Is it worth doing Product Management over BizOps?

RBC / Consultant
xJslRls

RBC Consultant

PRE
IBM
xJslRlsmore
Sep 17, 2018 17 Comments

Management consultant here with 4.5 years YoE. I'm planning on moving to a startup but conflicted as to which route to take.

BizOps: Obvious lateral move from consulting and I have the years to back it up. Type of work I enjoy. Fewer open roles. Average salary.

PM: More of an uphill battle to move into. May have to accept a APM position first. Higher salaries. Not sure if I'll succeed at it - I've done parts of a PM role before and enjoyed it but never officially been a full PM

I'm conflicted because 1)Moving to PM would disrupt my ops/strategy career trajectory, but, 2) it seems like I'd have to rise up to a Head/VP of Ops until I'd make the same amount as I would as a PM. The PM salary could be especially useful when living in a high CoL area.

Any thoughts based on what you've seen or experienced?

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TOP 17 Comments
  • F5 Networks wait,what?
    Where do you want to be when you retire? What does your linkedin say on your very last job?

    Bizops and product management have relatively separate career paths, and they further separate depending on the company you’re at. I see one of those to be COO and the other to CTO. But both could get to CEO. Just different routes and different industries.
    Sep 17, 2018 1
    • Oath Pooch
      This ^. Great reply.
      Sep 17, 2018
  • Oath Pooch
    I have been a bizops person for past 6 years and love it. I was thinking of switching over to product two years back and took up a small product at yahoo to build. I found the work not as exciting, and almost like doing a phd. Too much focus on too small a thing. Plus working with engineers was a nightmare. In bizops we work on company wide initiatives which is always more exciting than to build a small product in the beginning. Would take a few years to get to build a big product. Didnt want to start from scratch.
    Sep 17, 2018 6
    • Wayfair BigZeroSix
      "in bizops we get to pretend technical constraints don't matter!"

      Just like consulting!
      Sep 17, 2018
    • Oath Pooch
      I am pretty sure I was paid more than my fellow pms. I have hired a few in my team from internal product teams and I chuckle when i see their package. I usually have to increase it to bring it at par. I mean think about it, will the company pay you more for making one of the products or for deciding the company’s direction.
      Sep 17, 2018
    • F5 Networks wait,what?
      Usually product direction is already established or has a product that doesn’t evolve as rapidly as technology. But if you’re at a level high enough to dictate corporate strategy, you should be high enough to introduce products that introduce new strategy. I feel the go hand in hand and commensurate with experience.
      Sep 17, 2018
    • RBC / Consultant
      xJslRls

      RBC Consultant

      PRE
      IBM
      xJslRlsmore
      OP
      Interesting. Wouldn't have expected bizops to out-earn PM. Don't suppose you're looking to hire for your team @Pooch?
      Sep 17, 2018
    • F5 Networks wait,what?
      It’s all relative. In my current pm job, i make $50k more/yr than the senior director of corporate strategy.
      Sep 17, 2018
  • Google / Product callofwild
    Strategy (or "BizOps") has limited ownership at most tech companies, you don't have to pursue PM, but I challenge you to think about developing a skill you can scale up. At their core, startups need builders or sellers, BizOps is neither.
    Sep 17, 2018 3
    • RBC / Consultant
      xJslRls

      RBC Consultant

      PRE
      IBM
      xJslRlsmore
      OP
      Makes sense. In this case, I think PM would include the best of both worlds - strategy as well as building a tangible product.

      What are your thoughts on Ops (not bizops) roles? More useful?
      Sep 17, 2018
    • Oath Pooch
      This is actually not true. Bizops is everything that product is not. Product just builds product but bizops runs the company. Bizops decides hiring, firing, targets, quotas, growth plans, cost basis, everything across all the product engg and sales. And startups need bizops before they hire the first pm. You gotta give direction to your company before hiring someone who can build products and tools. Even engineers can design basic products without a pm.
      Sep 17, 2018
    • F5 Networks wait,what?
      Bizops doesn’t “build” the company, it operates the company. Companies come to fruition because they have a product to sell. Neither bizops nor pm are essential to startups, they’re relevant when a company has grown.
      Sep 17, 2018
  • F5 Networks wait,what?
    I don’t think you follow. What do you want to do on a day to day basis? What do you want to do with VC?

    You can get to any job you want, you just do it. You can be the COO from PM as well. The F5 CEO that was hired last april was the COO of Ciena and started in PM. Great example. Now he makes $7mil/year TC.
    Sep 17, 2018 2
    • RBC / Consultant
      xJslRls

      RBC Consultant

      PRE
      IBM
      xJslRlsmore
      OP
      I see. I suppose I've been under the impression that there's a specific path that certain roles set you up for and due to branding, it's tough to sway from that (e.g. recruiters being wary of hiring someone into manager title if their previous title wasn't at that level)
      Sep 17, 2018
    • F5 Networks wait,what?
      Well, it’s sorta true. But all hiring focuses on is hiring a candidate that matches the job. In the most simple format, find a job you want, look at the bullets, gain those skills for bullets on your resume. And when they match up, you apply and do the job.

      So many people overthink it. It’s about using your career to check the boxes.
      Sep 17, 2018
  • RBC / Consultant
    xJslRls

    RBC Consultant

    PRE
    IBM
    xJslRlsmore
    OP
    Thanks for the replies so far. To offer some additional information: long term, I'd like to either be a CEO, COO, or move into VC. Potentially get an MBA if the opportunity cost isn't too high. I'm assuming from PM I can go to CEO or VC and from BizOps to CEO, COO, or VC. Am I correct in thinking this?
    Sep 17, 2018 0