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Aspiring Product Manager Questions

Product management is indeed one of the most challenging jobs. Product management focuses on all the areas that are requisite for successful product delivery. Product manager jobs take up all the tasks in product management. An aspiring product manager should be able to perform all these tasks regarding product management. From the discovery of a product to strategically planning for its development, product manager skills should include it all.


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Soham Sharma

a year ago | 5 min read

“Know your value add. I’ve seen three main PM archetypes: engineer turned PM, designer turned PM, and businessperson turned PM. As a member of the latter bucket, I recognize that I could never out-engineer an engineer or out-design a designer. Instead, I leverage my knowledge of our business and customers to better prioritize what features make it onto the roadmap and help my team understand why we’re building those features.”-Lauren Chan Lee

Introduction

Product management is indeed one of the most challenging jobs. Product management focuses on all the areas that are requisite for successful product delivery. Product manager jobs take up all the tasks in product management. An aspiring product manager should be able to perform all these tasks regarding product management. From the discovery of a product to strategically planning for its development, product manager skills should include it all. 

There are many advantages to being a product manager of a company. Not only, do you have immense knowledge about the product, but also you have the insights required to align the selling of the product with the market needs. This makes your position significant in a company and therefore ensures good pay, job security, and stability in your career. It also enhances the product manager portfolio.

Aspiring Product Manager

Many people aspire to become product managers. There was an article in the Wall Street Journal that reported that 7% of Harvard Business School graduates take up jobs in the product management arena. Other than that, many college graduates aim to become product managers. While working towards their dream, an aspiring product manager may have questions and doubts regarding product management.

Here, we will be discussing the doubts and questions that might arise in a person who is aspiring to get into product management. 

Aspiring Product Manager Question

Is it necessary to have a CS or Engineering background to get product manager jobs? Can a person with a business degree get into product management?

It is not necessary to have tech experience. Product managers represent the voice of the customer and prescribe the outcomes that a product must achieve, not necessarily the technology that makes them achieve it. Additionally, many product managers are working on non-tech/software products, hence no technical experience is required. Though, one needs to understand the technology market and its assets. It also depends on the product. The myth that you have to be an engineer or programmer or designer to be a good product manager is irksome and keeps a lot of promising people out of the profession. It also prevents businesses from realizing the full potential of a product function. Hence, getting a tag of technical knowledge does not add up value in a product manager portfolio.   

Product Management based Question

Another question that appears very widely is that while applying for an internship in relation to product manager, what are the product manager skills or programs that will help an applicant stand out in the crowd?

Taking up electives helps in getting highlighted while applying for an internship and getting product manager jobs in future. You can apply for electives in innovation, disruption, market sizing, pricing, etc. This will also help you with your product manager portfolio. To put it simply, get beyond how to manage and measure, and get into the classes that give perspective on how to build a business. Outside of classes, check out Mind the Product and see if there’s a ProductTank near you. Try to attend a local one and start networking - that will be your best opportunity to get an internship. If you don’t live near a ProductTank location, try to find some other product management networking event. You can also try connecting with leaders in product management in your area via LinkedIn and ask for guidance. They will tell you about valuable networking events and tell you what they’ll be looking for in internships. One thing that will help majorly is showing creativity among the numerous product manager skills, being creative is what helps you the most. This can include learning a foreign language, taking a filmmaking class, taking an art class, or taking a music theory class.

You can check out ShowProwess's Skills mapping page where you can display your skills based on your work and get the jobs in the domain based on your work and projects.

What are the main challenges that are faced by a product manager?

Product manager jobs are extremely rewarding but many challenges are faced by a product manager in their career. One of the major challenges that are faced by a product manager is organizational communication. Many product managers struggle with communicating with their teams which results in misunderstandings and miscommunications. This challenge can be resolved by communicating a clear objective with the team. Upcoming deadlines challenge product managers to a good extent. Many times, it gets difficult for a product manager to keep up with the hectic schedules and make their team adapt to new circumstances or situations. In such cases, it is important to make a roadmap that is lean and agile. 

Conclusion

These are the basic questions that are asked by an aspiring product manager. You should spend time thinking about the products that are around you. Why are they good, why are they bad, and why were they designed the way they are? If there’s a product you think is interesting, reach out to the PMs involved in making it. You can also read everything on Stratechery. It is a technology business blog that is extremely informative. This blog will also help you to find information that can be used while building your product manager portfolio.

Summary

The article discusses the questions that are asked by an aspiring product manager. The first question asked is if the technical experience is required to get into product management or if having a business degree works. It is not necessary to have technical experience. Knowing the needs of the customers and providing them with what they need is what an aspiring product manager should be able to do and this is one of the important product manager skills required in a company. Then, another common question is what skills or programs are required while applying for an internship in product management. These courses should be different and they should have the capacity to make a person stand out in the crowd. For this, a person should take up creativity classes and take up electives that focus on innovation, disruption, market sizing, pricing, etc. Another question that arises is regarding the challenges faced by a product manager. It includes organizational communication problems, deadlines, proper team alignment, and keeping up diversity among many others.

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Soham Sharma

Hey 👋 there, I am a Data Consultant 📊, a Marketing 📢 Professional 👔, a Web developer 💻 and a Project Manager. I believe in creating a methodical and strategic data-related 📈 decisions and providing fully interpreted data analyses 📊 to clients. Apart from this, I have acquired experience in digital marketing, web development, and project management. My Technical Skills includes knowledge of Python, Html5, Css3, Machine learning algorithms and libraries (Numpy, Pandas, Scikit-learn, Matplotlib, Seaborn), Tableau, Excel, Throughout my life 🧬, I have been a good conversationalist 💬 and have always been interested in meeting 🤝🏻 people and getting to know them. I love to read 📚 and play the piano 🎹 . Coffee ☕ is my stress-reliever and I am a martial arts 🥋 lover and practitioner!


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