My Book is Here
As someone who has experienced the highs and lows that accompany life as a Product Manager, I am keenly aware of the challenges this important role plays in the technology industry [and so many others]. Where many of the departments in the organization – whether large or small – may choose to operate in silos, Product Management is the department that brings all of the teams together to ensure everyone’s voice is heard, vision is seen, and needs are met. It is the department, when run well, ensures a comprehensive approach to strategy and decision making. It is, therefore, at the core of organizational success.
Details may vary from organization to organization but, generally, Product Managers at tech firms have a series of responsibilities that they all seem to own. Product Managers serve as the hub between the needs of the end user, the developer, and, of course, the business (glory is fine, but businesses are in business to yield revenue). They are responsible for the technical implementation, and, thus, ‘own’ the product – for the good or bad. That means they need to have tremendous organizing and prioritizing skills – defining what the users want, aligning those wants to the requirements of the business (or the C suite) and ensure harmony with engineers and developers for proper implementation. Many, myself included, have referred to Product Managers as the CEOs of their individual products. This is an almost true reflection of the level of responsibility and interaction with all the stakeholders involved.
Product Managers do not leave institutions of higher learning with degrees in Product Management. Sadly, such a degree does not exist. Rather, professionals who desire a career in product management often come to the role with degrees in Engineering, Marketing, Economics, Computer Science, etc.
So, if Product Managers need such finely tuned skills but there is no comprehensive degree to earn, from where do PMs learn? Aside from the percentage that is truly ‘gut’, the instinct that tells you when to hold and when to fold, PMs today often learn by doing and by gleaning as much information as possible from experts in the field. These experts are people who have pend their careers succeeding, failing, learning from failure, and succeeding again. They are professionals for how they handle themselves, but also for their willingness to share the information with others – to raise a new generation of well-informed Product Managers.
When I sat down to write Product Management to Product Leadership: The Advanced Use Cases, I realized how much I had learned from colleagues I deeply respect and from those I consider experts in the industry. It became clear to me that I wanted my book to include conversations about experiences (some shared, others legend) with experts I believe could impart great insight. That is why I am thrilled that Laurent Gharda, Justin Griffin, Bill Petro and Bill Erdman have all contributed as authors. They travel with me …and you, the reader, for a richer experience and more comprehensive understanding of the role of the PM and the journey to becoming a Product Leader.
I hope you will read my book, the first in a planned series to give you scenarios, tips, perspectives and more. The result, I hope, is that you will find yourself more prepared to take on or advance in the role of PM.