Q&A: Should I take a different role before applying to become a product manager?

People sometimes ask me for career advice. Here’s a recent question:

Hi Jock,

I’m an entrepreneur, product/program manager and hardcore gamer. I’m facing a dilemma in my career’s direction. I’m split between my love for the game industry (dreaming of launching a game with a team), and my passion for product management (I would love to be a PM for a tech company).

I’ve applied to both the game industry for producer positions (no PM there), and to tech companies for PM roles. Got a few interviews for PM, but I may lack experience. On the other hand, I’ve got an offer in a big game studio for a production coordinator role (about project and people management, primarily). My manager is experienced and believes in me, and it would be for a triple A game.

I would see myself being a product manager for a tech company, or a game director in a studio. So not only managing projects and teams, but also having a vision for the product/games, researching the market, coming up with features, roadmaps, and so on. I feel I already have a good “product sense”, but I may be lacking in terms of experience, management (especially with engineers), and leadership.

Do you feel being a production coordinator would be a good or at least relevant move toward this career?

Thanks for your help,

Y

Read on for my reply.

Continue reading

Q&A: Getting into product management

This is an interview I did a little while ago with a user experience author living on the US East Coast. She was interested in moving into freelance product management.

We cover:

  • how to move into product management;
  • differences between working in the private and public sectors;
  • KPIs and financial modelling; and
  • the pleasures and pains of being a product manager.

Continue reading

Making myself redundant

I’ve recently been working for MOJ Digital at the Ministry of Justice as their interim head of product. They asked me to join as a professional coach and mentor to the team of product managers building digital services there. It soon became clear that there was plenty more I could do to help.

Continue reading

Becoming a product manager at MOJ Digital

This article was originally published on MOJ Digital’s blog in January 2015.

Fancy a job as a product manager? Do you see yourself working in a hot start-up with a small, tight-knit team of specialists?

I’ll bet you never considered the Ministry of Justice as an option. You’re missing a trick – let me explain why.

Continue reading

46: How to qualify yourself for a product management job


This content was originally published more than five years ago and is archived here for preservation.

More up-to-date content is available on this blog.


I’m writing about one hundred things I’ve learned as a product manager.

If you want to work as a developer, you learn software engineering, computer science or teach yourself to code. If you want to become a UX designer, you learn about design and behavioural psychology. But what do you need to learn if you want to qualify for a job as a product manager?

Continue reading