Careers

Career as a Product Manager - Ask Me Anything

  • Last Updated:
  • Jul 20th, 2017 5:25 am
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 10, 2005
2649 posts
47 upvotes
Bay Area
1. Can you give an example of a competing product?
2. How much revenue do your products generate?
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 1, 2017
80 posts
37 upvotes
Cheapo-Findo wrote:
Jan 5th, 2017 2:37 pm
I might, I know SQL though. That helps, right?
Knowing SQL will not help you with getting a product role.
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 1, 2017
80 posts
37 upvotes
polarbear111 wrote:
Jan 5th, 2017 4:59 pm
1. Can you give an example of a competing product?
2. How much revenue do your products generate?
1. I can't as I want to remain anonymous
2. Financial services and bank products I have managed have generated a few millions annual revenue
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 10, 2005
2649 posts
47 upvotes
Bay Area
ProductGuy wrote:
Jan 5th, 2017 6:50 pm
1. I can't as I want to remain anonymous
2. Financial services and bank products I have managed have generated a few millions annual revenue
Completely understood. However, for those of us who aren't in financial services, we still have no clue what types of products you're talking about. Like not at all. I genuinely have no clue if you're talking about different types of mutual funds, mortgages, or something completely different. It's pretty weird to do an AMA as a product manager and not describe your products in any way. Commercial vs retail is very vague. I won't ask anymore but that's my 2 cents.
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 1, 2017
80 posts
37 upvotes
With all the tech companies flocking to Toronto, there will be a lot more demand for product managers in the near term.
Sr. Member
Oct 26, 2006
671 posts
4 upvotes
do you work with a Product Owner on the internal side of your operations/IT? if so, you have a good working relationship in terms of what your customers ask versus what the owner can deliver?
Newbie
Feb 19, 2017
87 posts
48 upvotes
Not sure why there weren't more posts. Product Management is incredibly interesting.

What is your take on the value of product managers as they move up the food chain, especially non-tech PMs (even PMs at tech companies can be non-tech)?
Is there a risk that as you move up and away from actual day-to-day and having your boots on the ground, that you add less value and can be easily let go without a path back to such a well-paying career that isn't really well-defined (i.e. you don't have a focused set of skills)?

When you're launching a product, is it easy to miss a critical factor/variable that you could have considered and be at risk of termination for messing up a big launch?

I'd love to pick your brain a lot more on this.
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 1, 2017
80 posts
37 upvotes
afici0nad0 wrote:
Jul 17th, 2017 12:30 pm
do you work with a Product Owner on the internal side of your operations/IT? if so, you have a good working relationship in terms of what your customers ask versus what the owner can deliver?
Yes, I do work with a Product Owner from IT. The Product Owner is basically the Agile name for a Business Analyst. I still communicate to the Product Owner (BA) the customer requirements I have identified in the market as a Product Manager. I review all stories the Product Owner creates and I provide feedback on how to improve them so we don't miss anything.

I have been in a couple of different organizations going through the transition to Agile and they implemented the approach different. In a previous role I acted both as the Product Manager and Product Owner, but Agile at that organization was in its infancy. Ideally these two roles need to be separate.
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 1, 2017
80 posts
37 upvotes
Walch1102 wrote:
Jul 17th, 2017 2:55 pm
Not sure why there weren't more posts. Product Management is incredibly interesting.

What is your take on the value of product managers as they move up the food chain, especially non-tech PMs (even PMs at tech companies can be non-tech)?
Is there a risk that as you move up and away from actual day-to-day and having your boots on the ground, that you add less value and can be easily let go without a path back to such a well-paying career that isn't really well-defined (i.e. you don't have a focused set of skills)?

When you're launching a product, is it easy to miss a critical factor/variable that you could have considered and be at risk of termination for messing up a big launch?

I'd love to pick your brain a lot more on this.
There is a lot of demand for Product Managers right now across different industries. I think actually as you move up the chain there is still a lot of demand to Senior Product Manager or Director Level people as at that level people would have 10+ years of experience and would have launched multiple product successfully. There is really hard to find a substitute for the experience. Actually, a lot of the skills learned in product management are transferable across different industries. I don't think there is much of a distinction between tech or non-tech Product Managers but the most important skill I think is the ability to quickly grasp new concepts and be able to learn new stuff easily. I think this is one of my strengths which makes me successful in this field.

When you are launching a product you are working with a whole team of business analysts, developers, testing stuff, etc. A lot of things get caught in the process of development and testing that you fix along the way. That is also when you launch a new product you launch it as a pilot to a limit number of customer to ensure it works properly before you roll it out to your entire customer base. Unless you are complete tool at product management there is a very low risk that you would miss something that big which would lead to a termination. In my entire career (10+ years) to date I have not seen anyone get terminated for that reason. I have seen people who were not good at their job being let go during "lay off" cycles aka restructuring. But that was not due to a specific project, it was just due to their inability to deliver quality work.
Newbie
Sep 25, 2016
55 posts
33 upvotes
ProductGuy wrote:
Jan 2nd, 2017 7:57 pm
I was one of the few lucky ones who got into product management almost straight out of university. My university degree was in Economics. I learned everything about product from on the job training and courses my employer sent me to. In terms of positions and base salary see below:
- Product Analyst - $60k
- Product Manager - $75-85k
- Senior Product Manager - $90+k

Keep in mind that I have always been at the top salary range for my positions based on my experience, skills and ability to sell myself during interviews. The average product manager in financial services and banking makes about 10% less.

Product managers in software companies make about 10-20% more than product managers in financial services and banking.
Hi, how did you sell yourself at an interview when you had no experience in the field let alone in an office? What strengths do you feel you had compared to other candidates?
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 1, 2017
80 posts
37 upvotes
dkrjwu wrote:
Jul 18th, 2017 12:25 pm
Hi, how did you sell yourself at an interview when you had no experience in the field let alone in an office? What strengths do you feel you had compared to other candidates?
I did have some office experience from working part time at the university offices while I studied. I was able to sell my ability to solve problem, analytical mind and drive to get things done coupled with my Econ with strong Math degree. I was fresh out of school so it is easier to sell employers on your schooling and your potential. If you are already in the work force it is extremely hard to move to product unless you are already a business analyst or a developer with strong business background.
Newbie
Sep 25, 2016
55 posts
33 upvotes
ProductGuy wrote:
Jul 18th, 2017 12:48 pm
I did have some office experience from working part time at the university offices while I studied. I was able to sell my ability to solve problem, analytical mind and drive to get things done coupled with my Econ with strong Math degree. I was fresh out of school so it is easier to sell employers on your schooling and your potential. If you are already in the work force it is extremely hard to move to product unless you are already a business analyst or a developer with strong business background.
Great answer, thanks. I've been interested in going into what you're doing for a year or so now, been going to school and working a summer job now. This thread has been very helpful.
Member
Sep 14, 2012
260 posts
59 upvotes
Greater Toronto Area
ProductGuy wrote:
Jul 18th, 2017 12:48 pm
I did have some office experience from working part time at the university offices while I studied. I was able to sell my ability to solve problem, analytical mind and drive to get things done coupled with my Econ with strong Math degree. I was fresh out of school so it is easier to sell employers on your schooling and your potential. If you are already in the work force it is extremely hard to move to product unless you are already a business analyst or a developer with strong business background.
If you were in an entry level business analyst role, how would you move towards product management? Is what you do similar to what a Project Manager do, but just focused on a PRODUCT (with possibly multiple projects associated) instead of a PROJECT?
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 1, 2017
80 posts
37 upvotes
Sneakymist wrote:
Jul 18th, 2017 1:28 pm
If you were in an entry level business analyst role, how would you move towards product management? Is what you do similar to what a Project Manager do, but just focused on a PRODUCT (with possibly multiple projects associated) instead of a PROJECT?
You would have to spend at least 3 years as a BA first. While doing that make sure you work closely with the Product Team and show them you are really good as a BA. Network/connect with the product people at your employer. When you see an internal opportunity for a Product Analyst or Product Manager apply to and ask your Product connections to recommend you for this job to the hiring manager. That would be the best way to move from a BA to a Product role. Do it within the same company.

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