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Innovation

10 reasons to consider a product development career

I have been a product development manager for  over 10 years and I truly enjoy what I do. I have worked in start-ups and in more established organizations, in tech and non-tech industries.  No matter the industry, the role is the same. Here are 10 reasons to consider product development as a career:

  1. You will influence new product decisions. You have a unique opportunity in this role to influence which new products your organization will choose to develop. Here is how I go about influencing new product decisions:
    • I read a lot and I ask internally and externally for ideas;
    • I gather as many ideas as possible and keep a list;
    • I review the list from time to time and share it for feedback – the best ideas bubble up and ideas can be combined to create a brand new one;  
    • I prioritize the ideas and focus on the top 3 most likely to succeed based on business case analysis;
    • I present the most viable ideas to my boss which allows me to influence what the organization chooses to do. Sometimes, I am invited to present in front of Executives.
  2. You will create exciting new products and improve existing products. 
  3. You will never stop learning.
  4. You will have many opportunities to collaborate and lead. This role is cross-functional. You will work with a variety of stakeholders as well as clients.
  5. You will travel. You will attend conferences from time to time, visit customers and partners. These events or meetings allow you to find out what is happening in the market and get new ideas  Product development managers need to be very social.
  6. You will teach. Training others on new products might be part of your role. There will be many opportunities to teach others about new products or features.
  7. You will show results. The role allows you to measure the impact of a new product or new feature and show results of your efforts. Set up metrics at the beginning of a new project. It’s important you know what you are measuring, why and what results you wish to obtain.
  8. You should be able to take some risk. Most organizations will allow you to try new things and take some risk to see what works.
  9. You will develop long lasting relationships. 
  10. You experience change. Product development expertise is needed in times of growth. If this is the career you want, you will most likely change employers a few times unless you are lucky to work for an organization that continues to grow over the long term.

 

Striking the Right Balance to Manage Innovation

I was reading a great article in Harvard Business Review about managing your innovation portfolio.  It made me appreciate that for most organizations, it is difficult to strike the right balance of core, adjacent and transformational innovation.  As a new product development manager, I enjoy working on the real breakthrough ideas, but those are few […] Continue reading →