Advice for someone moving into product?

Indeed Jwhebs
May 7 34 Comments

I'm a new grad going to be starting as an APM at a bay company (non FAANG). Do you guys have any advice? I'm worried I'm under qualified and am nervous in general.

comments

Want to comment? LOG IN or SIGN UP
TOP 34 Comments
  • Akamai Technologies Bboi
    Congratulations! You aren’t under-qualified if you got the job. Impostor Syndrome is common when starting out. You are worthy or will become worthy.
    May 7 1
    • Indeed Jwhebs
      OP
      Thank you for the kind words :) I'm beyond excited, just seeing others that are doing newgrad PM who seem way more qualified than me and it can be a bit intimidating. Doing it best to learn we much as I can before I start work
      May 7
  • Google / Product rustySpOOn
    No one's going to expect you to come out swinging and building strategy like a boss. Go in and learn the product - personas, cujs, tech stack, dev/testing/release process, business model, etc, learn the team, learn the politics, learn your competitors and how they differentiate. Try to talk to customers if you can, where they are having pain, what motivates them. Read other pms artifacts. Also https://github.com/ProductHired/open-product-management/blob/master/README.md
    May 7 5
    • Indeed Jwhebs
      OP
      Yeah I've got this bookmarked! Used it a lot when preparing for interviews. Do you know what I should do to prepare for getting ready to work with engineers? While I had a technical round with an EM, I don't have a technical background and am worried that will hurt a bit internally. Any advice?
      May 7
    • Google / Product rustySpOOn
      Well you won't become a cs major overnight/ever so no need to pretend. I've worked with non tech pms as a swe in the past and it was all good as long as they don't take the "just figure it out and build this thing I asked for" outlook on technical challenges. You don't need to know how a binary tree gets balanced to have empathy with your users and spot market trends.

      Find an engineer who seems amiable and ask questions about the stack and be candish about your tech background. Focus your time on the technologies used, but don't get bogged down with shit like java vs kotlin, look at the broader picture, what systems or services does a request flow through (like load balancer to service a to service b to datastore a and then to service c before returning some thing to the user before logging some analytics to datastore b) In my experience engineers like it when product tries to understand the technical trade offs that went into the architecture. Not to overstate, but learn the dev, testing and release process. How does user story get from your brain to users computer.
      May 7
    • Indeed Jwhebs
      OP
      That's very helpful, thank you so much! Aside from talking to engineers, are there any articles or books you would recommend to learn more about systems design and micro services architecture?
      May 7
    • Google / Product rustySpOOn
      System design books are boring af. Being good at product strategy will be more important than your tech skills as long as you embed your engineering team on design and strategy ideas as they pop into your head. They'll tell you why that is a stupid idea from an implemention view. That said...

      https://youtu.be/CZ3wIuvmHeM, https://youtu.be/PE4gwstWhmc

      Some good product books though..Read the design of everyday things, escape velocity, inspired, the mom test. Find some good tech writings to stay up on tech trends like stratechery blog and the acquired pod cast
      May 7
    • Indeed Jwhebs
      OP
      I'll check all these out. Thank you again :)
      May 7
  • Spotify rhduejdb
    Everything you’ve written on this thread, OP, suggests that you are going to be a great PM.
    May 7 1
    • Indeed Jwhebs
      OP
      Thank you!
      May 7
  • JW Player / Other sHkm62
    Good PMs don’t love PMing. Bad ones love it because they aren’t stressed continuously. PM is a thankless painful job. Do something else more fulfilling and train for hard skills.
    May 7 4
    • Oracle fandantan
      This is true. But a few years PMing gives you a good intro to the industry and business side of things. If you are a good business person stay, if you hate the business/influencing/herding cats part, become a technical writer, a tester, a designer, an evangelist, etc, and if you actually love code, a developer. I don’t think there is a better job than that of a developer. They are Gods and run the show from their basement wearing pajamas. They don’t even realize that but their TC’s speak for themselves. If I knew what I know now I would have chosen development and not any of the other core disciplines in tech.
      May 7
    • Google / Product rustySpOOn
      I think the idea that pm is thankless and painful is a meme. Good PMs make buco bucks and have god like stature in many places.
      May 7
    • Oracle fandantan
      True too. MSFT has high caliber PMs. Oracle the worst PMs in the whole industry.
      May 7
    • JW Player / Other sHkm62
      God like stature from the outside. As long as there are engineers who dislike you, and as one person emphasized, engineers are probably more highly valued, you are nothing but a walking target. You can say it depends on the company, but really it depends on your team and that is a crap shoot no matter where you go. Plus money is not everything. You have to really love politics to thrive in product management. That includes being loved and being vilified because you’re alive.
      May 13
  • New / Product lacrosseb
    Congrats. DM if you need any help. I was lucky enough to have mentors when I started and it helped a lot.
    May 7 0
  • Oracle fandantan
    Most every new grad is under qualified. We hire them based on potential. Advice is to not wait or expect any training. Learn to self-learn. You will need it. That alone will make a difference and ensure you stay afloat and succeed.
    May 7 6
    • Oracle fandantan
      Start building a webpage at least. Then write a hello world in several languages: assembly, c++, some scripting, some procedural and some object oriented languages. Get the basics down. If you don’t develop at least the basic technical competencies your engineers will not respect you and you won’t be able to influence them/lead them. Remember as a PM you have to lead without power, so its up to your influence, relationships, reputation and outcomes. Learn! Practice! Ask questions to everyone you interact with about their role. You need to understand what engineering does, what design does and what QA does, etc, if you want to lead all disciplines to a common goal. Also, understand that as a PM you will be blamed for any failure and you will not get credit for any success. Think of yourself as a facilitator, a mother, a slave at the service of everyone working on your project, a psychotherapist, etc. Be humble but assertive. Quiet but smart. Learn how to communicate with engineers (they are a special breed but if you can get through them you will find in them the best allies). Become friends with a developer. He will likely give you the best advice to become a strong PM, after all PM is engineering’s cheerleader/administrative assistant whether we like it or not.
      May 7
    • Indeed Jwhebs
      OP
      This is super helpful, thanks!
      May 7
    • Google / Product rustySpOOn
      It's bs that product gets all the blame and none of the credit. If that's the culture at your company or part of your company, that's not the place you want to be long term.
      May 7
    • Oracle fandantan
      It’s the industry, not anyone company in particular. Everywhere you go, there we are. It’s all the same people jumping around all these companies.
      It is absolutely true and also expected that PM would get the blame for failure. They are responsible for steering the ship and setting the vision. They always make last calls. Who else are you going to blame? The dev? Never. Lately, PM has started to blame UX for some of their woes. It’s always the weakest link that blame will go to, in tech and in life. Welcome to real life.
      May 10
    • Google / Product rustySpOOn
      Ya I'm in real life. I think this meme of pms are a thankless shit on position is made up by bad PMs who make bad choices and run bad teams, and they're toxicity spreads the memes to other bad pms. For the 3 companies I've been at, good pms get credit and bad engineering is recognized - just as bad pm choices are recognized when that's the case. Credit where credit is due - usually to a team not an individual.
      May 10
  • Cognizant / QA
    sharp123

    Cognizant QA

    BIO
    QAE with 7.5 yoe, looking to get into FAANG
    sharp123more
    I am in the same boat,..following this thread to get more advice
    May 7 4
    • Indeed Jwhebs
      OP
      Good luck!
      May 7
    • Akamai Technologies Bboi
      @sharp123 which company you joining as PM? You moving from Qa?
      May 7
    • Cognizant / QA
      sharp123

      Cognizant QA

      BIO
      QAE with 7.5 yoe, looking to get into FAANG
      sharp123more
      Not as pm, but moving to product
      May 7
    • Akamai Technologies Bboi
      Cool...Mind sharing new company/role? Im curious about companies where role changes are allowed.
      May 8
  • Roku
    🎃💀👻👽☠️

    Roku

    PRE
    Yahoo
    🎃💀👻👽☠️more
    APM *sigh* what happen to you?
    May 7 3
    • Indeed Jwhebs
      OP
      What do you mean?
      May 7
    • Oracle fandantan
      What’s the A in APM? I thought there was only PM and TPM.
      May 7
    • Indeed Jwhebs
      OP
      Associate for new people
      May 7
  • Intuit Wsel67
    read Lean Startup
    May 7 0
  • Oracle fandantan
    Also. Awareness. Awareness about anything and everything is key, specially for a PM/biz but really for any role. The more you see, the more you know, the better your aim and predictions and the more successful and straight-forward your execution.
    May 7 0

Salary
Comparison

    Real time salary information from verified employees