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How to Become a Product Manager

How to Become a Product Manager
Bitrix24 Team
November 29, 2021
Last updated: November 29, 2021

Product management is a multifaceted role. The more information and knowledge you have, the more effective role you can play in this field. Product management is not knowledge that can be acquired in one or two years without previous experience. An inexperienced product manager follows the organization and can not give the organization the required orientation. T-shaped people are usually better goods managers. Those who know little in a wide range of areas and specialize in one area. These people are better at I-shapes, which are very specialized in one area.

For a novice or a professional to progress through work and life faster and easier, he needs experiences that he does not have to experience all of them, he can get them from people who have already gone this way, or in other words, from using the experience of specialized and experienced people. Smart Start is an experience transfer program that invites experienced people to chart a path for participants to become a manager and experts in their field. 

What is a product manager?

The Product Manager (PM) decides what products and software should be produced in the next step and helps manage research, design, testing, and market entry strategy. While a goods manager has many other responsibilities, deciding what to produce and in what order is a consumer manager's primary responsibility. There are two main considerations for prioritizing what should be produced; the Possibility to maximize the number of customers and the impact of the business on the market. The manager of goods must optimize both domains for the product with the most value for the business. This leads to products that are beneficial to the consumer and profitable to the company.

The product manager is also in charge of product development and team management. This means that they are responsible for disseminating information and ensuring that people are transparent in their goals. In product management, reaching deadlines is important, so consumer managers need professional communication and strong leadership skills. Goods managers usually work and lead between teams to design, build and market their products. They are responsible for aggregating data, analyzing and expertise, and having the final say on product decisions.

In fact, this leads to many small tasks such as managing the product backlog, keeping the product road map up to date, talking to customers, and coordinating different teams (to make sure everyone is moving toward a common goal). This is not a small task and involves a whole lot of fights between different people. The most important competence of a product manager is his ability to work with people. It does not matter if you used to work in a pizzeria or be a musician. The important thing is how much you can unite different people from different parts of the company with different programs and motivations with some of the opportunities provided by the vision.

What does a product manager do?

The product manager identifies and identifies project areas and presentations for development teams. They are responsible for drawing up a product vision and creating a workable strategy to bring it to the product line. It is also their job to coordinate each of the engineering teams and their guidance from the initial planning to the introduction of the final product. In practice, this means that a goods manager must identify the customer problems and challenges that the company seeks to solve. Therefore, consumer managers work with development and design teams to validate and implement solutions, and ultimately introduce a product to the market.

Depending on the organization, it is often up to the goods manager to prioritize problems that need to be addressed immediately and to validate customer challenges as problems that are worth devoting time and resources to solving now or in the future. There are several responsibilities for this position that in below you can see most common and important duties. 

  1. Creating a vision for the product
  2. Managing ideas and feedback
  3. Planning and prioritization
  4. Making a product route map
  5. Product implementation leadership
  6. Product supply
  7. Receive feedback and provide new improvements

Additionally:

  • Make sure all teams have a clear idea of how their work affects product goals.

  • Support marketing, user support, and (technical) development teams (especially for inter-team activities)

  • Make sure software specifications, user stories, and releases are transparent.

  • Gather feedback and percentage of user satisfaction

  • Monitor user behavior and usage

  • Decide on the next steps of the product to improve the above

Product managers usually grow in at least one of the other product areas (technical, UX, business) and then move on to product management. Of course, this is not a guarantee for a good goods manager. Experience in product management is important because you have to understand the work of others to work with them.

What makes a good product manager?

There are core competencies that every product manager should have. Many of them can be achieved by the classroom, but most of them are developed with experience, good role models, and coaching. Some examples of these competencies are:

  • Conduct customer interviews and user tests

  • Execution of designs

  • Prioritize features and plan a roadmap

  • The art of resource allocation

  • Market evaluation

  • Transform business requirements into technical and vice versa

  • Pricing and revenue modeling

  • Define and pursue success metrics

These core competencies are the foundation of any goods manager, and the best consumer managers learn these skills over the years to define, send, and replicate products. These consumer managers are great at reflecting on whether each of these competencies contributes to the success or failure of their products and constantly adjusting their approach based on customer feedback. A good manager is the manager and takes all the responsibility and measurements for the success of the product. They are responsible for providing the right product at the right time.

A good consumer manager knows the container (company, revenue model, competitors, etc.) and is responsible for creating and executing a winning plan. (No excuse) A bad manager has thousands of excuses. As usual, financial capital is not enough, the technical team manager is a fool, and Microsoft's technical team is ten times ours, we work too hard and we are not coordinated enough. These grunts are not acceptable to the CEO of the product.

Good managers do not spend all their time organizing different people to coordinate to present the product to the market and product owners. They do not record the results of the meetings of the whole product team, they are not the project manager of the various functions, they are not the blind mice of the engineers. Good managers are not part of the product team; they manage the product team. Tech teams do not see a good manager as a marketing resource.

Good consumer managers are both marketing and technical managers. Good managers cleverly define goals, "what" and manage "what" delivery. Bad managers feel their best job is when they solve the "how". Good product leaders easily communicate with engineers in writing and are good at speaking. Good leaders do not informally direct the team. Good managers collect information informally. A good goods manager builds a collection of documentation, FAQs, presentations, and white papers. Bad managers of goods complain that they spend all day responding to sales and drowning in work. 

A good manager anticipates product weaknesses and builds real solutions. The bad consumer manager is putting out fires all day. A good consumer manager sets out his or her position on important issues (competitive solutions, difficult architectural choices, difficult product decisions, markets to attack or abandon). The product manager verbally denounces their bad habits and regrets that the "superiors" do not allow this to happen. Good managers focus the team on revenue and customers. Bad manager focuses on "Microsoft building some new features." Good product managers define good products that can be implemented with great effort. Bad product managers define good products that cannot be implemented or allow engineers to make whatever they want. 

A good product manager thinks about the criteria for delivering upstream values to the market during internal planning and achieving market share and revenue during external planning. Bad product managers are confused about the differences between value delivery, competitiveness coordination, pricing, and presence. Good product managers analyze problems. Bad product managers combine all the problems. Good product managers think well of the story they want to write for the media. Bad product managers think about covering all the features and accurately expressing technical issues with the media. Good product managers think that the media and analysts are very smart. Product managers mistakenly think that the media and analysts are stupid because they do not understand the difference between pressure and pseudo-pressure.

How to Become a Product Manager

Most product manager roles require previous management experience. However, there are opportunities that provide valuable preparation and strengthen your candidacy, even if you have not yet worked in this field. Janna Basto (co-founder of ProdPad) took her first product management job a few months after starting her career in software support at a software company. The company was in a state of turmoil, and she found herself in a situation where she was instinctively putting company components together. 

For example, she spent all day talking to angry customers about recurring problems that did not seem to be resolved. She began writing and presenting detailed solutions to the development team. She did not know at that time that the name of this work is writing product specs. Her manager realized that she was good at it and formally promoted him to the position of manager. So one way to become a product manager is to manage the product until someone finally realizes it. But if you want to enter this space directly, here are some things to keep in mind:

Would you like to be creative or technical?

If you look at job opportunities on sites, you will see that there is a range of product work; Some are looking for creative candidates and some are looking for a more technical person to help maintain the current product. Think about what your abilities are and choose from the job ads accordingly.

Are you passionate about the product or field you work in?

As mentioned earlier, one of the characteristics of a product manager is to be passionate about the product, and if you enter a product or field that you are not interested in, you can not make the profound impact you could have on the product or even the people you work with.

Do you work in the right culture?

When choosing a company, make sure the ones you are considering are licensed for growth and success.

How to Become a Product Manager at Your Current Company?

For better understanding how to become a product manager, we are providing you with some examples and notes that can help you to achieve this position in your current company. Here are two memories of one of the goods managers in HubSpot:

Find a project you can finish 

In 2015, I was eager to become a product manager at HubSpot - just like you. I was attracted to this role because of the potential impact I could have on the business. I worked as a customer support expert at HubSpot and decided to take a product management course at General Assembly. As part of my final project for the General Assembly class, I had to pick a problem and go through potential validation solutions to market. 

After presenting the problem and solution, I connected with my classmate to follow up on the real problem I researched: Managing your monthly digital sharing (like Spotify, Netflix, etc.) through a separate app on your mobile phone. Three months later, our iOS app, Subscript Me, was born, committed to helping people manage their shares, and to find superior services from other users. As part of the app product process, I did market and user research, designed and tested the prototype, and partnered with a developer for the iOS app product to bring a solution to market. After 18 months, after finding a suitable business model, I stopped working on the application. While I had no business success that I hoped to achieve or any position related to product manager, I did all that a product manager does to validate problems and solutions.

Volunteer to solve problems as a side project

Whether you work for a startup or a large business, companies empower employees to solve problems. If you are not in a position to be independent or do not have time to work on problems that occur outside of your main job, keep looking to find a way for you and your manager to believe that there is a more valuable solution. This time, I was transferred from the support representative to the executive expert. At this time, we were moving from one billing system to another, which caused a lot of problems for the customer in terms of account and billing access.

I asked my manager if he would like to leave it to me to solve the problem we were facing. I went to great lengths to solve the problem. Whenever billing problems arose, I had teammates who would send my method to the customer. I recorded the steps of how a customer encounters a strange situation. I solved the billing problem for the customer and sent my findings to a team working on a specific set of products. Finally, we were able to reduce the billing problems with a great solution that the product team came up with a few weeks later. I learned a lot along the way. Like, prioritizing, interacting with different teams. But in the end, I was still not a product manager. It was time to move on to the next problem again.

Conclusion

One cool thing about product management is that there is no single version of becoming a product manager. No documents are required to enter this field. There are no barriers to entering this area and there is a role that you can make a visible impact on the organization. In fact, the best product managers have learned to do it themselves. If you really want to be a product manager, the best way to prepare is to go out and use the experience of others. So, if you want to be a goods manager, just get started. Solve one problem and the next, and then the next. If you solve enough problems, you become a product manager. To achieve such a goal, you will need to use professional tools and experiences. We believe the Bitrix platform can be a good choice in this regard.

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