Bootstrapping your Product Management Career

We all know that the best way to learn Product Management is hands on experience. But it is also truth that is possible to avoid the same mistakes others made, especially when they’ve written books or recorded podcasts to tell you how to avoid them. These are the courses, books, blogs, videos and podcasts that helped me bring my Product Management career to the next level:

A) Part-time courses. The following courses are the ones that made the most impact on my PM performance:

  • Product Management, General Assembly gives a good overview of the typical product manager’s tasks throughout the product lifecycle. It includes a lot of practical exercises and there’s a final course project. If you I was located in USA, I would have probably attended which is the first school I am aware of focused on Product Management trainning.
  • User Experience Design, General Assembly helped me understand how important UX is and what it’s made of. Also made me able to handle the information architecture and wireframing of complex web platforms.
  • Backend Engineering, The Iron Yard.  The course to take if you want to understand the MVC framework, to practice with Test Driven Development, Continuous Integration and Git. Recently a good colleague, JS developer, recommended the book Javascript and jQuery which I found easy to follow and in turn recommend it to you, if you don´t have the chance to do that part time course.

I really enjoy attending these 10 week part time courses. Although they are quite pricy, it is a really good way to spend time with likeminded peers in your city and learn the best practices from top professionals.

B) Product related books.If you’re not up for taking a course right now, or you are and want to make the best of it, go with any or all of the books below.

C) Entrepreneurship related books. Product Managers must be very self-driven and goal oriented, which means they are mostly entrepreneurs at heart. The following books inspired me as an entrepreneur and helped me take charge and better handle the daily challenges in my PM role:

Next books to read: How Google Works and more on this other Amazon list.

D) Online courses. The following courses reinforced and built on the knowledge gained on the part time courses I listed above.

E) Other Videos and audios:

F) Blogs and forums to keep an eye on:

G) Networking with peers:

When there is no official Product Management degree, nor a clear career path for someone interested in becoming on, you have to take the initiative and learn by yourself. I hope the above resources give you good ideas to keep learning.



Time Design for Product Managers

I work as Product Manager in a large company. It is usual to get trapped in the business of being busy without knowing where the time goes and wasting most of it.

In order to not fall in the busy-ness trap I followed the 4 quadrant strategy explained on this article: This Googler Explains How To Design Your Time Rather Than Manage

Here is the summary on how to build your quadrant:

You can label your quadrants however you like, but remember: you only get four of them. To figure out what they are, start by making a list of your normal tasks and responsibilities. Take a look at your calendar and review the meetings you attended in the last couple of weeks. Review your recent to-do lists and big projects from the past three months.

I have divided my time as Product Manager at Ve Interactive in the following 4 categories:

  1. Product Design (User research, technical research, stakeholder interview, wireframing, writing documentation,…).
  2. Product Management (Dev team communication, user communication, business communication,…).
  3. People Development (Mentoring other Product Managers, coaching Development team, advising business on product strategy,…).
  4. Transactional Tasks (answering emails, setting up new tool,…)

They are ordered by priority. Being the two that I more enjoy Product Design and People Management.

On my to-do list I group the tasks on those 4 categories. And try to focus on one type of task depending on time of the day, amount of time without interruptions, availability of relevant colleagues,…

I hope this example can help other Product Managers to design their time.