Anton Kravchenko

AMA: Salesforce Director of Product Management, Anton Kravchenko on Developing Your Product Management Career

February 03 @ 10:00am PST

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Product Management Career Path With Anton Kravchenko, Director of Product Management at Salesforce Already a member? Sign In
Top Questions
What's something that you didn't know it took to become a Director back when you were a senior product manager?
Something that you didn't know you would need to do that you only realized later.
Anton Kravchenko
Director of Product Management at Salesforce
Typically, promotions are the result of an individual's performance and business needs. In other words, it's hard to make a case for becoming a Director if your area can be covered by a single Sr PM, so both you and your product area need to grow.  PM Directors are also people managers who hire ...more
How do the skills you need differ across the different levels of product management?
Anton Kravchenko
Director of Product Management at Salesforce
Let me break it down by covering 3 different levels of PMs: 1. Associate PM -- the bar here is that you have great critical thinking, clear communication, energy, and a mix of CS and business degree.  2. Senior PM -- in addition to the above, you must have a track record of previously ...more
How do you think about staying within a company versus looking for opportunities outside? When do you know it's time to leave?
Anton Kravchenko
Director of Product Management at Salesforce
To make this decision, I think of opportunity, ambitions, passion, and time: 1. Opportunity - obviously there is a matter of compensation, but there is also an opportunity for professional growth. For example, joining a startup allows you to grow much quicker -- you will be wearing diff...more
What are the biggest frustrations you have as a product manager?
Anton Kravchenko
Director of Product Management at Salesforce
My biggest frustration is that I let people down. Currently, I work with teams of 50+ people, which means I need to be available all the time. The more senior as a PM you become the more folks you need to work with. Time becomes the most valuable thing and I'm still learning how to manage it effe...more
How do you decide if you should follow the IC PM path or the people leader PM path?
Anton Kravchenko
Director of Product Management at Salesforce
Different folks would enjoy different things e.g. if you are an introvert -- the IC track might be more suitable as you will be spending a good chunk of your time creating docs, prototypes, etc. It's fun -- just a different kind of fun. If your personality craves people interactions, the people l...more
What's the best way to break into the tech industry as a product manager?
Anton Kravchenko
Director of Product Management at Salesforce
There are different paths that each product manager takes, but the common ones I've seen are: 1. Joining a tech company as an Associate PM or an intern straight from college. For college grads, I suggest starting by connecting with other product managers (e.g. via LinkedIn) to better understand...more
What has been the most surprising thing about being a Director that you only realized after you were promoted?
Anton Kravchenko
Director of Product Management at Salesforce
Leveling up to Dr level meant being a point of contact for many people at the company, which meant more inquiries from sales, customers, leadership, and other product teams. Since I got promoted, my inbox and # of slack messages doubled :)  My learning from this experience is that you want to do...more
What is your favorite product management interview question and the best answer you've heard?
Anton Kravchenko
Director of Product Management at Salesforce
My favorite interview question was asked by a hiring manager ~8 years ago when I interviewed for an Associate PM position at MuleSoft. I was asked the following: "Imagine humans decided to take the moon and put it through a giant chopper/grinder. The mass that comes out of the chopper is being d...more
What framework do you use when assessing a new opportunity at a different company?
Anton Kravchenko
Director of Product Management at Salesforce
To make the decision, I think of opportunity, ambitions, passion, and time: 1. Opportunity - obviously there is a matter of compensation, but there is also an opportunity for professional growth. For example, joining a startup allows you to grow much quicker -- you will be wearing diffe...more
What's a typical career path for a product manager?
Anton Kravchenko
Director of Product Management at Salesforce
There are different paths that each product manager takes, but the common ones I've seen are: 1. Joining a tech company as an Associate PM or an intern straight from college. For college grads, I suggest starting by connecting with other product managers (e.g. via LinkedIn) to better understand...more
If I don't want to be a CPO or GM, what future executive role should I be shooting for as a PM?
Anton Kravchenko
Director of Product Management at Salesforce
If you enjoy Product, a typical path is either to become a people manager, remain IC, or quit to start your own thing. In big companies like Salesforce, there are plenty of Director level individual contributors (ICs), so if you don't want to manage other PMs, you are better off in a bigger compa...more
What metrics do you use to justify a pay raise?
Anton Kravchenko
Director of Product Management at Salesforce
It's less about metrics and more about the outcomes you are creating for the business. For example, you might bring 10,000 new users or improve a UX for a specific feature -- but what matters at the end of the day is how you impacted the business. Has any of that made the business grow faster or ...more
What are the different types of product managers, and how do you figure out which type you're the best fit for?
Anton Kravchenko
Director of Product Management at Salesforce
There are different ways you can think about it, but I like to think about PMs as those that build new products (0-->1) and PMs that come in to manage an existing product (1-->N). * 0-->1: Product Managers who build a new product or service from scratch often need to innovate, which means bu...more