What does it take to be a Product Manager and how do you become one? It may sound cooler than it actually is because, in reality, it’s a lot of work. There are a lot of things that are required of you when you land a Product Manager job, and then there are those secrets that no one tells you about, but you wish you knew.
Product Manager at Lyft
Alexis Baird is a Product Manager at Lyft. She started her Product Management career at Microsoft Bing and moved on from there to being a Senior Product Manager at LinkedIn for five and a half years. With over seven years of experience in tech, she has gone through many product manager pitfalls first-hand.
She has a background in computational linguistics, holds a Masters Degree in Computer Science and has a passion for merging data with humanism, and a zealous love of donuts.
Dirty secrets of Product Management
Alexis talked about the common mistakes, misunderstandings, and misconceptions new product managers often have and how to avoid them. Product management encompasses lots of different disciplines and responsibilities, but not all of them will be summed up in a job description.
While everyone talks about setting product strategy, defining features, maintaining a roadmap, managing an engineering team, and putting together a successful product launch, here is everything else they don’t mention but that you need to know to become a successful product manager.
- There isn’t one way to Product Management. A lot of the Product Managers come from various backgrounds, such as politics, science, finance, design, sales or languages.
- Having an engineering background helps in getting a job as a Product Manager because understanding engineers help connect with the team and earn their respect faster.
- Don’t be the first adopter of a new technology because there are always problems and issues with it and you don’t want to be the guinea pig.
- Don’t be the last user of an old technology.
- There is no “right metric.” You shouldn’t follow a metric blindly without thinking through what it represents. Question, whether it’s a good thing that the metric moves.
- User feedback doesn’t mean that a Product Manager can stop looking at metrics.
- A Product Manager can’t be a perfectionist because they need to make uncomfortable decisions and get things done fast.
- You can be a great Product Manager and not land your dream job because people get and give jobs based on their connections and networks.
- “It’s not about what you say but how you say it.” The way a Product Manager presents things matters. The team works better and faster if they like you.
Product Management isn’t about coming up with the coolest and the most creative vision, building it, announcing it to the world and it automatically becoming as huge as Apple. In reality, it’s about managing people to make sure that they execute what you want them to execute on time. Learn the tricks of the trade with Alexis and nail it like a Product Manager.
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