Product manager |Freelance writer| Introvert
If you have decided to transition into product management but do not know how to begin, you are definitely not alone. This career was ranked as the top 5 job on LinkedIn's Most Promising Jobs for 2019, and in extension has gained many enthusiasts.
Not sure what kind of Product manager you want to become? This is not a problem too. In this article you will learn about the different types of product managers and the fields they most often transition from.
Also, you will have a number of Product Manager communities to join, and options of schools to enroll in. All to get you started with your choice career—Product Management.
1. The Technical Product Manager: A software developer looking to transition into product management will most likely become a technical pm. This is as they understand the software development life cycle of a product, enough to readily know what should be shipped pretty fast, and what needs more significant development time invested in it.
Also, having worked with developers, or being one themselves, a technical PM is able to build strong relationships with developers and maximize team output.
2. The Analytic Product Manager: APMs typically were most often analyst or data scientist before delving into product management. Their love for data gives them the insights that keep them fully informed about the performance of a product.
3. The Marketing Product Manager: Backgrounds in Advertising, PR, marketing, sales support, or other areas related to marketing, are common with Marketing Product Managers. Their expertise is pivotal through out the launch cycle of a new product as it is obvious to them what features of a product will distinguish it as valuable to the buyers and consumers, or if a feature should be discarded.
4. The Get-shit-done product manager: This product manager delivers at all cost. They do whatever it is that is needed to achieve their goals, even if it means working their team 25hours a day. As rare as this type of product manager is, they are often found at fast-paced and high-growth environments.
5. The visionary product manager: VPMs think in long terms more than they think in short terms, regarding products. They are extra concerned with how a product impacts their vision for the company and not solely the need to release the product. These traits are typical of founders of startups or ex-founders.
Knowing the type of product manager you want to become is one thing, and knowing the type of product you will like to work with is entirely a different cup of tea.
Although the responsibilities of Product managers vary from company to company, product managers can be broken down into three major groups.
1. Internal Product Managers: An IPM works on products for people inside a company. The core focus is to solve problems of the users in the company, which may enable the company satisfy their customers.
The output of internal product management is not for sales but to enhance the productivity of various aspects of a company's business. These internal products are mostly used by software-as a-service companies. E.g, Customer relationship management tool, human resources information systems, and membership systems e.t.c.
Internal product management is often recommended for newbies, as the risk is lower than that of commercial products. Besides, it's indeed a safe environment for beginners. But don't forget the cliches around 'comfort zones'.
IPM's KPI: Usage, Usability, Cost reduction, and comfort e.t.c.
2. B2B Product Managers: Business to business products are developed by companies for other companies. The key difference between this PM and internal PM is that the clients pay for the product.
If there is any mistake with a new version of a product, it will be seen by the clients who are paying for your product. And the brand of your company could be jeopardized in the process—More risk.
Regardless, the customer database of a B2B product manager is small. This is because the buyer (your customer) is not necessarily ,same as the person who uses the product.
B2B PM's KPI: Profit, income, cost, and margin e.t.c.
3. B2C Product Managers: This here, my friend, is the toughest to begin your product management journey, and perhaps, more rewarding. You will be needing more than grit, perseverance, smartness, and ability to work under pressure, to thrive.
B2C products are sold directly to the customer. Same person buys the product and same person uses the product. And the customer base is usually large, up to millions of users. This has the most risk!
B2C PM's KPI: Basically to generate revenue.
One way to never miss out on valuable learning-opportunities, connections and information beneficial for your journey as a product manager is to stay in the circle of vibrant product managers.
1. Mind the Product: This is a slack community that was created as a medium for product managers to engage with each other. It offers you a wealth of people to talk about anything product with.
As at May, 2020, the community has a member strength of 34,292+ product managers.
Get an invite to join the Mind the Product Slack Community.
2. The Accidental Product Manager: "Nobody ever said that being a product manager was going to be easy", right? This LinkedIn community gives you a place to collaborate with other product managers, connect, and build your network. Member strength: 31,496+
Join the community here.
3. Product Management: This group has 119,641+ professionals with shared interests around the topics product management, product Design, Agile, UX, Startup, Design Thinking, Innovation, and Product Development e.t.c. In this LinkedIn group though, only content directly related to production management is allowed to be posted.
4. Product Manager Africa: Here, you get to enjoy a lot of product stories and resources. In this Whatsapp group, product managers share practical insights into successful product design and development. For a wider reach, the community also has a Slack group.
Click here to join either groups.
5. Product Coalition: If you want a slack community with fewer channels yet very engaged then this community is for you.
You can join here.
While there are valid online courses that you can sign up for, like the Udacity Product Manager Nanodegree course, you can also enroll in a school that specializes in product management.
Self study is amazing and commendable. But if you find yourself wondering where to start or how to start, do not hesitate to get guidance. Getting a mentor is one way, and enrolling in a school is just perfect. Bonus? You will be better able to deal with imposter syndrome if it ever encounters you.
1. Product School: PS prides as the first tech business school offering product management certificates and corporate training. In this school, you will learn to build software products from end-to-end. The facilitators are product managers that work at top tech companies like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Netflix. You can enroll here.
2. Product Dive: To get you adequately equipped for a Product Manager role, product dive offers a practical, hands-on, full experimental program that provides you with skill sets in Idea validation, UX Research, Product Analytics, Market Intelligence, and Agile Development. Apply here.
3. Utiva Product School: In a space of 2 months of experimental learning, the product management class of Utiva will help you develop the skills you need to effectively transition into Product management. You will be a part of practical classes on Product Thinking, Agile Execution, Design Thinking, and Integrated Product Leadership. You will also explore many case studies in the course of your learning. Click here to register.
2. Aha! Blog
3. Product Plan
4. Product Hunt
6. Ken Norton
10. Product Habits
If you have read up to this point, congratulations! You deserve to know how much product managers make, maybe not in Silicon Valley, but in your country. Click here to check that out.
You might also like to read my previous article on Product Management titled, Have you Considered Becoming a Product Manager?
Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.