Whether or not to be a product manager with Dadaben

We had a #tweetchat with Dada Benjamin, he is a Solutions Architect at SoftcomNG, and also Editor in chief @dadabenblog. The topic of the chat was focused on “whether or not to gop into product management”. This conversation is for recent graduates with an entrepreneurial mindset who are thinking about what would be the perfect job for them. It’s also for people thinking about moving into product management.

Below is the conversation between Ingressive and Benjamin on twitter. You can check out the hashtag here #IngressiveChatWithDadaben

@_Ingressive_ It's good to have you here! Aside from intellect, smarts, the power to adapt, think and act on their feet? Product managers are motivated to do the job, can work with multiple types of teams and has the ability to prioritize features that they already know users are looking for.
How would you explain Product Management to a 5-year-old?

@DadaBen_ Well, first of all, whose five-year-old wants to learn about Product Management? Me to a 5-yo: Product Management is what Medicine used to be in my days.
Up until 10 years ago, I wanted to study Medicine because of the times and seasons. But, now even you, Junior has a phone at five! The times are changing; we are in the internet age and some of the world's wealthiest billionaires are Founders/CEOs of "Product" companies built on the internet.

You know Facebook? Facebook is what we'll typically refer to as a product. So the act/process of bringing a Facebook to live is what is called Product management.

(Let's have a deeper conversation when you are 15).

@_Ingressive_

Oh, nice! Thanks for breaking it down. Many people don't know the difference between project management and product management. What is the difference between a project manager/product marketing manager and a product manager?

@DadaBen_

(Phew! Since we are back to talking to adults, it's time to throw in the big-big grammar).

With Product management and its "affiliates", its usually all semantics. And it's true definition can only be found in how the company defines the role.  However, if we wanted to define it based on 'popular' understanding; their differences can be identified when we decouple the terms. Yet, one thing is clear, there is "management" in all three.

So, first, what's a product?

A product is an entity---it can also be a service packaged as a product. LOL. Basically, a product is anything that can be packaged and sold.

A project has 3 major constraints;

- scope (extent/coverage)

- time-bound (delivery) and

- budget

Now, product marketing can be defined as marketing for a product, TBH, it is really that simple.

However, when you start to uncover what it takes to "package" something (as per product), you now begin to see where things like road-mapping, user research and even marketing come in.

So, in the rare cases of companies that have all three, the Product manager is responsible for the delivery cycle and marketing of the product.

To summarise, the other guys like Product marketing manager and Project manager will report to the Product Manager...who has the mandate to build the right product and make it succeed in the market within  resource constraints

@_Ingressive_ Awesome! Very insightful. This leads to the question should a Product Manager know how to code/Is it a requirement for a PM to be a developer or know how to write a piece of code?

@DadaBen_

LMAO, this question na set up.
"Should a Product Manager know how to code?" Maybe not.

But should the manager know how the web works and all those other things, yes.

"Is it a requirement for a PM to be a developer", Clearly, no.

In fact, I'd argue that if there should be a technical requirement for a PM, it should be how to design. Where Design speaks to the "how" things should work. I think the discourse around whether a PM should have a technical background comes more as an advice than the rule.

My advice: Let the role/JD guide what a product manager should know or have. But broadly speaking technical expertise is a plus.


@_Ingressive_ Okay this is amazing but how do you know product management is what best fits you? Well, how do you know Medicine is what's best fit for you? Or Engineering? Or Law? Or Music?

If I were to give a step-wise process, I'd say:

1. Look to your strengths/skills,

2. Interests/Motivation

3. Luck/Times

@DadaBen_

For instance, I wanted to be a PM because:

1. Strengths/skills: I had spent the better part of my education in a technical field, AKA I had a technical background

2. Interests/Motivation: In SV, they are about the most paid!
3. Luck/Times: My desire to work in a Prod. Mgt role is largely influenced by the company where I'd be doing the PM.

Remember, it is the company that determines whether you are an Enterprise PM or consumer (B2C) PM (I think this is sexier but more Snr

In summary, if you want to be "CEO" of a product, can motivate people, learn a few things like the tools and terminologies. Then, go test out (either on a fun project or something) and shoot your shot at the companies you want!


@_Ingressive_ That was supposed to be the last question for the #tweetchat. It’s been exciting, enlightening and fun. Thank you @DadaBen_ , to round it up where do you think is a good resource for learning about product management?

@DadaBen_
Err, tricky. But when I was starting out my first ever prof. PM role, I signed up to @udemy's Become a Product Manager.

@_Ingressive_ Awesome! The conversation is open for questions. If you still have questions on whether or not to get into product management, ask your questions now and don’t forget to use the hashtag #IngressiveChatWithDadaben. Thank you for your time @DadaBen_!



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