Top 3 Skills to be a Great Product Manager

product manager skillsWhen I first started in product management, I had no idea what I was doing. I had just barely managed to land the job and now that I had gotten my foot in the door, I wasn’t sure what skills I needed to contribute tangible value to the team. Through the past year, I’ve learned a lot and I’ve managed to synthesize what I believe are the top 3 skillsets you should develop to be a great product manager.

1) Empathy

I’m a firm believer that you cannot succeed in this field if you do not have the capacity to understand the emotions of others around you. As a product manager, you simply deal with too many different stakeholders and having the empathy to understand everyone’s motives will allow you to cut through the noise, make the right trade-offs, and set a clear vision for your product. Continue Reading

How to Get a Job as a Product Manager

How to Get a Product Manager Job

Finding your first job as a product manager is just like the ever frustrating chicken and egg problem of getting your first job. Companies like to hire people with prior product management experience and it’s hard to get prior experience without first getting hired. We’ve compiled some advice on how to circumvent that Catch 22 coming from outside of the industry:

Side Projects:

One of the best ways to demonstrate your interest in product management is to work on a side project that gives you the experience in shipping a product. A side project could be anything from a tangible iPhone app, wireframe, or even powerpoint case study. You could volunteer to help a non-profit or small business or you could just do some research on a company’s current product / service and show how you might improve it. Continue Reading

What is a Product Manager?

What is a Product ManagerAs a product manager in San Francisco, I can’t count the number of times I’ve been at a bar, been asked what I do, and then hear the follow-up question “Wait… you do what? What’s a product manager?” When I first started answering that question, I would stutter, throw out some nonsense jargon like “cross-functional teams,” and “customer advocate” and receive a blank stare from whomever I was talking to. Since then, I’ve spent a lot more time learning even more about all the facets of being a product manager.

The role of a product manager really differs from every company and lifecycle of a product but in general:

A product manager helps to guide a team in discovering and developing the right product for users.

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Here’s another great picture I’ve frequently seen that fairly accurately describes the role of a product manager: Continue Reading