Product Management

How do you become a Product Manager?

We're confident there is no one answer to this. Product Managers comes from all walks of industries and professions. So what did you do to become and product manager and what would be your advice to people looking to move into the profession?

  • Product Manager at Enablon

    I would say that product management is a state of mind.

    It's something that you can apply to many different situations.

    Becoming a product manager is a rocky road, and it is definitely worth it. Here are some tips I learned through my journey:

    Start by asking why

    This is the foundation stone you will lay to build your PM mindset.

    Be curious and learn

    There are many product resources out there. Just find the one that suits you whether it's reading, watching, listening…there are many resources on Medium, LinkedIn, and even TED talks.

    Share & discuss

    Discuss with your peers, share your challenges, find new ways of doing things. Go to meet-ups and conferences.

    Try, try, and try again

    Try things and don’t be scared to fail… this is the best way to learn!

    Remember: Perfection doesn’t exist. It would be boring! The 80 / 20 rule is your best friend.

    Reflect

    Always take a step back and question things.

    It is not only about becoming a PM. It's about growing, continuously evolving, learning new things and, the most important part, applying and testing what you learned!

    The good news is: Product Management is a job where you’ll never be bored.

    Ask Océane a follow-up question!

    Ask a question
  • Product Manager at Lendinvest

    I became a product manager before I knew what a product manager was. Quite a few people told me they asked their manager for a "product manager title", but they never got it.

    To become a product manager you need to be a problem solver.

    Back in the day, I was looking after email marketing at Ladbrokes Casino. As part of a competitive analysis I was working on, I noticed that we were the only brand which didn't have a mobile app. I pitched to my managers the idea of building a mobile app to drive more traffic to the product and to increase revenue. They let me lead the project. I loved it. When I was then looking to get an official title of a product manager I could showcase a skillset that matched what companies were looking for.

    In short, don't wait. Solve problems.

    Ask Aviel a follow-up question!

    Ask a question
  • Digital Product Lead at YouGov

    My journey to become a PM started with golf shoe sales, franchise development (what even is that?) and digital marketing. Not the most clear path towards what I now know is an ideal job for me.

    At some point in my digital marketing role I started to notice some parts of the website I worked on didn’t quite work. As nobody else wanted to fix it... I did. Once I got a feel for owning a ‘product’ end to end there was no turning back.

    I soon realised that all of the little skills I had learnt in my other jobs helped me and the products I worked on. The advice I would give to anyone who wants to be a product manager is try to find an opportunity to consider the user journey end to end.

    Start small and get out of you comfort zone to learn new skills. Every skill you learn, will come in handy.

    Ask Mark a follow-up question!

    Ask a question
  • The Team at JAM

    Want to move to becoming a PM? Hold your socks, it’s gonna be a crazy ride.

    Figure out if the role suits you

    Product management sounds lush. It has an aura of prestige, ownership, and knowledge. But, it requires quite specific skills and work style, which might not suit your personality. Be aware of that and consult your doctor. Erm, I mean, talk to other PMs and learn what the job looks like in practice.

    Start shadowing

    If you’re lucky and can spend more time with a PM you know — do it. Watch what problems they face and how they approach them. That’s not the end of shadowing though. As a PM you’ll need to be familiar with the work of all other departments. Spend time shadowing customer support and the back-end wizards. It’s all equally important.

    Focus on what you don’t like.

    It’s pleasant to focus on what interests you and comes easy. But, there is no way to escape it. You need to gain a solid understanding of all aspects of the product. Data analysis is boring and hard? That’s precisely why you need to spend more time learning it. How much time? Until it starts making sense.

    Train your product muscles

    Before you sail the big waters, practice thinking like a product person on the dry land. Test new products (find them on Product Hunt or Betalist) and try to reverse engineer the decision making process behind them. Learn to concisely explain what impresses you, and what the shortcomings are, list ideas how you’d improve the product (with justifications!). If you’re feeling gutsy, you can even send your analysis to the creators and — who knows? — maybe get a job once they start hiring. Or, practice dealing with rejection or constructive criticism.

    I'd also recommend you look at...

    Ask JAM a follow-up question!

    Ask a question

Post your tip

Have something to add to this? We'd love to hear from you!

Post a tip

More tips like this...

Tools
How do you build your product roadmap?
The quintessential product artefact that divides opinion and generates huge debate. But we want to know the process that gets you there, rather than what it looks like at the end. What's your approach?
Tools
When should you use the ‘Jobs to be done’ framework?
JTBD, popularised in 2016 by Clayton Christensen, is one of the popular frameworks in the world of PMs. Like everything, it has its plusses and minuses. When do you use it, and when do you think one should avoid it?
Product Management
How do you say no?
There’s so much to build, and the CEO often has 10 new ideas a day. To safeguard your team’s focus, you need to say no. What are some of your best tips on answering to yet another feature request?
Product Management
It is your first day as a Product Manager in a new company.
What would be your top priorities in the first week? And the first month? What are some of your DOs and DONTs and why?