Transitioning to Product Management from Project Management
To understand what it takes to transition from the process of managing a project to managing a product you have to understand the difference between them.
I am going to start with defining a project. A project, according to the Project management institute, is temporary in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources. The basic difference between a project and a product, which will bring out the difference between project managers and product manages, comes from this very difference. A project has a lifespan hence managing it is a temporary process. Whereas, the life cycle of a product likely has an undetermined end hence managing it is an ongoing task with no predetermined end.
Project managers and product managers invest their expertise in the life cycle of a project or a product. Project managers’ skills are towards organizational and strategic planning whereas product managers have to focus on marketing the products. Taking a step into product management from project management, though it is like taking a step into a new career path you project management background can surely help.
Now if you want to transition from project management to product management ask yourself the following questions.
1) Are you strategic and have a knack for looking at the big picture?
2) Do you have the people skills to communicate to customers, engineers, and designers and aid to their working as a team?
3) Are you resourceful and can come up with creative solutions to get the job done? Can you be the ray of hope when your team is stuck up with an impossible problem?
4) Do you have the business skills to justify where you’re taking the product and convince your higher ups about the marketability of the product?
If answer to the above questions were yes then my friend your decision to make the transition from project management to product management was a step in the right direction.
Then all you have to do is change your outlook. Look at the bigger picture. Go ahead use your project management experience and related company knowledge to manage or to analyze, select and develop products for your company.