How I became a Product Manager

Background

A few weeks ago I decided I needed to ‘label’ or ‘brand’ myself better as a professional in the workplace. I find it is important when you network that people easily understand what you do. As well, having a clear idea of what you are as a professional allows you to seek the networking groups and education that will add value to your profile. Furthermore, I just finished an MBA so it is especially important that I focus on my career moving forward – I didn’t spent 15 months and enormous sums of money to just stay at the same place as I always was.

The organization I work for currently is very entrepreneurial. We are always trying something new. We do not have project managers, product managers or product marketing. We all wear many hats and just “make it happen”.

So how did I become a Product Manager?

I never took any particular courses to become a Product Manager. I just realized one day that I had become one:

-I have worked for technology companies (hardware, software and telecom) for more than 18 years in various sales and marketing roles.

-I enjoy learning about new technology. I spend evenings at home browsing the Net in search of more information. I teach myself how things work. I download new applications to try them (I like to be ‘hands on’ as much as possible).

-I am business-savvy and customer-oriented. I need to see/understand how the new technology will apply to my customer’s needs today. Customers have to acknowledge the need and the technology has to  be easy to use and easy to teach. At the same time, I want new products to make us money so we can stay in business. I need to understand the business plan and I need to know that we achieved our financial goals. Sometimes it makes more sense to buy than build ourselves so I like to look for the right partner or solution that will get us to market the quickest. 

-I have become the glue that allows for our executives’ ideas to become reality. They tell me what they want and I set up the team to make it happen. A big part of my job is project management and even though I am not  certified PM, I believe I have come to understand the skills to make a project go from inception to launch (beginning to end).

-My organization has no product manager and no product marketing manager. So by default I have been filling these voids.

-I have no reports so I have had to use good team building and communication skills for my peers to do what I want them to do to move projects forward.

-I have a lot of energy!

-I spoke to other product managers to ask them what skills are necessary to become a good product managers and they pretty must listed the skills I have developed over my career.

Conclusion

Right now I enjoy knowing what I am as a professional. I joined the Ryma PMV web seminars (See link to Ryma under my Product Management links) and the topics are relevant and of great value to expand my knowledge. I like to know that I am part of the Product Management community which is composed of individuals with similar interests and aspirations.  One day I’d like to launch my own business or become a VP Marketing and I believe the knowledge I will gain through becoming a great product manager will help me get there.

2 thoughts on “How I became a Product Manager

  1. Great job Ninon. I think you perfectly described your role and how it works. It was very useful.

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