Product Management :: Product Marketing

11 July, 2019

Product Management is learnt by doing rather by studying

Noah Weiss, a senior product manager at Slack, Foursquare and Google, makes this quote in this article, Five Dangerous Myths about Product Management:
Product Management isn’t an academic subject that one can study; most people learn by apprenticeship. They have diverse backgrounds, murky responsibilities, and wildly varied role definitions across companies.
Although the sentiment is broadly correct, it implies that you can look to a mentor for guidance. Sadly, this simply isn't true. His quote would be better phrased:
most people learn by doing and most importantly, learning from their results.
The rest of Noah's article is worth a read. Some other nuggets:
They come from a wide diversity of backgrounds and relish wearing many hats.
A PM with a diversity of backgrounds is really useful: most product managers come up from the technical side, some come from the sales and marketing side, but they absolutely need to appreciate what's going on underneath other people's hats, both inside your own company and externally
[Product Managers]should be the ultimate facilitator: pulling the best ideas from their team, coordinating with cross-functional partners, and getting executive context. PMs should lay out well-researched tradeoffs, set timetables, and structure great discussions.
There isn't a good decision that a product manager can make, they make the least worst decision in the circumstances. Everyone can perfectly rightly say, "That's not a good decision", but on balance, that decision is the least worst option.

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