What do you do when you realize that you're not cut out to be a manager (you simply don't like it) but you're in the role already—and leaving the position would entail a huge pay cut and/or less access to strategy planning? Getting from product strategy to product roadmap, 6 customer surveys to grow your SaaS company, Move over product manager, introducing the Behavioral Product Manager, Management: RICE Scoring Model for Prioritization, Changing the Conversation about Product Management vs. UX, A framework to define your product metrics. Editor’s note: This is part 1 of 2. Each role requires the practitioner to make the best use of those resources to achieve a larger goal, knowing that he or she will never be able to satisfy everyone’s needs. When you have functional expertise and focus on deepening your skills, you can have an extremely satisfying career. CEOs are the same in that they rely on the other C-Level folks who are supposed to be the experts in their areas. Few things will burn you out as quickly as being a manager if you don’t enjoy the one-on-ones and the career conversations that you need to have with your direct reports. You might convince them sometimes, but I bet that it’s a back and forth, pull and push until you settle in something that isn’t potentially what you had envisioned. 3. (Queue: young “product” guy with *** all over his eyes) To be true, yes product management is amazing, but please for the love of whoever you believe in, don’t say the CEO crap again. I’m a product manager at an apparel company, and the whole place is awful. They “get” sales. Becoming a manager adds a facet to your job that, more likely than not, you were never trained to do. In a healthy organization, product management and product marketing work closely together, and their complementary responsibilities help take a product from the earliest strategy sessions all the way to … I don’t have time to fix how that thing displays in 20 places I’m just going to keep doing it the same way it has been wrongly done. You are the evangelist. This can specially be painful if you enter a company with a culture that is siloed so everyone does whatever they want, or one that values seniority/experience so much that you will have to prove yourself over and over again, one that values status-quo or simply one where product management is new and misunderstood. I have no budget or resources which means no authority. Interesting question, wish the Forbes article had gone into more detail to answer it. He called me one day and just said, Julia I hate being a CEO. The good news is that you have a number of choices, and you are already thinking very clearly about what you do and don’t want to do. It’s a subtle distinction. Pro: the pay is great and sometimes you get to boss people around if you’re in a management role. The best advice I can give is to never consider that you have done enough. The product manager and the politician both get an allotted amount of resources. But it’s by focusing on a product’s big picture—rather than being the boss—that product managers make the most dramatic impact. I can’t choose my vision/ideas totally on my whims/desires, My vision for the part of the product I’m responsible for needs to be aligned to the overall company strategy. But for the few that pass the disillusionment phase, it’s still pretty exciting and crazy all the time. In interviews do not say you want to be in Product Management because it’s like being the CEO of your own product. Being a product manager is not about getting wrapped up in the fact that you have “manager” in your title. Product Management is not the expert in any of these fields but must incorporate and work with these people to have the final product. You must inspire people to want to buy your product, you must sell, market, and promote your product. you say you have been practicing the craft for over a decade, you do not indicate how long you have been at your current gig. I also don’t approve of how the warehouse staff has been treated throughout this crisis. The product manager and the politician both get an allotted amount of resources. Con: you have to deal with all sorts of personalities and sometimes they are conflicting personalities and you’re stuck in between all of it. All sorts of companies are recognizing that some of their best people have no interest in managing and are creating roles that allow them to make a sizable impact without becoming managers. Just like CEOs are surrounded by a team of other experts, Product works on a daily basis with at minimum Engineering, Design and Marketing functions if not more. Read about what product managers do and how to get into this lucrative career. Far from it, if a recent online survey by Amplicate is any indication: 51 percent of the respondents expressed hate for project managers and project management. Welcome to the real Product Management. I originally wanted to be a Product Manager because as a support lead I saw a role that was making decisions and getting things done, how they wanted, when they wanted, and with authority. I’m forced to make decisions based on other people’s past decisions just to be consistent. They believe that they need to know every detail in order to perfect their end product. Another option is making an effort to try and stop hating your manager. Their main role is to communicate clearly the situation and the goals, including what, where, why. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to have increasing impact and grow in your career without being a manager. Usually what people mean by this is that a Product Manager has to oversee a lot of different teams, the way a CEO does. Well certainly. I still wouldn’t change it for the world. If you’re in operations, look for the thorniest problem your team is struggling with and fix it. Yep, it’s true. At it’s best, this statement transmits in an extremely simplistic manner this very ambiguous and amorphous role and at worst it sets incorrect expectations to people who have never done the role and/or attracts the wrong people. After all, you can’t simply choose whether you want to hate someone or not. Sure, you get to call the shots. Only a really self-aware and unusually honest person would have the courage to ask this question in the first place. The product manager does this to work towards particular goals, which all aim to improve the product or the overall solution delivered to the customer. 3. In my experience, if I’m able to push through 50% of the ideas I have, then I’m doing a great job. Sorry. Towards the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019, I wanted a career change. If you’re really wondering what makes a good product manager, start wondering about your customer. This will likely disqualify you altogether. “The majority of PM jobs involve you driving forward some relatively small dimension of the product, with little meaningful control over resourcing, zero actual reporting authority over anyone, nor much, if any, say in the budgeting process — all within the confines of some larger organizational superstructure that you are subject to, rather than master of.” — MatBalez. What you can do, however, is trying to perceive your manager as a human, not a boss. Pro: the pay is great and sometimes you get to boss people around if you’re in a management role. But the key is to be able, with time, to ask the right ones. Now it’s time to step up, make some changes, and advocate for yourself. In the spirit of fairness, transparency and mainly to confuse my brain in true product manager fashion I will look at both sides of this argument. Many of these obstacles will require them to employ new tactics, new tools, and new processes — often with less time than either of you would like for a smooth transition. Some professionals find that product management pulls them too far away from the hands-on work that they enjoyed in their previous roles. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to have increasing impact and grow in your career without being a manager. In their “The State of the American Manager” study, Gallup found that half (50%) of all Americans have left a job to “get away from their manager at some point in their career.” We've said it before, but it begs repeating: employees leave managers, not companies. Or, is it the emotional labor that is so much a part of being a great boss? Analytical skills follow on the heels of strategic thinking; it's about researching and analyzing the right data to make product decisions with profit in mind.This is a data-driven skill rather than acting on instinct or innate response. A day in the life of a product manager often involves being bombarded from all sides: requests from clients, questions from employees, instructions from the … The Cons. The product manager is responsible for the product vision, roadmap, definition, and successful launch. ( And hate myself in the process) I will hope to move the needle one small thing at a time. To start, I would encourage you to ask yourself what it is you don’t like. Being a manager caused me to feel disconnected from what career analyst Daniel Pink has identified as the three primary motivators of behavior: autonomy, mastery … I have a lot of design debt on me. Here is a rather accurate if disheartening and flat description of your first 3–5 years as a product manager. he said, I’m a product guy I really just want to work with product and talk to customer and engineers that’s what I really love. Each role requires the practitioner to make the best use of those resources to achieve a larger goal, knowing that he or she will never be able to satisfy everyone’s needs. Few things will burn you out as quickly as being a manager if you don’t enjoy the one-on-ones and the career conversations that you need to have with your direct reports. Finally a word of advice. In this article: 1. In interviews do not say you want to be in Product Management because it’s like being the CEO of your own product. Either case both are big no-nos. 0 Ratings ; 0 Want to read Well I think the odds are better than in Advertising. If your company does not provide a good career path for individual contributors, look for one that does. By developing product management skills like strategic planning and managing large teams, you’re also building a resume that could land you a VP or C-level role in the future. A product manager is a mini-CEO of sorts. It could seem a little unrealistic to achieve. I hate people now. So yeah this one doesn’t happen either. The only P&L responsibility in my life is my Treasurer role in a local non-profit. This month marks a year of being a full-time product manager and I’m not going to mince my words. It would always be different; 2. What about when you are building out your business case? Other than that I only deal with numbers in relation to points and velocity. Am I interested in these numbers? Unlike a CEO, I have no P&L responsibility. I don’t have any idea how many bookings, ACV or TCV we had, what was the deal size of each and I certainly don’t tell Sales what to do. !At a recent Product Camp in Austin I went to a talk about the leverage power as a Product Manager which was nothing but 4 P’s and STP, awesome dude. Stefan Balcanu, Brand Manager at L’Oreal . If you’re an engineer, focus on learning new technologies or working on bigger, more complex projects. Our coaches are excited to answer all of your burning questions, and you can submit one by emailing us at editor(at)themuse(dot)com and using Ask a Candid Boss in the subject line. The technology would change; 3. There are no barriers to entry – and it’s a role where you can make a real tangible impact at your organization. So, if you are a PM yourself or do PM as part of your role, it’s probably a good idea to proactively address the concerns. The hours are never-ending, and there’s even less respect for personal time now that we’re all working from home. CEOs communicate internally to employees, and help set the tone and the culture of the company. There is no need to specialize (but I could if I wanted to) 4. It’s not far off. There is a complete vocabulary to learn The hours are never-ending, and there’s even less respect for personal time now that we’re all working from home. Either on meet-ups or General Assembly, Lean Startup, Design Thinking or whatever your latest thing is, there is someone who will mention the awesomeness of being a product manager and how you get all this ownership and it’s like being a mini CEO. I have yet to see a standard job description for a product manager, because each role is ultimately defined by the size, type of product, stage, industry, and even culture of the company. ): 1. I guarantee it. I hated my job before the pandemic, and now I hate it even more. When supervisors are unsure of themselves and their team, they inevitably try to maintain as much control over the work output as they can. Several people have asked me for advice on the topic, so before you jump into taking a pricey Product Management course — and for everyone who may not have a “PM friend of a friend” to … ), 2. Product Managers are acknowledged as leaders, but it was clear from the discussion that command-and-control style management is out and servant leadership is in. A colleague recently likened product management to being a politician. As we grow, it’s important to remain agile and flexible with our approach-but it’s not always easy to keep growing while maintaining the best of our startup DNA! If you are responsible for hiring a product manager or work with a product manager, here are 9 qualities that make a great product manager: Strategic Thinker. Counteracting the hate How to try not to hate your boss anymore. We have all heard this analogy about Product Management. 6 – Changing Market Dynamics Impacting Product Management Gain relevant work experience. What markets are they going after? Here is a great quote from Daniel Elizalde over at techproductmanagement.com about this, “ In my experience, if I’m able to push through 50% of the ideas I have, then I’m doing a great job.”, 4. But you also get to be accountable for every up and down of your product. As a product manager, they’re going to continue to find new obstacles in their path. So, if there are some processes you could refine or other things you could do to help eliminate frustrating bottlenecks, you have at least some power to make changes. Just like an architect helps build roads and buildings, I help in creating digital products from the beginning. As product manager, you need to keep the team and your decisions centered on facts. Here are 6 things I learned about being a project manager — things I didn’t know back in 2000 when I started out. I hate people now. Sorry to hear you feel that way. I don’t have total control over all the aspects of my product. In any case my objective is to clarify and dispel the notions of why Product Management is seen as a role where you, millennial, can be “the CEO”. Finally and key in terms of getting buy-in and promoting collaboration, Product Managers also need to make sure that the decision making process is clear and available while listening to people’s opinions. Melbourne Product Leaders talking about what makes a good Product Manager A Good Product Manager is an awesome collaborator. I’m going to outline 3 ways in which the PM role is like a CEO and the 4 ways were it vastly diverges from a CEO-like role. The Product Manager and Product Marketing Manager are a Team. The product marketing manager focuses more on outbound marketing and coordination, while the product manager tends to focus a majority of their efforts on internal coordination, particularly with the firm’s research and development or engineering teams. Product management is done to: Learn to deal graciously with differing ideas and personalities, and always draw the team back to the facts that will ultimately decide your direction. Is it all the paperwork and bureaucracy that a lot of companies impose on managers? You have responsibility to deliver but no real authority to demand people to do so. Prior to Product Management. Counteracting the hate I believe both roles must be able to ask the correct questions from these different functions to get to the best answer. Product managers work closely with engineering on the technical specifications and ensure that teams have all of the information they need to deliver a complete product to market. It might be better or worse but it’s what you are going to be doing whether you like it or not. So, if you are a PM yourself or do PM as part of your role, it’s probably a good idea to proactively address the concerns. Check out part 2 for an in-depth look at essential PM skills like coding, street statistics, and running more effective meetings!. Job Description vs Reality of a Brand Manager’s Life . Kim Scott is the author of the NYT & WSJ bestseller, 15% off Career Coaching | Use code CYBER15 through Dec 13th |, Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity. You will nod and smile and say as the CEO does. It’s not far off. A product manager is a mini-CEO of sorts. There is no point in your brand management career in which you should stop asking questions. I’m a product manager at an apparel company, and the whole place is awful. In fact, nine out of 10 leaders believe they do not have the necessary skills to manage. On the Product Management side, while it’s less about culture, a Product Manager must have great communication skills to clearly state the goals to the people that are building, supporting and selling the product. The least interesting times for product managers is when they're working alone. Obtaining a role as a product marketing manager requires a bachelor’s degree in marketing, business or other related field.Some employers prefer or require a master’s degree in business administration. In all cases, measure the impact your work has. This is one of the most exciting things about being a product manager. Actually I said it before, but I will say it again. Con: you have to deal with all sorts of personalities and sometimes they are conflicting personalities and you’re stuck in between all of it. Below, we’ll cover the important soft skills that every PM should master. A colleague recently likened product management to being a politician. Product managers, in contrast, are responsible for healthy functioning across all three product vertices. Can I read a financial statement or a 10-K? In their “The State of the American Manager” study, Gallup found that half (50%) of all Americans have left a job to “get away from their manager at some point in their career.” We've said it before, but it begs repeating: employees leave managers, not companies. I’m sure you could be the nicest person on earth, but this answer gives me a red flag that you don’t know Product Management very well and/or that you might not be a team player. Developers don’t report to you, nor does anyone in the other teams you are working with. (Bonus! And a bad manager can make employees leave in waves. Remember, you’ve found yourself in the driver’s seat now. I can totally relate. Analytical Skills . Don’t be surprised if your domineering manager is relatively new to the ranks of management. Being a product manager at Canva has taught me to move fast and make high impact decisions that move the needle, even when there’s uncertainty. If it’s the former, try asking for some administrative support or finding ways to mitigate some of that nonsense. All letters to Ask a Expert become the property of Daily Muse, Inc and will be edited for length, clarity, and grammatical correctness. Photo credit: Death to The Stock Photo. There were 3 people out of 40. Your product manager has to be willing to adjust if they want the product to succeed. I Hate Being Sexy but I'm a Product Manager So I Can't Help It : Product Manager Notebook by ProductManager Creations, 2020, Independently Published edition, in English Your letter may be published in an article on The Muse. What does my CPO/VP want to do for this release? A re you considering a career in Product Management, but feeling lost as to how you’re supposed to gauge whether or not the role would be a good fit for you?. I hated my job before the pandemic, and now I hate it even more. As software continues to eat the world, the product manager has become an increasingly important role. If you’re in sales, channel your energy into developing your sales skills and landing bigger deals. That might be your best case where some P&L might be needed, but that is actually going to be a forecast full of assumptions so not technically a true P&L. If you fall into the latter category, you probably need to avoid managerial roles—and, I’d recommend leaving your current position. First, hats off to you. A CEO is the exact opposite because he/she is the major boss of everyone. Being a manager caused me to feel disconnected from what career analyst Daniel Pink has identified as the three primary motivators of behavior: autonomy, mastery and purpose. A product manager combines business, technology, and design in order to discover a product that is valuable, feasible, and usable. I … Generally, the product community has a very Love-Hate relationship with this phrase. ( Actually I’m on a crusade to ban this.) And a bad manager can make employees leave in waves. So exactly how many ideas/initiatives or proposals see the light of day. CEOs communicate externally with every type of stakeholder. In some markets, the role has been split into two: the product manager and product marketing manager. This article is part of our monthly Ask an Expert series—a column dedicated to helping you tackle your biggest career concerns. I also don’t approve of how the warehouse staff has been treated throughout this crisis. If you are responsible for hiring a product manager or work with a product manager, here are 9 qualities that make a great product manager: Strategic Thinker. But I’m not about to make a one-sided argument. Far from it, if a recent online survey by Amplicate is any indication: 51 percent of the respondents expressed hate for project managers and project management. I Hate Being Sexy but I'm a Product Manager So I Can't Help It : Product Manager Notebook Funny Product Manager Gifts for Women by ProductManager Creations. If your life has led you to creative thinking, problem-solving, and curiosity, it’s quite possible product management is the perfect career choice and you’d be a perfect fit for a role where you can practice, learn and grow a ton. There is something shameful for me on this line, maybe it’s the bragging maybe it’s the cynic in me (which coincidentally has increased since I got into Product Management). Pursue education. Product management is a great way for non-technical professionals to join the tech boom. In short, a product manager’s job is all about solving problems for people. For product managers, you have your user conference, Dreamforce, F8, Gartner or other industry events where you must show your prowess without letting out too much of your strategy. But I’ll offer my 2 cents as a product person (who generally likes her job, but not always! If a user doesn’t understand your product, that’s on you, not Marketing. For some positions, you may be required to complete on-the-job training before the employer will consider you for a managerial position. I stopped the presenter and polled the room about how many people actually had a chance to set the price. The product manager is also responsible for defining the requirements for each feature and the desired user experience. I worked as a Product Support staff for about 2 years+ and I enjoyed what I did. Yes I can but there will not be a need to do any of that. It’s a decent enough explanation for a position which can be difficult to describe. Facts must always trump opinion in decision-making. Usually, the increased impact you have translates to increased pay and involvement in strategic decisions—which is what you seem to enjoy most about management. The exciting thing about product management is that there’s no one road to becoming a product manager. There’s no official certification you need to enter this field.