Yehuda breaks down how you can land a Product Management job and provides some insights on how to manage product teams. Curious about how Product Managers have broken into and mastered their roles? Then join our Product Management Slack Community and ask them!
Yehuda Grossman’s Bio
Yehuda Grossman graduated from Queens College with a degree in Computer Science while interning as a Data Analyst, Product Manager and a Customer Success Associate at several companies including Castellar, Akimbo, and Handshake. After graduating he moved to Chicago to accept an offer from Ticketmaster where he started as an Associate PM and now has the position of Product Manager running 2 engineering teams, working on Internal and External tools for the professional resale market, as well as their support process.
Landing a Product Management Job
What do companies look for when hiring experienced Software Engineers as PM’s?
Tailoring your past engineering experience to point out some of the work you’ve done that can be considered part of a PM’s job. For example, how did you manage to work on 2 different pieces of code/feature at the same time? How did you decide which one to do first?
Is working as a software developer or as a data scientist/analyst better for becoming a PM?
Hi Linda, this really depends on what type of PM role you are looking for. Product Analyst type PM – determining what to build and when? Or, PO type PM – leading an engineering team. As well as, if you would like to work at a startup or in the enterprise sector.
Most companies require prior experience for their PM roles… How did you prove your capabilities in the interview for your first PM role?
This is a really tough one. I love listening to podcasts in the PM space (This is Product Management, Inside Intercom, The Product Podcast, to name a few). This really gives you insight into the types of commonalities that PMs have and what interviewers are looking for. I spoke more about how passionate I am about the Product Role and its importance and what my technical background could bring to the table.
Any final advice?
A final word of advice for those seeking to get into PM: One of the main points recruiters and hiring managers are looking for is, clarity and conciseness when trying to explain hard problems. You get that right and your 75% of the way there! Good luck and thanks for a great time!
Product Management Skills
What is the most technical skill you use as a PM?
Being technical is a huge plus in Product Management. I love data, so I would say SQL is important. However, when working through design and discovery, knowing the limitations of our current tech or implementation can help to prioritize work. Higher value, smaller amount of work.
Which methodology does Ticketmaster use (scrum, kanban, etc.) or you’ve found to be the most successful?
All of them! My advice is that these methodologies are applicable on a case-by-case basis. It really depends on the team, product and organization structure within the company. One team I PO is using scrum while the other is using kanban.
When I created the second team, we decided that for our product a kanban approach would work better. We tested our thesis for a month, did a retro, and decide to stay with kanban. I find Kanban really works for micro-services and continuous deployment type products.
As a Product Manager, how do you evaluate yourself? How do you improve upon mistakes that you have made? And what kinds of goals do you set for yourself?
As a product person, one should always be looking for “a better way”, be it via introspection, by setting small attainable MEASURABLE goals, and by remaining positive. My position is, when you’ve made a mistake, own up to it and listen to feedback. Feedback, if heard, can lead to massive improvements in personal efficiency.
Can you explain a breakdown of what you spend the most time on as a PM?
I always try to set aside time each day to think about longer-term strategy features.
Having said that I am mostly:
1) Prioritizing work for my team
2) Writing clear and concise AC (so the ask is clear)
3) Meeting with the business and other stakeholders
4) Meeting with architects and engineers to assist in my discovery for new features.
5) Meeting with other teams to understand their needs and asks.
How do you position yourself to contribute towards strategic decisions being taken in an organization of such size? And how do you help your leadership make the right decisions for the future?
I constantly keep myself updated on the strategic goals of the company as a whole and the segment I work under in particular. This allows me to make sure anything and everything we decide to work on, on my teams, can be correlated back to those goals set by the company as a whole.
How does a PM seek out new market opportunities such as e-sports market rather than sorting out the kinks of the current market?
A good PM uses the resources they have to achieve their and the company’s goals. In a smaller organization you need to take on as much as you can handle, so doing the research, etc. will be on your plate. However, at a larger company, there will be resources internally that you can use to help you move faster.
Managing Product Management Teams
How do you work with external Product Managers that might have different priorities? How do you keep everything aligned?
Managing different priorities across external and internal teams is a huge part of the job. One tip is to try and find that common ground in the priority you have or create a spin (Marketing is part of PM) that will make your work align with theirs.
Knowing as many people internally and externally will help you create a connection with the other team so it doesn’t feel like you are dumping work on their plate. Collaboration and communication (clear and honest) are key.
What would you say is the biggest challenge in how you manage product teams and how have you have overcome it?
Managing multiple products with entirely different user bases and personas can be tricky. I would say the biggest challenge is allotting the right amount of time to each team and not overlooking the “less important” items like team dynamic and keeping the teams motivated.
Are there remote workers in any of the two engineering teams you manage? If yes, how did you find them? And what is most challenging in managing a remote product development?
Remote workers are a tough nut to crack. The challenges you face are many. Keeping them feeling part of the team, engaged, energized are just a few. One thing we do is to try and have everyone on video chat when having meetings so everyone can read the facial expressions of all involved. Hard to enforce but leads to great results!