For the past three months I have been a student at General Assembly in New York studying product management. It has been the most fun and intense months of my life!
Before enrolling, I, like many others, was unfamiliar with what a product manager really does. Now that I am done I feel unfamiliar with anything a PM doesn't do! Product Managers are going to be one of the most sought after employees in the coming years as more companies emerge into technology and launch tech-related products. As a product manager you work closely with everyone in a team to help drive an idea to product. That includes sales, marketing, stakeholders such as management and finance, but most importantly UX-designers and developers. What do you do as a PM? Well to start, you identify the product need and demand. From there, a long agile process of sprint planning and documentation is necessary. To highlight a few core responsibilities I can mention:
- Epic, User stories, user acceptance criteria
- Product Requirement Document
- Business Canvas
- Product Roadmap
- Sprint planning
- Product Backlogs
- Feature Prioritization
- User Experience including: user research, user testing, usability testing and ITERATING
- Future roadmap
- Market Research
- Time and people management
If this doesn't seem enough I urge you to think of something else - because I am sure we do! Being a PM requires the ability to collaborate with a variety of people in an empathetic manner. You need to know you sh** and be able to ship it! You have to be an excellent time manager, people satisfier and help contribute wherever you can. You own the product - it becomes your baby! And even though the process might require you to kill it sometimes, seeing an idea come into reality is very fulfilling. But don't think you'll get the credit.
We had multiple product managers come to speak with us while we were students. PMs from Twitter, New York Times, Etsy, FlavorPill, Soundcloud and Google were some of the outstanding people we got to meet in the field of PM. They told us that PMs take all the blame when something goes wrong, but don't receive any credit when things go smoothly. So don't pursue this career path if you are looking for praise and glory! However, it is nonetheless fulfilling if you like watching people create and make decisions that have big impacts on the product release.
I urge anyone interested in emerging tech to go into this field. And a PM course at GA (General Assembly) is perfect if you want to kick start your career.