Kick-starting a product career can be difficult, especially if you’re looking for a straightforward route. In this ProductTank London talk, Marc Abraham, Product Ownership Practice Lead at ASOS gives us a framework for breaking into product management.
He takes us through:
- Why planning a product management career is hard
- Getting started as a product manager
Watch the video to see Marc’s talk in full. Or read on for an overview of his key points.
Why planning a product management career is hard
As product people, we can all agree that the ways to get started in product management are varied. Marc confirms this as he talks about his own start, coming from a career in corporate law. In product management, there is no set entry point. Product managers come from a variety of different backgrounds. It is also a relatively new discipline as there are varied requirements for different job descriptions. However, this means that there are also a number of opportunities.
Starting out as a product manager
When starting out as a product manager, it’s important to recognize that you’re neither the boss nor the janitor. You can’t order anyone around and it’s not your job to clean up other people’s messes. Working in product is a team effort and requires the help of everyone. Some of the most important skills a product manager needs are curiosity, the ability to work with people, attention to detail, customer centricity, communication skills, problem-solving and data analysis. Early in your career, it’s important to focus on one thing and then build out your other skills. No two product managers are the same and each will have their own strengths and things to work on. Eventually, as you step out of the trenches you can look to become the sum of all things required from a product manager.
Finally, Marc gives us some great takeaways. To break into product management and grow your career, you need to map the present to the future, reflect on your career regularly, focus on your own skills and experiences that make you unique and find people for support.