The Product Management Starter Kit
Recently, tech companies have come to the realisation that managing products is an integral part of operations but not in the way that can be included in the KPIs of the operations manager. No, managing a product involves seeing it from its ideation stage, down along the strategy phase, and beyond the point of execution. And so it was that the product manager role was born; to oversee the creation and sustenance of products.
In the following years, we have seen an increase in demand for product managers, and if our calculations are correct, the utilization of role will not be saturated anytime soon. This means that there is a vast opportunity to tap into this sought-after role, and that is what we will be discussing in this article.
MEET ELIZABETH AJAO: Product Manager, Enyata Inc.
Other than her passion for managing products, Elizabeth spends the bulk of her time promoting commercial awareness via Buft Letter. Her skill as a product manager and content writer offers much value not just in building but in offering insights that help us understand product management on a deeper level.
Here, we will be referencing Elizabeth’s Product Management Starter Kit article to help guide you along your journey to becoming a ✨ Product Manager✨. You could consider this as a sort of TL;DR or a Blinkist of her published guide. The goal being to highlight the resources to help guide enthusiasts as they begin their journeys.
So, here goes…
One pertinent question to ask yourself when considering product management as a possible career path is WHY. To be fair, any reason is valid. You could be in it for sentimental reasons or it could be for the promise of money. Whatever your reason may be, it should be personal enough to keep you motivated.
But it is necessary to understand the role so that you can consider if it is a path worth traversing. Here are resources to help with that:
Product and Project Management
On the surface project management and product management share traits that make them almost indistinguishable to those outside looking in. It is therefore necessary for any aspiring product/project manager to have a firm understanding of what these roles individually, what their differences are, and where they intersect.
- Product Manager vs. Project Manager: What’s the Difference? — Coursera.
- Product Manager vs. Project Manager — Product Plan.
MOVING ALONG TO RESOURCES
- The Product Book: How to become a great product manager — Product School (304 Pages).
- Hired: How to Get a Product Management Job — Product School (63 Pages).
- The Product Management Toolkit (Kindle Edition) — Marc Abraham (152 Pages).
- A day in the life of a product manager — Microsoft.
- What do product managers do? — Agile Coach
- How to become a product manager with no experience — Finance 101.
- Product Management for Dummies — Ben Sampson.
- Become a product manager; Learn the skills and get the job — Udemy.
- Exploring a product management career — Pluralsight.
- The complete product management career — Udemy.
- Product School; Product Manager Certificate — Product School.
- Udacity — Become a product manager Nanodegree — Udacity.
- Google Project Management Certificate — Google.
Join Product Communities
Communities are a surefire way to ensure growth and stay abreast of opportunities. There, you get to network with cool people who are already in the field to help guide you. Here are some communities that you can join:
Skills to Learn as a Product Manager
1. User Experience (some foundational courses in UX design should help here)
2. Product Strategy
3. Project management — here you’ll need to learn to use project management tools like Jira, Trello, Asana, etc. to manage tasks and workflows
4. Stakeholder management
Next Step: Getting your first Product Role — An Internship/Junior role
Having done the necessary work to get familiar with PM roles, you will need a job to better hone your skills.
Here are a few strategies that might help.
- Apply via a job advert/board. — LinkedIn, Flexjob, Indeed, Glassdoor.
- Cold messaging recruiters/founders — Emails/LinkedIn.
- Referrals from friends.
- Shadowing a Senior PM — Twitter, LinkedIn.
- Transferring in-house from another role.
While this might seem like a lot, we advise that you start with whatever you find doable and progress from there. After all, significant growth is often made up of short bursts of progress.
We are rooting for you. All the best.