Builders, tuners & innovators, says Linkedin's Sachin Rekhi.
In Summary: As Product Management becomes more popular, specialisations are beginning to emerge. Sachin identifies 3 archetypes he is observing in Silicon Valley.
The classic Product Manager is a builder. Builders love solving real problems for users and bringing products to life. Someone working on the next version of Microsoft Office or Google’s Android OS is an example of a builder PM.
Next are tuners who are growth hackers who've evolved into PMs. They relish moving the needle and running tests to see if their latest hypothesis was validated. Example of tuners include Uber's growth team or Facebook’s news feed optimisation team.
Finally, there are innovators who are tasked with finding product/market fit for a brand new product. They constantly assess their product strategy, work out how to validate it, and iterate until they reach the answer. The classic examples of innovators are Amazon’s initial AWS team or Apple’s initial iWatch team.
Sachin recommends that new Product Managers seek out experiences in all 3 of these roles in order to work out where their passion and skills lie.
Behance's Scott Belsky on the paradox of success.
In Summary: Product Managers tend to design their products through the lens of an active user. But, if you focus too much on power users, you stop engaging new users. The sad reality (and the opportunity for start-ups) is that most established products take their large userbases for granted and fail to maintain simplicity over time.
If you want to build a product that hundreds of millions of people can use, you must defy the tendency to prioritise the core product at the expense of the 'first mile'. New users are not the same over time. Successful products span multiple demographics, generations, and nationalities.
The users of your product don’t want to make choices, especially when they are in the first mile.
Check your bias, says Amanda Ralph.
In Summary: A recent survey found that 63% of Product Managers are male but this figure increases to 79% amongst Senior PMs. The startup world is no better: research indicates that investors preferred the same investment pitch delivered by a man over a woman by a ratio of 68:32.
The higher up an organisation you go, the more pronounced the gender inequality. Many aspects of Product Management are covertly male and female PMs have to overcome implicit bias as a result.
All Product Managers (male and female) need to be bias-aware and strive to make the PM community as inclusive and diverse as possible.
Product Management basics from Cliff Gilley (aka TheCleverPM).
In Summary: The minute you start working on a product your interests immediately stop reflecting the day-to-day needs of your users. In short, you cease to be the user, whether you like it or not.
The title of Product Manager doesn't confer mystical powers or abilities. You’re a conduit for the ideas, problems and solutions that your users communicate to you. Sometimes the best ideas and solutions come out of left field from the people you least expect.
The better you are at recognising your assumptions, challenging them and validating them with actual users, the better a Product Manager you’ll be.