The path to becoming a Product Manager is different for everyone. Depending on the organisation or industry some enter into this field by studying or working in marketing, where Product Management is traditionally categorised. Others become Product Managers as a transition from project management, or product ‘engineering’. As we meet more and more Product Managers from various industries, we find that people stumble into this line of work as a result of being passionate about the product. This passion fuels their desire to become the Product Manager despite their lack of work experience in this domain.
One thing is for certain. No one that I know started their career planning to be a Product Manager. In his introduction to the Product Managers Desk Reference, Steve Haines refers to Product Management as “The Accidental Profession”.
Although this may seem to indicate that anyone can be a Product Manager, the truth is, it’s not a career for everyone. Product Management requires industry knowledge and specific functional skills. Job seekers and career changers should consider whether they have the following key functional skills and experience for what it takes to be a successful Product Manager.
Skills and Abilities:
- Ability to identify and articulate customer problems
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- Good communication skills
- Passionate about delivering great products
- High attention to detail
- Able to work to strict deadlines
- Understand key financial information
- Team player
Tasks and Experience:
- Conduct Competitor Analyses
- Market Research
- Write Business Cases
- Draft Market Requirements
- Plan Product Roadmaps
- Build Pricing Models
- Forecast Revenue
- Create Use Cases
- Product Positioning
- Developing Marketing Plans
- Product Launch and Presentation
Education and Training:
- In marketing or a field that provides relevant industry knowledge
- Product Management Training
Have we missed anything? We have a few short articles on our website you may also be interested in reading:
- How can a salesperson become a Product Manager?
- Product Management Specialisation
- So what do Assistant Product Managers do?
If you are currently not working as a Product Manager and you feel you need tips on how you can become one, post your challenge below We may be able to give you some guidance or suggest some steps to take, or other readers may want to contribute their advice.