How to Become a Product Manager: The Steps Explained
From beverages to phones to books, cars, and more, have you ever wondered about how the bestselling products in the world became such a commercial success?
For sure you know that even for just one excellent product, there are many people responsible for its development. The same goes for marketing, launching, and ensuring customer adoption.
So, where does the product manager fit into all these tasks? Let’s talk about the role of a product manager in an organization, as well as what you can do to land a job in product management and fast track your career.
First Things First: What Is a Product Manager?
Check out descriptions for product manager jobs, and you might get confused about what the role really entails. But if you want the simplest way to define product management, just remember that it’s all about problem-solving.
As a product manager, you decide what products and software your company should build. You’ll also collaborate with different teams to oversee the research, design, testing, and marketing of those products. Having strong leadership and communication skills help a lot because you’ll need to make sure that everyone involved in the project meets their deadlines.
Now, before you say, “I can do all those things,” remember that anyone can come up with ideas for the “next big thing.” Your job is to sift through those ideas, so your company can launch products that customers are sure to use. And the more customers use those products, the more they’ll generate profit for your company.
Do You Have What It Takes to Become One?
The good news is there’s no single path to becoming a product manager. Some get reorganized into the role, while others, especially those with a technical background (e.g. computer science) go directly into it.
There are also those who prepare by taking courses. For example, Advised Skills provide training services for Lean-Agile Transformation, Business Processes Management, IT Systems Integration, and so on.
Don’t hesitate to highlight what you’ve learned from these training services when you apply for a project manager role. Or if there’s no vacancy in your company, you can volunteer to solve problems as side projects. Don’t forget to document all the projects you’re working on so that when an opportunity opens up, you’ll be top of mind for those in charge of hiring decisions.
Fast Track Your Career in Product Management
Knowing that there’s no single road to becoming a product manager, there are still some steps that you can take to fast track your career.
First, even if your current job doesn’t require it, you can start learning more about product management software and product management tools. Second, look for good resources online. You might just find your mentors on a YouTube channel or a product management blog.
Third, be clear about which companies you want to work for. Some companies prefer candidates with creative skills, while others look for applicants with a strong technical background. Last but not least, take stock of your talents, interests, and skills, so you can get a job where you know you can make a difference.
You’ve Got This
Now that you know what a product manager does, plus some tips on how you can become one, do you still need more career tips and advice?
If yes, don’t hesitate to check out our other posts. We also have tons of articles on self-improvement, DIY, business, and so on.