There's a lot to love about product management if you're into dynamic environments.
The word "dynamic" gets thrown around a lot in job descriptions, but if there's a discipline that this word suits perfectly it's product management.
Here are a few things I love about being a PM:
It's constantly challenging, and in a good way
And the challenges PMs face are very diverse. As an engineer or a designer, you primarily solve engineering and design problems. As a product manager, you solve whatever problems get thrown at you:
- Users complaining about the experience? Let's see what we can do to improve it.
- Service outage? Need to troubleshoot it asap.
- A new competitor has popped up? Research time.
- Support team overwhelmed by requests? Let's understand why.
Sure, you might not be the one personally solving these problems, but it's still your responsibility to make sure they get addressed.
Thus, the process of learning and improvement never stops
You just don't stop learning as a PM. You learn from your past experiences, you learn from those around you, and you learn by staying up to date with the industry.
This is a good attitude no matter what role and industry you're in, but the value of continuous learning and improvement is especially high in product management due to its dynamic nature. The day you stop learning is the day you're done as a PM.
The best part of this is that you grow not just as a product manager, you grow as a person since many PM skills translate to life.
You interact and collaborate with all kinds of people
At the end of the day, they're not just "cross-functional teams", "stakeholders", or "users". They're people. People with different backgrounds and ideas, interests and experiences, strengths and weaknesses, problems and challenges.
It's your responsibility to not just interact and negotiate with all of them. You have to really understand their views, beliefs, and positions, and figure out what you can do to make collaboration happen.
And interacting with diverse groups of people broadens your perspective like nothing else.
And you build things that matter
Hopefully, at least. If you build things no one cares about, consider changing jobs.
One of my favorite feelings as a PM is seeing the joy people experience when using something I've helped build. And it's not just about the big product or feature launches, although it's definitely part of it. It can be about fixing a bug that's been plaguing a certain set of users and seeing them being happy. Or it can be about designing and implementing an internal process that makes life easier for the people I work with.
Making the world a better place may sound like a pretentious line out of a boilerplate mission statement, but it doesn't make it a worse mission for you as a PM to strive for.
These were some of the key factors that made me choose product management over going back to engineering after I wound down my business.
I realize that most of these things can also be applied to engineering and other disciplines, but the nature of product management felt the most similar to what I've experienced as an entrepreneur.
Well, I was right about that part. And that's why I love being a PM even more.