Google PM Promotions

Oct 15, 2019 7 Comments

PMs at G,

Maybe you got a promotion already.

Maybe you missed out and saw one of your peers manage one, but learned a ton about the game by observing them.

Maybe you're one of the decision-makers for PM promos.

What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself if they were starting out on the PM path today and hoping to land a promotion in the next few review cycles?

What did you learn about the process that you wish you knew when you first started?

Associated Qs:
- Did you overlook influencing some key decision-makers that sit in the calibration/promo meetings? Who actually sits in those meetings?
- What ended up actually mattering? Some posts on blind suggest that the culture promotes having measurable outcomes that your manager can tout (even if they're meaningless and don't actually help the user)
- Were there limits on how many people could get promoted in any given cycle? Did budget issues ever hold back promotions?
- Overcoming Externalities: If you end up on a crap project or your project gets cancelled or you have 6 managers in 2 years, are you truly SOL or can you still get promoted?

TC: 260. GTFOing now

TL;DR: Demystify the promotion process for PMs at G and earn my gratitude forever


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TOP 7 Comments
  • Reddit barry123
    Ex-G PM here. The game is sightly different depending on you are L4 or L5+. Generally, you would need to do the following:
    1. Plan ahead in who are going to give you peer reviews and focus on kissing their asses. Key folks are eng and pms who are either in leadership or +2 vs your level. Committee gives little weight to other job families and peers who are at similar level as you.
    2. Read the job level description very carefully and plan your packet to prove that you are performing at every word of +1 level. Be very prescriptive on what exactly you want your peer reviewers to write including examples to cite. I have also seen PM asking peer reviewers to copy and paste texts they wrote, so develop a thick skin to get what you what.
    3. Focus on projects that you can quantify impacts. No other works really matter when it comes to promo
    4. Join teams that allow you to optimize 1-3 above.
    Oct 15, 2019 2
    • OP
      Thanks @barry123!

      On 1: How many peer reviews does one typically need? What might a sample peer-review line-up look like and should one try to stack it with folks +1 or +2 levels from you?
      On 2: How do we get job level descriptions for all the levels?
      On 3: How does one handle a situation in which its tricky to quantify impact in the project?
      Oct 15, 2019
    • Reddit barry123
      1. I think you need at least 5-6 with 4-5 senior eng/pm. You need to find the balance on who really knows your work or is willing to bat for you. Ideally, you need some director or vp level big shot who can write something like "you launch x, which is one of the most important projects in his team. And you have more impact than other more senior PMs in his team"
      2. I believe it is go/pmladder. It is linked in perf.
      3. You need to double down on 1 (i.e getting some vp/dir to say that your project has a lot of impacts..). Try 2 cycles and if it doesnt work, cut your loss and join another team
      Oct 15, 2019
  • Amazon sfMd24
    What level at G?
    Oct 15, 2019 1
    • OP
      Good question. Is there a difference in how promotions work at L3/L4 vs L5/L6/L7?
      Oct 15, 2019
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