Why You Become a Product Manager Matters

This is the first of a series of posts dedicated to becoming a Product Manager, it will cover topics like getting an interview, how to prepare for an interview, how to ramp up and other related topics. It is most relevant for those who are coming from a non-technical business background, although there are principles that can be applied to others coming from a technical or design background. Hope you enjoy :)

Over the past couple of years, the rate of people who have reached out to me to learn more about Product Management has increased from a 2–3 times a year to nearly 20 times. Although that should come to no surprise as interests among young professionals in startups continue to swell as interests in counterpart industries like finance and consulting shrink.

However, another driver for this interests that I’ve observed from my conversations is related to the mis-guided glorification of the role. The most popular being that Product Managers are Mini CEOs who have the most influence and impact within an organization.

While there are slivers of truths behind that perspective, it is largely incorrect. In fact being a Product Manager is more akin to being a Mini CEO who has no power within organizations, but is both responsible for the business goals while being the strongest advocate for customers.

The struggle between these two priorities is real. If you didn’t become a Product Manager for the right reasons you will loose the battles worth fighting for and fail at delivering a product that creates value that matters for a user.

That’s why before we can even begin to explore the next steps to becoming a Product Manager, the first question we need to help you answer is:

Do you want to become a Product Manager for the right reason?

Fortunately it’s not a very tough question to answer, in fact if you choose option a) for the next three questions you can feel confident that you are motivated by the right reasons to become a Product Manager.

1. Do you care more about a) creating value for a user or b) how profitable your product will be?
If you selected b) you’re more likely to be a better fit in a business or operations role.

2. Do you care more about a) creating value for a user or b) how beautiful your product looks?
If you selected b) you’re more likely to be a better fit in a design role.

3. Do you care about about a) creating value for a user or b) how technically innovative your product is?
If you selected b) you’re more likely to be a better fit in a technical role.

Great if you selected a) for all the questions above, you’ve got the right motivation but now we need explore whether you have the right skill set for the role or perhaps more importantly the potential to develop them.

If you found this useful, follow me to make sure you don’t miss my next post on What it takes to become a Product Manager :)

Till next time.