How to turn product management experience into a business of your own

A photograph of a smartphone and a notepad with design sketches on it
A photograph of a smartphone and a notepad with design sketches on it

Fifty-nine million workers classified themselves as Freelancers¹. That accounts for 36% of the US workforce. This isn’t a new trend — and the ongoing pandemic has accelerated growth in this segment of the workforce. Can you transform your product experience into freelance consulting work? The short answer is yes.

Getting the right role

Experienced product managers have ample opportunities. In its simplest form, you can be a contracted product manager. That said, there are a few different ways a product person can provide value to a client. I recommend picking one or two of the following areas to specialize in.

Experience level needed: PM…

How I built a high-performing product team by recruiting from other parts of the company

Earlier this year my company’s executive team made some major changes to the product organization. A byproduct was an immediate need to right-size the product management team. I had one product manager. I needed five. I had six weeks to build the team. There was no way I would hire four PMs in six weeks. I ended up hiring two. Once the dust settled I did end up with five product managers. How did I fill the other two openings?

Product managers are either found or made

Skilled PMs are hard to find and rarely on the market. Hiring one comes with risk: We base the decision…

The mechanics of executing a product strategy based on customer focus and company buy-in

What goes into building a great product? Simple solutions to real problems. Great products focus on customers. They are intuitive. No instruction manual needed. Great products also help the business. They simplify operations. Make customer support easy.

How do PMs build a great product? Vision. Strategy. Buy-in. Execution. I’ve had my fair share of failures as a product manager. Here’s a line-of-sight framework to building products that I’ve developed through a lot of trial and error.

Suggestions I give to every new or aspiring product manager

Being a product manager is a challenging and rewarding role in any company . When you go off to most colleges there isn’t a Bachelor of Product Management option. How do you learn to be a product manager? The obvious answer is you learn by doing. That isn’t always practical. You will need to know the fundamentals before you can dive in. Read on to learn about some of my go-to resources — especially for new product managers.

Note: Any links I have provided below are my suggestions alone. …

Hint: It’s not about you. It’s about them.

Over the years I have had the privilege to manage some very bright people. The lessons they taught me will always be more valuable than what I could ever teach them. Recently, I reflected on some of the most important lessons I have learned during my time as a manager. While there are many aspects to being a great manager the following lessons have stuck with me over time.

Every time I first meet a new team member I focus the conversation on their goals. Not their goals for the week, month, or quarter — but their big goals. Their…

A practical guide for product managers and product owners in an increasingly scrum world

Recently, I convinced several high performers from other areas of my company to join the Product Management team. We needed people who understood our product well to help prioritize the next generation of features. There was one big catch: They weren’t product managers and didn’t know anything about the scrum methodology or being a product owner. What follows is the guide I created for my new team to teach the basics of user stories, backlogs, and more.

When a product succeeds, it’s because everyone on the team did what they needed to do. …

Fundamental concepts or assumptions to guide product decisions

Credit: | Chris Lawton

Building products can be quite complicated. There are myriad factors that influence each and every decision — requirements come in from every angle including customers, internal stakeholders, executives, board members, investors, and the list really goes on for miles. How do you provide a simple set of guideline to steer the product team’s direction? I use five product principles to guide my team. Each principle is a fundamental concept or assumption that forms the basis for all our work. Keep reading to learn more about each principle.

This seems like a no-brainer, right? All product work should improve the user…

Nishal Narechania

Product leader. Wine lover. Coffee drinker. Pizza maker.

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