4 Ways To Kick-Start Your Journey into Product Management

Thinking of making the move into product management? It's not easy to know where to start. That's why we've assembled our top resources to kickstart your PM journey. 

4 Ways To Kick-Start Your Journey into Product Management

From the outside, the role of a product manager isn’t always clear-cut. It involves customer research, product development, user experience, engineering, design, and even marketing. That’s a lot of skills and knowledge to build. 

One attribute you definitely need to succeed in product management is a desire to learn. 

That’s why the best place to kickstart your PM journey is by gathering as much intel as possible, then distilling it to work out where you need to focus on building your skills and knowledge.  

In this article, we’ve gathered the best resources to kickstart your product management journey. 

Let’s dive in:

Learn from the pros

Start by gathering knowledge and advice from product management pros. 

This Quora page is run by Ian McAllister, former director at Amazon and one of the best product managers around, so it’s a great place to begin.

You’ll find answers to questions like: What distinguishes the top 1% of product managers from the top 10%?

Spoiler: You need to think big, communicate, simplify, and prioritise. 

Want to fill your Twitter feed with product insights? Follow these product management folk for bite-sized PM wisdom and vibes:

  • Ian McAllister – Product leader, operator, advisor and former Amazon leader who created @AmazonSmile.
  •  Josh Elman Product leader and investor in Silicon Valley known for leading the growth and engagement teams at Twitter and LinkedIn and launching big platforms (Facebook Connect/Login).
  •  Keith Rabois - American technology executive, investor and currently a general partner at Founders Fund. Known for his early-stage start-up investments and his executive roles at PayPal, LinkedIn, Slide, and Square.

Top up your skills

Product management requires some very specific skills. That’s why here at Propel, we encourage our product managers to complete one of the Brainmates courses – like “Essentials of Product Management” and “Financial Fundamentals for Product Managers”. 

If you’re not sure where to focus, head over to the Association of Product Professionals. This new association, which Propel is supporting, is on a mission to advance the profession of product management. 

Complete a skills assessment to find out which skills you should focus on, and most importantly, how to fill those gaps. 

The framework identifies five distinct levels of career mastery and defines the 26 skills in the product management domain:

Skill-Matrix-logo-1

Read a book

If you only read one book on your product management journey, make it this:

Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love by Silicon Valley Product Group.

It delves into how today's most successful tech companies (think Amazon, Google, Facebook, Netflix, and Tesla) design, develop, and deploy the products that have earned the love of billions of people globally. 

Want to extend your reading list? Here are some suggestions based on your area of focus:

book map - product management

Dive into expert content

If you love receiving nuggets of wisdom in your inbox, sign up to the short blogs from Mind The Product

You’ll find insightful articles on a wide range of PM topics, from What exactly is a product manager? to How I got my job in product and Driving customer adoption and retention as a product manager

If you prefer to listen to your content, the Association of Product Professionals has compiled a handy list of the top product podcasts to follow

Connect with local PM groups

There’s nothing like meeting up with like-minded product gurus and nerding out over the latest product management framework. 

Check out your local product management communities for face-to-face talks, meetups and conferences. For example, in Melbourne, there’s Product Anonymous and Product Tank.

To find your local groups, head to Meetup.

Now, it’s over to you..