You don’t necessarily need a lot of experience to break into product management. No experience at all sometimes. There are many common skills that are transferable to product management. Planning a career in product management is promising. The sector is booming. More and more companies are creating digital products and are in need of product managers to make them successfully work.
Having a career in product management means autonomy whilst being extremely collaborative and communicative on a daily basis. If you’re into problem-solving and working with people, this position is definitely up your alley.
But how do you get into it?
Becoming a product manager takes time and practice. One thing I believe is that practice is the most important. Building a vision and skills to ace this career and be prepared to face any problem is the core of this job. Becoming a product manager is understanding how a product manager thinks.
I stumbled upon a post from Diego Granados the other day where he gave a few tips and advice on how to break into product management by just practising the following points every day for 5 minutes to help anyone break into product management. I thought his advice was extremely practical and wanted to share it with you.
Let’s get practising
The steps are very easy to follow. The main question to ask yourself is: "If you were to open your phone and see an app made by you/your team, what would it be and why?"
Step 1: Who is the app for?
One of the key elements of being a product manager is to know your audience and your target. Start by asking yourself. Who is this app for? Are you a gamer? Are you a student? Who are you targeting?
Depending on who your target audience is, things will change and you’d have to make different decisions and adapt to the situation.
Step 2: Know what problem the app is trying to solve
You now know your segment and who you’re aiming for and targeting. Now it’s time to know what is the aim of the app. What problem is the app solving for you and your users? What is it offering? Where is it situated in the market? How does it differ from other apps in the market? What is the value proposition of the app?
Step 3: What are the top 3 features of your app?
It’s important to know the strength of your app and the reason why it’s attracting customers. Now that you know the problem and how is it solving it... what are the top 3 features that your app has?
Step 4: Go a step further
Take a step further. Why don’t you try to build the app? One of the main ways to break into product management is to build your own app so that you can have a vision of every step of building and maintaining a successful app.
Are you scared to go the extra mile? You really shouldn’t be. There are many no-code tools available today that will make your job way easier. Building an app will also definitely help you enhance your resume.
Here’s what product manager Victoria Rubanovich recommends in order to build your own app:
⚒️ Go to Udemy
🏁 Enroll in a "Become a Product Manager" course
🔌 Join their Slack channel
🔦 Come up with a product idea - the simpler the better, preferably - a consumer product that can be used by people in that same Slack Channel
🔖 Make a Slack post about building a product and ask if people want to join
✏️ Make sure your team has at least one engineer and UX designer
🧹 Validate if the problem exists
📌 Build a product using no-code tools
🔑 Get it in front of Slack Channel users and get feedback
🧷 Iterate & Repeat
Let’s do a little exercise:
Now that you know what to do, let’s do a practical exercise suggested by Diego Granados.
📲 Choose an app from your phone. Let’s take the streaming app Spotify for example.
👤 Now, imagine your target audience is parents. You’re going to focus on how parents use Spotify for a certain purpose. All the features remain exactly the same. You’re going to focus on the use of Spotify for parents.
🤔 Try to answer these two questions:
1️. What problem would parents have that the app is solving?
An app always has a purpose. It’s to solve a problem or respond to a certain need. For example, parents may be busy with other tasks and want to use the app to entertain their children and keep them busy. Another use of the app may also be used for education. They might also want to teach their children something by making them listen to podcasts.
2️. Parents may be facing some problems with the app. What would you do to improve the app to solve their problems and how would you do it?
Diego recommends ALWAYS starting with the user's problem and building everything from there. That’s the main job of the product manager.
That’s it folks
That’s just one way that will help you to break into product management and get better at the craft. Stop just applying for every job you see, reading 100 books a month or watching endless webinars. There are other ways to break into the business. Practice is KEY. The more you practice, the more you will understand what being a product manager is and what it requires.
Now tell us… What are your suggestions for breaking into product management? What are the things you practice to get better at your craft? Share your best tips with us on LinkedIn. In the meantime… Good luck in your product journey!
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