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Becoming a Successful Product Manager by Product School CEO

There are just as many ways to become a successful product manager as there are people talking about it. However, there are a few key skills that hiring managers will agree on; product managers need to have some tech knowledge, good communication skills and know their industry.

These are the things that the Product School CEO talked about at a recent event.


CEO and Founder of Product School

Carlos González de Villaumbrosia is the CEO and Founder of Product School. He has eight years of experience building teams and digital products on three continents. He’s founded three companies. Before Product School, he was the Lead Instructor of Product Management at General Assembly and co-founder and CEO of Floqq (invested by 500 Startups), the most significant marketplace for online video courses in Latin America.

Breaking into Product

Trying to break into Product Management, or looking to stay on top of your Product Management game? Carlos covered how to grow your career once you’re a product manager, what makes a successful Product Manager and how to understand the role and importance of product managers in today’s tech industry.

He went through the chapters in the Product Book to explain better how you can succeed in product management. The Product Book focuses on showing you the framework of how Product Managers work and what are the tactical steps in product management. Carlos also shared tactical tips on how to transition to product management and grow your career.

Becoming a Successful Product Manager by Product School CEO

Bullet points:

  • Getting a Product Manager job is not just about hacking the interview, it’s about knowing how to do the job right.
  • A Product Manager works at the intersection of business, design, and engineering. You don’t need to master all the categories, but you need to be good enough at all of them.
  • When your product gets big, you need a Product Manager.
  • The usual paths to product management are from software engineering, entrepreneurship and finance/OPS.
  • Some alternative ways (not so unusual) into product are customer support and marketing.
  • The desire to fix problems is crucial for Product Managers.
  • Being a Product Manager doesn’t always require the title “Product Manager.” There are many different titles such as an Associate Product Manager, Product Engineers, and Group Product Manager.
  • The perfect Product Manager skills include technical background, industry expertise and communication skills.
  • To become a Product Manager you don’t need an MBA or CS degree. You just need to know your product entirely and be an excellent communicator.
  • Treat your job search as a job itself! Check here Carlos’ Mock Interview Workshop.


Have any comments? Tweet us @ProductSchool 

The Product Book has arrived! Learn how to become a great Product Manager. On sale for a limited time. Get your copy here 

We teach product management courses in San Francisco, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, and New York. To learn more about our upcoming courses and how to apply click over to our course page.

Building New Products with Google’s Product Manager

Building new products that appeals to different cultures can be a complex task. It requires in-depth research efforts and a highly structured way of solving product questions. You have to take a lot of different things into consideration.

In a recent event, Joris van Mens talked about how they do this at Google.



Product Manager at Google

Joris van Mens is an Amsterdam born Product Manager at Google, where he is focused on building new technology for users in emerging markets. Prior to being a Product Manager, he was a financial analyst and account manager at Google. He holds an MSc in Economics from the University of Amsterdam and studies Artificial Intelligence at Stanford in his spare time.


How to solve cultural problems when building products?

In this event, Joris explained how Google’s product teams solve problems related to building products for different cultures and what they have learned about building new products at Google. He also talked about what he does exactly on a daily basis and how they do research at Google.

Google’s “Next Billion Users” effort aims to build better Google products for emerging markets. It does so by adapting current products to fit better the needs, and environment of these users, and by building new products from the ground up specifically tailored for users in such markets. Joris shared some tips for building new products.

Building New Products with Google's Product Manager


Bullet points:

  • Figure out where the users are.
  • Use what you’ve learned.
  • Internet growth is happening everywhere.
  • A huge number of new online users are coming from India and China.
  • Hundreds of millions of Chrome on Android users are from next billion user countries.
  • What have they learned at Google? A lot of the smartphone users in India run out of storage space every day, 50% of the users in India are on 2G, “free” apps are expensive in India due to data fees etc.
  • Google’s intention is to remove download barriers, optimize for speed and build for intermittent connectivity.
  • Speak many languages while trying to think what the users might want.
  • Google’s solution for connection issues; the dinosaur game, getting the search results at a later time, download later, etc.
  • Research: get out there, experience the market and set research goals. Do field interviews, visit markets and universities, aim for diverse demographic and share summaries of the findings.
  • When doing the research get scheduled participants for long in office interviews and test the products live.
  • Research tip: immerse. Use guesthouses, stay more in local places, eat local, go to places where the locals are and use local technology.


China and India are huge markets that are growing rapidly but they are very different culturally. It’s very important to understand the people and life over there to be able to build better products for their needs. Knowing what to expect can provide you with crucial information and help the building process.


Have any comments? Tweet us @ProductSchool 

The Product Book has arrived! Learn how to become a great Product Manager. On sale for a limited time. Get your copy here 

We teach product management courses in San Francisco, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, and New York. To learn more about our upcoming courses and how to apply click over to our course page.

Read Until You Understand with former VP of Product at HYFN

If you don’t have the right info to be a successful product manager, where do you find what you need to support your decisions? What happens if something comes up that you just don’t get?

Chris Graham, a former NFL consultant, joined us for a live chat in our Slack Community and according to him, the best method, is to read until you understand.


Read Until You Understand with former VP of Product at HYFN

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the former VP of Product and Marketing at HYFN. He oversaw HYFN8, an enterprise social media management system, and advertising publishing tool. He is familiar with the startup cycle through all of its phases. He has also taught Product Management for +3 years at establishments including General Assembly and has acted as a consultant for numerous early-stage startups and the NFL. He holds a degree in Economics and Political Science.


Can you talk more about how you broke into product management?

Absolutely! My background is in economics and writing, which I translated into a job in marketing. From there I joined HYFN on the marketing/business development side with an ambition of moving into product management. I did the usual things like proactively seeking to contribute to the product, learning about tech, etc., and was put on the project full-time.

For new Product Managers, the number one thing you need to understand is beyond contextual skills like story writing, agile, and understanding the tech, you need an extremely deep knowledge of the domain and the customer to be successful. Trying to be a Product Manager before you have that is tough.

Also, candidly, a lot of it is luck based if you’re not an engineer by trade, as a lot of organizations want technical product managers or experienced ones. That’s why I suggest making it a lateral move within an organization if possible.


What do you find is your most valuable tool in creating buy-in across different parts of the organization?

That depends on the specifics of the organization and your role in it, but there is no substitute for in-person communication with every major stakeholder. Design, tech, finance, etc. have to have a decision maker in the room with you concurrently, or they’re not going to be aligned, especially in newer organizations or less mature products.

I’d suggest aligning with each individually and guiding the conversation when they’re all in the room. Unfortunately, that’s the best tool I’ve got.


Could you elaborate on aligning incentives and how you accomplish that?

A basic example is in markets where you want your customers to perform an action, such as evangelizing your company. Companies like Uber create an affiliate program, which rewards the new user, the existing one, and Uber itself. Within an organization, it involves understanding the needs of finance, design, your customers, technology, etc. and making sure their needs are taken into account as you make decisions.

This is incredibly hard to do without a deep knowledge of the industry and/or the organization. I was bad at it for a long time, but if you’re taking all of those things into account, you’re on the right track.


How have influencers come into play?

Influencers are great if their values align to those of your company, but they’re just a method of distribution and awareness creation. If the product is bad, the results will likely be too. Marketing exacerbates and emphasizes whatever you already are.

Read Until You Understand with former VP of Product at HYFN


Is it data analytics that drives the decision of adding a new feature on your product or are there other factors?

Depends on the product, and the stage in the life cycle. In short, yes, but you don’t always have ~100mm users and a 1% test to extract meaningful data, so you’ll rely more on qualitative measurements. Alignment with the long term vision for the company is also a major consideration.


What’s your biggest challenge in your effort to align the incentives for various teams and stakeholders?

People who place their own ambitions over those of the team. Life changing for people involved in the company. Hard problems being inherently stressful. Creating trust.


What was your first job and what was the lateral movement from there?

I wrote a sports blog. Then I was a marketing manager. I moved to HYFN to do some marketing and Biz Dev, then moved into producing projects and managing a product. I have my own venture fund and education program now.


How do you measure a product feature’s success once it’s been released?

Adoption, especially by the target segment of the user base. If it’s adopted and loved, you almost certainly did well. This can change a lot between B to B and B to C products, but whether success is usage/revenue/sharing, it tends to be pretty clear, and a benchmark for success should be set ahead of time.

At times the issue is discovery of the feature, so make sure your users hear about it as it’s released, and that you’re tracking how easy it is to adopt in the product. UX is often the sticking point for new product adoption; see Twitter.


Were there any resources that helped you in particular in getting better at Product Management?

The hard thing about hard things is invaluable. I read a16z religiously. I also love Ribbonfarm, Slate Star Codex, and Stratechery. You have to be willing to be very uncomfortable, because you’re not going to be very good at most aspects of the job at first. I didn’t consider myself adequate for 2+ years.

A good start is: ask questions until you understand literally every aspect of the product you work on: customers, marketing, revenue model, tech stack, long term vision, design, etc.

Read Until You Understand with former VP of Product at HYFN


Have you ever picked up the reigns of a product mid-cycle? How did you manage this? What challenges did you face?

Love this question. Short answer, yes, and it sucks. The team inevitably has ideas about how everything should be done, and you’re probably not there because everything is going well. Start by taking 1-3 months to understand the personalities of the team, why things are how they are, who makes decisions, who do you need on your side, etc. From there, make 1-2 constructive changes per month.

On the customer side, find someone that loves/uses the product and will give you honest feedback within two weeks and make them your best friend. Use them as a proof point with the team when you’re saying things they don’t want to hear.


What’s your advice for people who want to get into product management with a design and analytics background but no business degree?

I hate business degrees, so you’re on the right track! No Product Manager is good at every product, we all have strengths and weaknesses (duh). So don’t try to be a product manager, try to find a product you want to work on.

Your best bet is to start at an early stage company where your other skills can provide a lot of value; Amazon needs you to do one thing, not 50. A startup needs all the help they can get. Ideally, it would be a company where you have a deep understanding of their customer. After a couple of years, you’ll be able to do whatever interests you. Hopefully.


What is an average day like for you at the office?

I run my own venture firm and education company, so incredibly varied. I take care of email and focus work from 7-10, then generally have meetings with portfolio companies, VC’s, LP’s, my partners, etc. from 10-5, with communication and work in between. I teach from 7-10 a couple of nights a week. I read pretty much constantly. There are no two weeks that look the same.


Do you have any advice on how to stay focused on the final goal of the product rather than having to play a part in the politics that may affect the outcome?

Unfortunately, you can’t change what a company values from the middle. Sorry. Trying to make the best of it, work backward from things that are hard to deny, i.e., define success with your boss(es), get them to commit to achieving those things, then advocate across teams, get their buy-in, etc. It’s hard. Sorry.


What are some good approaches to get a solid understanding of an industry?

Read constantly. Talk to a Product Manager you respect. Try to focus on a single kind of product/vertical. Talk to any company in that industry who will give you their time. Go work for one if you can, in any role.

Read Until You Understand with former VP of Product at HYFN


Any advice that you would give to your younger self?

Be less of a jerk. Focus on the outcome your client is trying to get to. Nobody cares if you’re right if you don’t get to the right outcome. Take the long view of your career even when you’re frustrated.


What’s something you didn’t know that you wished you knew before moving into a Product Manager role?

Everything. Literally. Amongst others, how software companies work, how markets value them, how we measure success (tactically and strategically), how to write a user story, what makes a good user experience, cash flows, etc.


Would you ever hire someone without a degree?

I have many times. A degree is a signal for lazy people that can’t evaluate talent. A competent hiring manager can tell if you’re a good fit or not based on your track record and skills.


How have you worked with designers/design teams, and what were the characteristics of good collaborations vs. bad ones?

Bad designers fail to understand users and their needs and instead focus on what they want. Good ones do the opposite. Great ones know when they’re right about users and when they’re wrong relative to product managers. They should be an integral part of any good cross-functional team with tech/pm/QA/analytics and treated as an equal stakeholder.


What qualities/skills you think, are essential before one should feel confident to break into a Product Manager role?

Leadership. Accountability. Putting the entire team, customer base, and possible investor base ahead of yourself. Humility. The ability to understand the difference between what/why/and how, and where you fit in (what and why). Knowing the customer and industry deeply. Soft skills for getting people to want to work with you.

Read Until You Understand with former VP of Product at HYFN


How do you train yourself to handle information overload and focus your energy on all aspects of a product?

I got better at processing information by reading a lot and constantly trying to push my limits. Once you achieve a certain level of skill, the ability to process lower level information is much easier. I also set a north star for my products and always re-focused myself on that. ‘Focus on what matters’ is something I tell myself every day.


How do you handle the time it takes to write user stories and do wireframes, etc., vs. the meetings and activities a Product Manager needs to engage in?

Make the meetings smart and efficient, and end them when they’re done. ASAP hire a UX person to manage the wires, it’s damn near impossible to do both. Do focus work in the morning before everyone crushes you with requests.


Any lessons learned the hard way?

Pretty much all of them. Pricing, understanding my customers, focusing on outcomes, understanding the market, knowing how to create buy-in across the organization. All things I was bad at and learned the hard way. How to keep my emotions in check was the most painful.


How can one prove/himself a good fit? Will that be company specific fit or generic fit for any quality Product Manager role?

I hire curious people who take personal pride in being a good Product Manager because across any realistic timeline they’ll succeed. They also need to understand our customers. They’ll learn our product with time. They need to have the nuts and bolts skills like story writing, running a meeting, etc. All my interviews are functional, so we make people do those things and see how it goes.


How would you convince your dev team to re-write features (and maintain the existing product with technical debt) when they are pushing back?

Demonstrate why it needs to be done from the perspective of the user, not yourself. Show them a proof point, data/qualitative feedback, etc. It’s not about you and them or right and wrong; it’s about the product failing to do what it needs to do. Own the failure as your own, because it is.

Read Until You Understand with former VP of Product at HYFN


Do you have any tips for Time Management knowing there is so much to juggle almost all the time?

Cut out nonsense. Your life/job have backlogs, groom them relentlessly and cut out anything that doesn’t get you where you want to go. Block time on calendars for you. Hold everyone, especially yourself, for being on time and using group time effectively. Block time to read and think, it’ll pay off.


How do you balance competing responsibilities that crop up from other parts of the organization and keep focused on Product-focused priorities?

Be candid with those people about what is realistic and prioritize relentlessly. Be transparent around what is taking your time and why. Elevate your time constraints to your boss/CEO and let them prioritize appropriately. If everyone knows you’re much better off. Make sure your people come first.


Would you agree with the thinking that Product Managers should not be writing the user stories, but someone in the development team would be better positioned to do it?

No. Engineers are not tasked with understanding your customer better than anyone; they’re tasked with engineering. They are a vital part of story writing, but if they’re writing stories and prioritizing, your product manager is probably bad.


How does your new role working in ventures differ from being a direct Product Manager?

It’s night and day. I don’t manage a team anymore; I manage entities that help other teams. Similar skills, but applied completely differently. I make their missions my mission.

Read Until You Understand with former VP of Product at HYFN


What are some best ways to validate new features or new ideas from a Product Management standpoint? What makes you certain that is what the user needs?

I ask them. From a B to B perspective, that’s often a very easy task: find the biggest pain in their day and eliminate it, then turn it into a positive outcome by saving them additional time or money. B to C is harder and tends to be a product of you loving and using the product yourself or inspiration. It’s a lot trickier.


What is your most effective way to prioritize features for a roadmap?

MoSCoW is useful, discussion, revenue analysis, size to value ratios. Unfortunately, it’s very company and product specific. Start by talking to customers, then evaluating the data, then hypothesizing, testing, refining, before deploying.


Any final advice for aspiring product managers?

Every time you hear about anything even slightly related to your field that you don’t understand, google it. Read until you understand. Read things that are far too challenging/uncomfortable until they make sense.

Understand that a lot of the value in learning is not going to come immediately in specific formats, but over time. As opportunities present themselves what you know will make and break them. Focus on leading the team, not being right. Know your customer better than anyone else.


Have any comments? Tweet us @ProductSchool 

The Product Book has arrived! Learn how to become a great Product Manager. On sale for a limited time. Get your copy here 

We teach product management courses in San Francisco, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, and New York. To learn more about our upcoming courses and how to apply click over to our course page.

Think Like a Product Manager by VP of Product at Lynda (LinkedIn)

Thinking like a Product Manager won’t come easily to people without the right frameworks and mindset. There are four mindsets when approaching ideation, creation, and delivery of high-value products that Product Managers need to know how to balance.

Ken Sandy shared with us what these mindsets are.



Product Consultant and Executive Coach

Ken Sandy is a 20-year veteran in the consumer internet industry. He has led Product Management teams at an executive level at both fast-growth, start-up companies looking to break into new markets, and at incumbents attempting digital transformations amidst industry disruption.

Ken is currently a Product Consultant and Executive Coach, working closely with companies looking to drive focus and growth through maturing their Product Management processes and teams. Ken is also an Industry Fellow at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at University of California, Berkeley, where he instructs in Product Management and Social Entrepreneurship. Previously, Ken was Vice President, Product at Check his website here.


The Four Product Manager Mindsets

The mindsets are exploration, analysis, critique, and evangelism. No matter what stage in the product lifecycle, simultaneously and deliberately viewing your product through these perspectives will help avoid common pitfalls and help deliver a superior solution.

Ken Sandy discussed these mindsets and what is characteristic about each of them. He also talked about how you can learn the relative advantages of each mindset: how exploration drives innovation, analysis drives understanding, critique identifies risks, and evangelism provides a path to delivery.

He put the execution into context: A Product Manager’s role is to build the right product, not to build the product right. It’s also to shed light on how to understand your “go-to” strengths vs. where you need to consciously practice.

Think Like a Product Manager by VP of Product at Lynda (LinkedIn)


Bullet points:

  • A product manager has to be able to convince people that they should do something. They also need to have contradictory thoughts about their product, such as, thinking about what can go wrong.
  • Product managers have to know how to criticize and critique the product to show that they can be objective, and identify the negative as well as positive things about the product.
  • The explorer mindset drives innovation. This happens by expanding the solution space with creative thinking, defining a product vision and borrowing from other products.
  • The analyst mindset develops understanding. A person with this mindset understands the customer and their unmet needs, sets and measures performance metrics for the product and explores data to look for unexpected trends. This person also observes and interviews customers.
  • Identifying and mitigating risks describes the challenger mindset. They shine light on flaws and approach ideas wanting continuous validation. They also communicate equally the things that concern them. They forget that their job is not just to decide what to do and, but also what not to do.
  • The evangelist mindset builds momentum and support and motivates teams. They communicate with everyone regularly, leave time for catch-up and know how to lose ownership to the team. For them, context is key, and they set it.

Identifying your own product manager mindset may help you do your job better. Also realizing which group others around you fall in will help you understand them better and the way they work. When everyone understands each other, they work better as a team.


Have any comments? Tweet us @ProductSchool

The Product Book has arrived! Learn how to become a great Product Manager. On sale for a limited time. Get your copy here 

We teach product management courses in San Francisco, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, and New York. To learn more about our upcoming courses and how to apply click over to our course page.

Dirty Little Secrets of Product Management with Lyft PM

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.

Dirty Little Secrets of Product Management with Lyft PM


Key Points:

  • 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.


Have any comments? Tweet us @ProductSchool 

The Product Book has arrived! Learn how to become a great Product Manager. On sale for a limited time. Get your copy here 

We teach product management courses in San Francisco, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, and New York. To learn more about our upcoming courses and how to apply click over to our course page.

Working in Gaming Tech with EA’s Product Manager

What’s the difference between a producer and a product manager? And more specifically what do both of them do in the gaming industry? The product manager at Electronic Arts joined our Slack community for an AMA session to talk about the product manager’s day-to-day life in gaming.


Producer or Product Manager with EA's Product Manager

Michael Eng 

Product Manager at Electronic Arts for about 3 years now, first as Business Analyst and later in the Core Product Management group. Holds a B.A. in Econ and is a hardcore gamer. In his free time, he likes playing basketball, watching superhero films, reading fantasy novels, and listening to mystery murder podcasts like Serial.


How did you get your first job as a Product Manager and do you have any advice for those of us just starting out?

I spent the first two years being a Business Analyst for EA’s Central Analytics team. I decided that I wanted more influence and impact in actual games, so I reached out to Product Managers in my organization and managed to move internally. For those starting out, I recommend that you reach out to as many people as you possibly can and really understand the Product Management function.


What would you consider the best lessons you’ve learned during your time as a Product Manager?

Learning how to identify problems and solving them, and making understanding the product at the core of the framework as being a Product Manager.


How is product management at gaming company different than other tech companies like Google, Uber, etc.?

The biggest difference is that Game Product Managers tend to be extremely data-driven, and less on the actual project management side. We’re constantly looking at dashboards, monitoring KPI’s, and looking for levers to pull in our game to push for performance.


How has your BA background helped you? Do you recommend that Product Managers be cross-functional with data driving decisions?

It has definitely helped a lot. Even if you don’t have an engineering background, being able to understand and query the data makes influencing that much easier. Data does not lie, so it’s easy to get your team behind a change if the data is showing something. Product Managers are always cross-functional, and it’s quite necessary.

Producer or Product Manager with EA's Product Manager


What advice would you give to a fresh grad looking to break into Product Management?

I would recommend applying to new grad Product Management programs and seeing what skillset they’re asking for, and then try to cater your resume to those skills and gain experience in those areas as much as you can. Leverage your network, and try to push as much as possible!


What products have you helped roll out or worked with in your time there?

I’ve rolled out several feature/content updates for mobile games; The Simpsons Tapped Out. It’s a pretty highly event-driven game, so most of our content updates revolve around releasing new items that we want to sell in-game.


Any advice for people already in the game industry (QA or production) looking to switch to gaming product management?

Start becoming more familiar with data and gain some skills in data analysis. Learn SQL, Excel, and start really understanding what drives those metrics in games. Becoming data literate is extremely important to being a game PM.


What are your top job responsibilities?

Merchandise planning, roadmap planning, feature analysis, forecasting, driving results, retargeting campaigns and A/B testing.


Does it help to be a hardcore gamer to work at EA or would that hinder you a little?

It definitely helps to be familiar with games. Understanding what makes a good game ‘bad’ from a design perspective will give you an edge over other applicants since you’re familiar with games in a way that other people who don’t play games are.

Producer or Product Manager with EA's Product Manager


What is the organization structure for the Product team at EA?

Both. There are different types of product managers that own different parts of the game, and they might have differing specialties. One person might be really heavy in design, and the other person might be more data-driven.

Typically the Product Managers starting off will be utilized in the skills that they’re strongest at, so Product Managers with engineering backgrounds or dev backgrounds will probably take on more of a producer role instead of a Product Manager role.


Can you explain the difference between a producer role and a Product Manager role?

It depends on the team. Some teams will split producers and Product Managers into two different functions, where the Product Manager is more of an analyst/producer and the producer is the product owner running the sprints, etc. Sometimes Product Managers will have to be the product owners running the sprints but that really just varies from team to team.


What do you enjoy in your current Product Manager role that you didn’t have as a Business Analyst?

Definitely ownership. I’m able to drive a lot of changes instead of just passing on recommendations and never doing anything after that. Being a Product Manager also requires talking to a lot of people, which I enjoyed a lot more than just sitting at my desk and being an individual contributor.

Producer or Product Manager with EA's Product Manager


If you were a Product Manager of a brand new game – what part of the funnel would you try to focus on?

Depends on the game. Think about what’s driving revenue? Is it content? Is it engagement with a certain mechanic that is driving that result? Every game operates differently, and there’s no one single formula that works for all games – it’s just a matter of understanding what game you’re working on and how the different levers work.


Does your job require that you interact a lot with Product Marketing?

Yes, I do interact with them a lot, especially for getting push notifications and re-targeting users to get back into our game. They also run a lot of ads and A/B tests in our games.



What are your thoughts on games with levers that are primarily content or story?

I wouldn’t say it’s a ‘lever’ per se, but for content driven games it really helps to understand the qualities of the items that make it sell so well. Are they characters? Buildings? Characters that give certain kinds of powerups?

Or is it power-ups that work well a specific mechanic in the game. If that’s the case, then what you’re really trying to do is get the most attractive content out there on the market, and spacing the releases in ways that drive the most results.

Working in Gaming Tech with EA's Product Manager


Would you advice game engineers who have shipped a few titles transition to producer role instead in the game industry?

I would start by talking to producers on your team and finding out if they need help with their project management part of their role. Once you get more experience in that resume, find out if you can transition internally, or put that stuff on your resume and apply externally.


Do you recommend starting out as product UX/UI design, web developer or business analyst?

You can start off from any of those and still reach Product Management. I would say that engineering is probably a bit easier since there are more roles out there that want their Product Managers to have coding backgrounds.


How do you prioritize game features?

Prioritize game features by looking at which ones have the most impact given the amount of effort. If a feature has a low impact but high effort, end with those last. For features with high impact and low effort on KPI’s, start with those.

Producer or Product Manager with EA's Product Manager


Any book recommendations on how to work on skills/judgment related to business strategy/intuition?

I wouldn’t say that there’s one particular book that you can read and suddenly become an expert in business. The best things in business are learned by actually doing and experiencing for yourself. You can try to read ‘The Lean Startup,’ but my recommendation is that you go out there and actually work on a product to really understand how to drive results cross-functionally.


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