterative approach to product development that delivers a product in small batches.”

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Many new startups find Agile to be a preferred methodology because Agile relies on a high level of customer involvement and thus the product is much more likely to be in tune with what the market wants when the product finally ships.

 Traditionally, large companies with complex products (think Microsoft and their operating system or Nasa and a space rocket) couldn’t launch their software in pieces or else the entire product wouldn’t work properly. These companies had to ship products in a predictive manner by carefully planning through all customer use cases / edge cases. Continue Reading

What is the Waterfall Methodology?

Waterfall Methodology

When starting new projects, companies face a decision of choosing which development methodology to use and one methodology that has historically been very popular is the Waterfall methodology. Development methodologies are simply a way to organize the workflow of product (usually software) development and there are pros and cons to each methodology. In this post, we’ll discuss the strengths and weaknesses of one specific methodology: Waterfall.

The Waterfall approach is a sequenced method of events that usually follow:

  1. Idea
  2. Analysis
  3. Design
  4. Development
  5. Test
  6. Final Product

A team will first come up with an idea which they will analyze in order to determine and prioritize business needs and requirements. Next, they focus on the design phase where the business needs are translated into technical requirements (i.e. decisions about which tech stack to use). Once all of these business / technical needs are finalized, the team can begin the code development. After development, the team begins code, systems, and user acceptance testing in order to fix any issues before they deliver the final product. Continue Reading

Maintaining a Product After Launch

Maintaining a Product After Launch

The launch celebration is over, the product is live, and there’s finally time to take a (quick) breather after weeks of intense work. But what happens after a product launches?

The product manager still has a large role in maintaining a product after it launches, and this post will provide a high-level overview and cover several aspects of the post-launch phase.

Retrospective

Perhaps one of the most important immediate steps to take after a product launches is to conduct a retrospective with the team that worked on the product. There are many ways to approach this but most commonly the group discusses the following:

  1. What went well
  2. What could have been improved
  3. Actionable steps for future projects

The retrospective is important because it gets the group talking and allows everyone to reflect on their efforts and voice their concerns or suggestions for improvement. This aligns with agile methodology because the goal is to improve with each new iteration. Continue Reading