SketchNotes — How to become Product Manager

This is a concise Sketch Note of 2-hour session conducted by Taruna and G C Mouli and organized by Hellomeets

Hellomeets is an offline community organizing local meetups on different topics. The topic was chosen and self-initiated as the speakers have been getting a lot of questions on how to become Product Manager, what they do and career path. Being an entrepreneur myself I have played this role somehow or the other, but it was like running a company with fire in the belly (and ass). My objective from the session was to get to know the role from somebody who is employed and the responsibilities and formal tools used at different stages of the company. Following are key takeaways from the session (and please pardon if I miss anything or misinterpret)

Taruna Manchanda — Progression to Product Management

Before I begin would like to point to an amazing article on Product Management Taruna has written on Medium.

Taruna is a self-made Product Manager having worked at different startups from early to mid to large and the experience was visible in the content of her talk. I thought the session more of a presentation or slide guided one. But it turned out to be quite conversational, much like Ted talk later on followed by Q&A.

  • Pick up your Mojo. Something that you really like doing and excel at it. Better than anybody else
  • Talk to people in your industry, domain, or anybody who you appreciate for work or their style of working. You get to know a lot of what it takes to be there.
  • To build a product understand the user and their ecosystem. I remember Taruna mentioned speaking to at least 100 people (am not saying, users, because at that time they might not be and it is bit inhumane). Talking to people will make you empathetic to them. And that’s the catch to designing and building great products
  • Chart out user Pain points in the context of their journey. Assumptions do not work.
  • Read about the domain you want to work on. Everything. You don’t need to be master but having a generalist knowledge of Design, Tech, Market, Business helps
  • As a product manager for large scale organization, you fill gaps that exist between different departments
  • Product management is highly ambiguous and unstructured work. However, I found a pattern in randomness

Talk to people → Figure out Problem → Find/Brainstorm solution → Plan execution → Get things executed (multi-focus on all department) → Test → Infer (and the cycle continues). Couldn’t come up with a visual for this for lack of time.

GC Mouli

Mouli sir very well articulated aspects of product management in a large setup. “Getting ducks in a queue, especially when there is a fight going on between them is what product management all about”.

Not to be taken literally but Product managers are under constant fire fighting mode making sure that the product reaches its end user in the way they expect, with the right infrastructure optimization and there is a good revenue outcome of the end result.

Mouli asked the audience to discover ones SUPER POWER (just like Mojo) and use that to foray into the domain of work. He has written many many blogs dissecting the product by design, revenue, branding and that’s what has helped him, groom, to understand and look at a product from different lenses.

Doing things without expectation is what he believes in. If you have Superpower you ought to use it, to help others and to increase it, then expecting a return. Of course, we all have to earn bread and butter but that’s an outcome of the use of your skills.

Overall it was a great session and learning for me.

And now time to see the amazing speakers and audience.

Mouli sir on left and Taruna on right