Many ask me how to become a #productmanager
Indeed, what's not to love in this role? At the convergence of business and technology, it also bridges the gap between users, developers, and designers.
The effort needed to forge features from requirements to form a product, and a profitable one as such, characterizes one the most exciting positions in the modern technology work environment today.
I recently went through such a journey. Here is my story.
First, it is crucial to note that if this is your first exposure to the technology industry, you are doubtfully bound to get far in your search for a product manager position: It requires familiarity with the corporate culture, the ability to study business problems, to understand a technology stack, a knack for prioritization, and leadership skills.
That’s why many reach product management positions only after having gained experience in a variety of prior other engagements in the industry. Some come from development roles, some grow from customer support, others from quality control, and yet anothers from marketing roles.
But is there an additional unifying line, beyond the desire and ability to influence the way a technological company affects the world? I’d say not…
As an industrial designer by training (Bezalel '91), my initial experience lies in traditional industries: interior design, industrialized furniture, consumer products, industrial equipment… Like so many colleagues, I kneaded metals, wood, plastic materials to create physical reality, in the process using digital processes: Collaborative work over the internet, electronic mock-ups and digital twins, and prototypes.
However, during the 15 years that I have been involved in the field, I gradually developed an appetite for deeper understanding of business processes, of economic motivations, of the way in which organizations create value for their customers, their employees, and their shareholders.
The training I was looking for materialized when I rolled into an intensive MBA program (Kellogg-Recanati '04), that would change my career path.
In the ensuing two decades, I moved from management to technological entrepreneurship intertwined with business consulting.
As it turned out, every project I was involved in as an entrepreneur had a product aspect to it, increasingly leaning towards the digital world.
Indeed, in the last few ventures, I was involved in analyzing business problems and opportunities, characterizing a technological solution, defining user and machine interfaces, connecting marketing funnels for product-led growth - and in short: A proper product manager.
I recently had the privilege of joining as a product consultant in a multidisciplinary company ramping up towards the launch of a new product line.
A challenge - and an opportunity - that both parties embraced with both hands.
During the last months I defined the following products:
- A multi modal CMS (web app)
- A game console (android)
- A control app (mobile)
This while employing classic product management methodologies:
- Strategic roadmapping
- Usage scenarios
- UX characterization
- Analytics and KPIs
- Quality control
Out of sheer enthusiasm (and the situation), I also found myself:
- Building a content operation (recruitment and activation of a team)
- Developing hundreds of games and dozens of new game mechanics
- Creating landing pages and mini sites for the new market
- Producing product brochures
- Participating in the production of demo videos
- Defining a new hardware product feature
(The company may not be big, but is widely spread).
As a consultant, I could run my own subcontractors (designers, user experience and content people), and offer the client a flexible service package with the intensity needed in the face of an ambitious schedule.
And how has the last six months been for *you*?
Every consulting assignment has a peak, after which - as the launch date approaches, the features are written, tests and analytics are defined - intensity naturally subsides.
This is good news!
I mean, also for my next clients, whoever you are...
If you too are going through market and user need analysis, about to set what would define your product answer -
If you are in the process of developing a new product, and you lack a product manager with "zero to one" ability -
If you need an external audit process for the product processes (and results) in your venture -
You are welcome to contact and I will be happy to help!