All related (17)
Anton Kravchenko
Director of Product Management, SalesforceFebruary 4

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 what we do. There are great books available on this topic as well -- "Cracking PM Interview" is among my favorites. I also created a series of videos explaining tech jobs and what do I do in more detail - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsAz_arwNkiPobhi09VrMFg

2. Transition from other roles e.g. Engineering, Professional Services, Support.

This path is easier, as it assumes that you are already in a tech company and can make connections with internal PMs. Picking a PM as a mentor or just becoming a friend with one is a great place to start. I also need to point out that PMs sit at the intersection of Business, Technology, and UX (Customer) -- that is why engineers who transition to a PM team will have an advantage as they understand the technology much deeper. On the other hand, someone in Support who wants to become a PM brings a much deeper understanding of a customer.

Natalia Baryshnikova
Head Of Product Management, Confluence Experience, AtlassianFebruary 16

There is a fork in the PM career path road: one is becoming a people manager, the other becoming an expert in a deep thinking product area sans managing a team. 

My recommendation is to figure out which one is right for you. Many folks want to jump into management simply because they think this is the only way to grow, make more $$$ and so on. That is not true. Big and small orgs I have been a part of value senior individual contributors that are passionate about their individual craft. Speak with folks from both paths, and see which one resonates more with you. Try mentoring people and see if you like helping others succeed through your guidance as a "management path" check. 

Then, share your thinking with your manager to get them to help you moving along this path. 

Mamuna Oyofo, MBA
VP of Product, Shopify
To be a strong product manager, you will have to learn to balance your art in the science. That is your hard and soft skills. When you are new to a team, naturally you want to show your value and start to contribute right away. However you don't take the time to understand the dynamics of the existing team, build the right relationships, understand communication styles, you may set yourself up for failture even before you start. My recommendation would be to come in, get an understanding for the team and what their needs are. Build relationships, understand what skills are best used in the ...
Clara Lee
VP, Product & Operations (WooCommerce), Automattic
Sharp communication skills that enable proactive stakeholder management. This doesn't just mean blasting memos and updates to everyone, everywhere – it means:  * Speaking about what matters to who;  * Understanding what is the right timing; * And knowing which channels are most effective for getting your point across.  In some organizations, you may be lucky enough to have a Product Operations team to help you with that; in others, you won't. Leaning into comms and stakeholder management means:  * Risks are assessed early; * Issues requiring help are unblocked; * Expectations ar...
Tamar Hadar
Sr. Director of Product, The Knot Worldwide | Formerly Trello (Atlassian)
FIRST OFF, TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND REMEMBER, CRUSHING THOSE OKRS IS GOING TO TAKE TIME AND EFFORT. NEXT, SET CLEAR GOALS FOR EACH MILESTONE AND BUILD A PLAN AROUND IT. JUST LIKE YOU WOULD WHEN DEFINING A PROJECT, IDENTIFY SUCCESS METRICS FOR YOURSELF AND CREATE A PLAN. HERE’S AN EXAMPLE: First 30 days: Learning and Absorbing * Establish good working relationships with stakeholders: the key to being effective is having open lines of communication with your coworkers. Take the time to get to know them and learn from their experience. * Immerse yourself in data: learn where to find pe...
Vasanth Arunachalam
Director, Technical Program Management, Meta | Formerly Microsoft
I worked at Microsoft for about a decade and then moved to Meta to take on a new role, a few years back. That was the most unsettling period of my professional life. I’ve gotten accustomed to a certain culture, way of work life, people, tools & processes etc at one company and the thought of having to do it all over again was intimidating. I decided to build a 30-60-90-day plan in my new role at Meta to provide clarity to my team (and to my manager, myself) about how I’m going to ramp up. Deborah Liu, currently CEO at Ancestry, who was at Meta at that time, pioneered a template that is wid...
Anton Kravchenko
Director of Product Management, 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 what we do. There are great books available on this topic as well -- "Cracking PM Interview" is among my favorites. I also created a series of videos explaining tech jobs and what do I do in more detail - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsAz_arwNkiPobhi09VrMFg 2. Transition from other roles e.g. ...
Natalia Baryshnikova
Head Of Product Management, Confluence Experience, Atlassian
Startups are all about speed. To move fast, you need to know where you are going (aka what to be ruthlessly focused on) and allocate the most of your time/energy to that. Easier said than done, right? One thing that helped a lot in my early startup days was my framework of "One thing I am going to fail today".  Once you establish together with your team what you are focused on this week, month, quarter - write that down and look at it every day when planning out your work. Then, notice things that either don't help you move there, or things where your quality of deliverables will not be cr...