Discover more from Product Party
Transitioning into the life a product person.
This week we cover how to leverage your past life and skills to boost your product career.
Welcome! Product Party is a weekly newsletter connecting people to the world of problem-solving through product 🎉
“I have a ton of skills I’ve learned throughout my career. I could become a product person, but I’m unsure how to connect my past to this new role.”
Let’s help you make this connection with three examples.
Emphasize soft skills.
If you have been reading my newsletter for a while, you know I’m a big fan of being able to build relationships with your coworkers - especially early on when you’ve just joined a new team.
Although you need to toe the line of being overly intense in your onboarding, one of the best ways to establish your brand early in your new role is to connect with your coworkers. Especially those who you’ll be working with most often. These relationships will be the first to pay dividends when it comes to starting to get things done and building up your coworker’s knowledge of who you are and what you’re capable of doing.
Use storytelling with examples and analogies.
Can you quickly turn into Ted Lasso and get a little over the top with analogies? Yes. Assuming you are watching the best soccer/football show, there is on the TV. The real question, however, is…can you leverage the storytelling and analogies that a character like Ted Lasso uses to bridge your past to your present?
Depending on the type of product person you are, the ability to connect past success and your wide range of topical analogies may or may not come naturally. However, you’ve had to come up with many stories in your interview process, so you should have some great examples of success you’ve seen in the past. The natural progression is to find situations when you’re early on in your new role to be able to connect those dots with your coworkers.
Look for overlapping responsibilities.
New to the product title, but you’ve been doing product-y things for a long time? Don’t worry. That’s totally cool!
Along with soft skills and storytelling, you should quickly examine the new role’s responsibilities and what you could be held accountable for. Since you’ve been through the interview process, met the team, and all those fun things, you should have a pretty good understanding of what’s to come within the first couple of weeks.
Questioning how everything connects in your new role? Here are ten ways Product aligns with other teams in your org.
Marketing: Product management works closely with marketing teams to understand the target audience and develop messaging and marketing strategies. Marketing teams also provide feedback on the product's success and how it resonates with customers.
Engineering: Product management collaborates with engineering teams to define product requirements and specifications, ensure they are fulfilled, and ensure the development team has the resources they need to deliver quality products.
Sales: Product management works hand in hand with the sales team, providing support in developing sales strategies and ensuring the product meets the requirements of the target markets.
Finance: There is a close relationship between finance and product management, as product managers must have a clear understanding of the financial aspects of the product, including budgeting estimates, pricing strategies, and market analysis.
Operations: Product management must work closely with the operations team to ensure smooth and efficient manufacturing, logistics, and delivery of products to customers.
Human Resources: Product management plays a critical role in helping HR to align the recruitment, retention, and training of personnel to the needs of the product development team.
Research and Development: Product management must work tightly with R&D to align product strategies with evolving technologies, trends, and customer needs.
Legal: Product management must ensure all products are legally compliant and meet the relevant standards and licenses. Collaboration with the legal team helps to achieve this.
Customer Service: Product management efforts should be tied closely with customer service to help direct feedback to product improvement, anticipate major customer concerns, and ensure the product is aligned with customer needs.
IT: Depending on the nature of the product, IT can play a close role in ensuring digital applications and development infrastructure systems are up to date or fixing any issues in the software.
We’ve covered the dilemma of bridging your past skills with a new role in product management. I shared three tips to help make the connection: highlighting your soft skills, using storytelling and analogies, and finding common ground between your experience and your new responsibilities.
I also listed ten ways product management ties in with different teams in an organization, like marketing, engineering, sales, finance, operations, human resources, research and development, legal, customer service, and IT.
So, I'm curious - what have you done to align your experience with your current role? I'd love to hear your thoughts and stories in the comments:
Random interesting reads
In this post on Step-by-step Product by Sasha Petrov, they share some approaches learned during their design career that help a product manager to engage their team in the discovery process.
They emphasize the importance of regularly observing users and involving the team, setting up a dedicated communication channel, debriefing within one day, and watching users' session recordings. They also provide tips for interviewing teammates and making more impactful clips. The goal is to generate insights regularly and keep the content machine moving.
Support Product Party
Like what you’re reading? Tell some friends by clicking here and picking your favorite place to promote your favorite newsletters: