Wednesday, February 25, 2009

question: who taught you to be a PM?

Back in the summer of 2006 I wrote that internships were not the same thing as apprenticeships.  It was one of my better efforts, certainly more substantive than some other bits I've scattered about here over the years.

What I want to know is how product managers learn their craft - and who teaches them.  Is it other product managers?  Is it development leads?  Marketing people?  Do they get it all from classes?  From books?

The Thoughtful Reader will conclude "it's some combination of all of those, of course."

But is that the best way to learn?

If you could go back and do it all over again, how would you have chosen to learn your craft?  What difference would it have made in your career?

I wonder.


Anonymous said...

If I could do it all again tomorrow, I would establish a relationship with a professional mentor who did not work with me, but knew my trade.

Product management, done effectively, requires hard skills like NIHITO visits, a properly worded survey, MRD, positioning doc, etc. Pragmatic Marketing changed my whole world in that area.

But a professional sage who was also an outsider might have tempered some of my personal rage against the machine (with apologies to Zack de la Rocha and the boys). A sage might have counseled less caffeine. While I am not unhappy with my career, this change would have accelerated things.

Anonymous said...

Over time I have picked bits and pieces from everyone. I have a few people I have worked with that have taught me to think, be aware and produce quality work (I wish this was more important to more people).

Most of my product management skills have been from talking to thousands of product managers over the past 3.5 years and of course the content from Pragmatic Marketing.

Anonymous said...

I moved into product management from software development because I wanted to make a bigger impact on the product. The experience of building product, demonstrating it and then being told that it rocks / sucks makes a really big impact. All PMs should go through that very direct and intense dialogue with customers.
What I would have changed would have been the opportunity to have my MBA drip fed to me over the years so that I could learn and apply it as I went along. And, yes Jim, a mentor would have been really helpful as I spent lots of time early on thinking I was the only one trying to do this stuff.