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What would you like to do?
Somebody asked me how to become a Product Manager. Here's what I wrote them.
Hi Jon,
Those are a lot of questions. Let me try to simplify it.
I think a Product Manager is a person who is responsible for determining
what a product should be and how it should evolve. This is a design role
and a more senior role in a product team.
To manage product, you should:
* Know how to design a product
* Understand the demand for the product, what people are trying to do, how they
buy and consume
* Understand the technical side of implementation well enough that you can
properly estimate and manage developers
* Understand well how the business makes money and how your decisions affect
the bottom line
Therefore I would suggest starting with product design, and pay as much
attention as you can to the biz and implementation sides as you go.
Ultimately a product manager is an integrator -- somebody who pulls a lot
of different things together.
Hope that's helpful.

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@kpbird kpbird commented Feb 19, 2014

Nice description

What do you means by "Know how to design a product"? Are you talking about UI/UX or Architecture/Technical design or both ?


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@alanklement alanklement commented Feb 19, 2014

@kpbird That's a good question. I find that 'design' in the context of 'Product Design' is used to mean different things. E.g. Wikipedia on Product Design: "In a systematic approach, product designers conceptualize and evaluate ideas, turning them into tangible inventions and products."

To me, a Product Designer is just as Wikipedia states and a 'Product Manager' is more of a 'paper pusher' role within larger organizations. As time goes on, I think the 'Product Manager' role will fade away as teams become smaller and 'paper pushing' is avoided. In it's place you'll just have a Product Designer who takes on the left over tasks that Product Managers would do.

The industry would benefit by having a clear definition of what a Product Manger / Product Designer is.

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