Annie Pearl (Calendly): Career Growth in Product Management
Speaker 1: The role of product people changes dramatically over time as a company and as a product scales, and also as the individual develops additional skills and experiences themselves on their own career journey. So from your perspective and your experience, what does it look like to product manage your own career as a PM?
Speaker 2: Yeah, when I think about the role of just a product manager, I think it really boils down to three kind of main skill sets. First, really identifying what are the right problems that we're going to go solve, building a winning solution to those problems, and then knowing that you're not going to get it right on the first time, testing and iterating until you get it right. So different phases of a company's growth, the role of a product manager will look different, although those three main skill sets will apply regardless. So in the early days, you're really throwing a bunch of things against a wall, trying to see what sticks until you find product market fit. Once you've found product market fit, you've got something that's working, the role becomes different, right? It's much more about scaling the team, scaling processes, ensuring that there's more predictability in terms of roadmap delivery. There's an increased need for communication across the company and much more cross- functional collaboration. And then you sort of reach another phase of scale where, all of the sudden, you need to start thinking about multi- product portfolios and, in parallel to iterating and growing the existing product, you need to start thinking about zero to one all over again and adding new products to your portfolio. So at each of these different phases, there's really different problems that you need to go solve and different ways that you'll solve those problems. And so there's different skill sets that are best suited to solve the problems that exist at each phase of a company's growth. And so I think to product manage your own career, I'd really encourage folks to really think about what are the problems I want to be solving, right? Do I like those early day problems of trying lots of things to see what sticks or do I actually enjoy testing and iterating on an existing product and trying to grow an established product, and do I really like the cross- functional communication and collaboration required at that phase? So, first, what are the problems I want to be solving? Then I'd also think about what are the skill sets then that are required to solve those problems most effectively? And then where is there the best match between the problem space and my ability to solve those problems, to create a winning solution to those problems better than anyone else? And I think if you can get crisp on where those two intersect, this sort of intersection of the problems that I'm solving and my skillsets and passion, I think you're going to find the best match between sort of your happiness as well as your overall success in the role.
A product professional’s role changes dramatically over time as a company and product scales, and as the individual develops additional skills and experiences. Annie says you need to “product manage” your own career as a PM in this highly dynamic environment.
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[0:13] What it's like for Annie to product manage her career as a PM
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