As stated yesterday, I completed the Product Management course at Udemy. If you need proof, here’s my certificate:
Overall, this was a great course taught by Jason Shah, a Product Manager at Yammer. Much of what was discussed were ‘things to think about’, interview tips, and several interviews of Product Managers from an assortment of variably sized companies. I was somewhat surprised to hear that most of the PMs Jason interviewed worked in engineering roles prior to taking a Product Management position. I was initially thinking that PMs are all MBAs that basically came into the role through business school, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Towards the end of the course, one of the interviewees mention a blog post by Ken Norton of Google Ventures,
How to Hire a Product Manager
- also an informative post about what companies should look for in a PM, so it serves as a litmus test for a person like myself thinking about what I need to bring to the table when considering PM opportunities.
In summary, here are a few notes that I made capturing the main points gathered from the course:
You generally don’t start out as a Product Manager. Hustle. Figure out where you can fit in.
Take on hybrid roles.
Talk to customers. Read the feedback.
How does sales affect us? What causes us to lose deals? Win deals?
Pattern Matching. Listen to all the ‘signals’: Feedback, talking to customers. Find the common thread and try to build a solution around that.
Dog-fooding. Use your own product to determine what customers might say.
Learn how to build
from an engineering prospective. Write code.
Be good at quantitative analysis (the numbers).
Be good at qualitative analysis (why the numbers are the numbers).
Look at the skills that you already have. Bridge your skills over to a product role.
Start small. It’s not overnight.
Be customer focused. Take your focus deeper.
First impressions are valuable.
Become the expert in your area. Do all the research so that no one else knows it like you do.
Have your own opinion on things.
When sizing specs, articulate the problem or opportunity and its magnitude
When sizing specs, state the goal and include metrics
When sizing specs, cover the core functionality through mockups and bullet points
When sizing specs, list out edge cases as needed
Ensure you have a plan for how to run the A/B test if you’re conducting an experiment
A lot of PM-ing is data-driven or at least data informed.
In general, you are the ambassador, however, you shouldn’t dismiss other input.
There were other points about the interview process, but I won’t get into those. The notes above are ideas about how to prepare yourself for Product Management and understanding what good Product Managers do; these are ideas for me to think about in my current role as an engineer, and positioning myself to eventually stepping into a PM role.