- How To Be A Successful Product Manager
- My Successful Product Manager Resume For Microsoft
- Product Management: Main Stages And Product Manager Role
How To Be A Successful Product Manager – Todd has been a part of the production companies of some of the best companies in the Jackson Valley, from Google to Facebook to Twitter, after he bought his own startup, Cover. Now VP of product and design at Dropbox, he’s worked with hundreds of product managers — and hired dozens more — over his career.
While Jackson was at Twitter, the company surveyed its engineering, product and design teams to learn what they were thinking and each other’s areas of expertise. While it was clear to everyone what engineers did (write code) and the majority could describe the responsibilities of designers, less than half of respondents knew what product managers actually did. It seemed like something the production team, and especially Jackson as director of product management, should dig into. (Surprisingly, PMs know what others have done).
How To Be A Successful Product Manager
When he asked what many people thought the Prime Ministers had done, he realized that everyone had different answers. “I think it’s because the PM role has to be deliberately flexible, almost by design,” he says. “A PM basically sits at the center of UX, technology and business. You may have heard the quote ‘The Prime Minister is the CEO of their product’. I think that’s pretty accurate, but they have to do a lot of different things well, and it’s really hard to find good ones.
A Guide To Product Management: Essential Skills, Responsibilities, And Tools
In this interview, Jackson explains how startups can define the types of PMs they need, source candidates, ask the right interview questions — and, most importantly, convince them to work for you.
Doing this well — no matter what you’re building or the environment you’re working in — requires a certain set of qualities. Jackson divides them into three categories: must-haves, nice-to-haves, and bonus qualities:
Both excellent intellectual ability and the ability to synthesize information help a PM identify what a winning product looks like and how it can strategically succeed in its market. The company culture requires excellent communication, leadership and performance to express the vision for the product and inspire others to devote their time and energy to it. “I’ve never seen a great product manager who didn’t have all four qualities in the must-have column,” says Jackson.
In the Good to Have column, a technical background and entrepreneurial spirit will help the PM gain the loyalty and credibility needed to inspire great work from engineers and designers. Analytical and strategic thinking is essential for sustainable, intelligent iteration. Most popular tech companies like Dropbox only hire PMs who cover both columns A and B.
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Bonus features like writing code, creating mockups, and running their own analysis are what you might look for in an early hire or small team. They increase your productivity per person. In larger companies, you’ll have more people to specialize in these tasks, so PMs aren’t usually needed. It is always good to have them. Sometimes they are more important than others in the life of a company. The first product hire requires extra effort, Jackson says.
“This definition of what a PM should be and have is about 70% correct for most companies,” he says. “But if you’re a SaaS company with a large sales team, you might have a different archetype in mind than if you’re a social app company with 40 people.” So think about what is critical to a PM’s success at your company, and then what the “chosen” attributes might be to fit your industry and product. Actually write the list. Seeing it laid out visually makes a big difference when you start talking to candidates.
When you search for PM, you’ll get a mix of active candidates and referrals, but it’s also a good idea to source candidates yourself on LinkedIn. The latter will give you a more refined sense of who has what experience and how that maps to what you need the person in that role to do.
While there isn’t one successful PM archetype, Jackson likes to think there are a handful of PM people who can work well together. The anonymous profiles below are all representative of the amazing product managers he knows personally and show the breadth of different backgrounds that can make great PMs. “It’s important to seek out different experiences and backgrounds,” says Jackson. “Your users and customers can be diverse people, and so should your employees. This can actually be a huge competitive advantage over other companies that think too rigidly or homogenously about their hiring.
My Successful Product Manager Resume For Microsoft
Bachelor’s degree in computer science from a school like Georgia Tech, Brown, Rice, or University of Illinois – schools with great CS programs
“I love the range of experience here,” says Jackson. “Experience working on advertiser and publisher facing products and consumer facing video products around search and discovery. Also, she had an attempt to start a non-profit organization. This is the person you definitely want to talk to.
“Whenever you’re talking to someone who doesn’t have full-time work experience, it’s a very high-risk, high-reward opportunity. So you should do everything you can to look for evidence of their ability. The first sign I have here is that they went to Olin College, which some people may not have heard of, but I know that reputation makes great product managers,” says Jackson. “All the PMs I know who have gone to Olin are very technical but creative. Their course assistant work is a touch of humanity. It’s a technical background married with a creative user-facing experience. Definitely worth a phone call.”
“You see this profile more often these days — people who want to get into technology through consulting or funding,” Jackson says. “And many of them will make great product managers because they have analytical thinking and a strategic mindset. But you need to make sure they have a real interest in solving technology and user needs. Also, are they willing to collaborate effectively with engineers and designers or give directions and ensure that their instructions are followed through?” These are two common pitfalls I see when hiring people from this background.
Using The Pedals Method™ To Work With Engineers As A Product Manager — Lewis C. Lin
A better version of this profile is what this sample resume includes: Some experience working in technology. A technical background is a good indicator of problem-solving skills and a willingness to make things happen. But even so, the culture in some consulting shops leads people through force or command-and-control methods rather than enthusiasm and influence. “When you talk to these candidates, always ask them about how they lead—and you want to hear them talk about how they lead by example.”
He has a “strong interest in usability and direct interactions with users,” his LinkedIn summary says.
“I like this type of profile because you know if this person has the product skills you’re looking for, they’ll be great at working with the engineers or designers on the team,” says Jackson. “If one’s entire experience is in engineering, one should look for other signs that one is a product thinker. Here it is in person summary, but not every engineer will say so.
You should look for evidence that someone is taking steep learning curves and growing rapidly without a clear stated interest or experience in the product. Did she teach herself new programming languages to work on a project? Did he rise quickly in an organization? Those actions indicate that they are entrepreneurial enough to flexibly transition into a product role.
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“It can be challenging because a lot of great marketing and biz dev people can overwhelm you—they’re really good at talking about tech products, but you have to be careful,” Jackson says. “Can they actually build things? Have they built anything in the past?”
Let’s say that at their last company they led deals that required them to understand technology and product integrations – that would be a positive indicator. Also, as a co-founder, this person developed and launched new products.
“You may find that a CS degree isn’t always necessary,” he says. “But it helps. If they don’t have a technical background, they should have interesting entrepreneurial experience that has been mentioned elsewhere in their past roles.
A typical PM interview has three stages: the phone screen or coffee, the one-on-one hiring ring, and the panel presentation.
Product Management: Main Stages And Product Manager Role
The screening process is mostly about finding a mutual match. If you’re hiring for a startup, about half the time should be spent getting the person to come in and talk to the rest of the team. The fact that the caliber of people you’re following and your startup is probably unknown means you’re most likely in sales mode.
When it comes to the one-on-one hiring loop, who you want to add from your side depends on the size of your company.
Let’s say you’re starting out with less
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