What is the best way to break into Product Management?

I've been entertaining the idea of a career change over the last year, and Product Management is an area that interests me greatly. I'm just not entirely sure how to move across without damaging my existing salary to extensively, and also without knowing how transferable my skills are. How did you move into Product Management?


Hello Aidan. I was recently featured on a panel at General Assembly for an audience looking to make a career shift towards product management. In 2014 I moved from a marketing / user engagement role at a software startup to product management. The transition is still fresh in my mind.

Based on the experience on your LinkedIn profile, it seems like you would be well-equipped to make the switch. You have a technical background, experience with generating team outcomes and strategic direction.

I think the challenge you face is not whether you have the right skills and resources, but rather how you would like to apply them. Product management is broad and so is your choice of employers.

It would be great to jump on a call to get a better context of your situation so I can give you specific tips on how to put your best foot forward.

Answered 9 years ago

I did it gradually by beginning to do the things product managers I worked with did. One task and skill at a time while I was in a role in an adjacent team. That also helped me see which skills were transferable, in some cases skills other product managers didn't have.

What those skills and tasks are depends how you define the product manager role you want. Product Management can mean many different things depending which industry and company you're in. It covers a broad spectrum from deeply technical roles to more marketing and sales oriented ones.

Answered 9 years ago

Hi Aiden, although I am not specifically a Product Management guy, I am a business development guy that has left his corporate job to create a small business so I can share with you my experience from that perspective. The first thing you should begin to do is ultimately attempt to consult others on a part time basis. In this fashion, you would ultimately learn how to sell your services, learn from any feedback you receive good or bad, and adjust your sales pitch accordingly. If you wanted to start from the perspective of setting up a company, one website I recommend to organize your thoughts into a "Lean Launch Model" would be

From the perspective of where you would find the leads, LinkedIn is the most amazing B2B platform and with the right targeting of keywords to find the decision makers in the companies that may need your consulting advice and the development of a template, you can easily send out messages that are customized to your connections and generate opportunities in which you can pitch what you have to offer. It works for nearly every service offering too, so long as you strategically target those who would be interested.

In summary, start part time, organize your business thoughts via, and use LinkedIn as your primary driver of business development. Hope this helps!

Answered 9 years ago

Spent 7 years in Sales earning great money. Slowed down to raise a family and moved into Marketing. Realised the mental stimulation for me was greatest in Product and Category Management. The sales background and foundation was invaluable. It helps if you can see the big picture. This course might help

Answered 9 years ago

Hi Aidan.

Lots of good answers here:

Also, I had a PM guest post their experience on my blog:

You'll have to see what works in Australia. There's a PM consultancy called Brainmates in Australia, led by Adrienne Tan. You could contact her to get the take on things in Australia.

Answered 9 years ago

All too often people say they are interested in product management but cannot point to a URL of a project they worked on. There are countless resources out there to learn how to code, design, tackle customer development, validate your idea, and ultimately launch a living, breathing product. Even if your product only reaches a handful of users, building something from scratch sets you apart drastically. Do not worry about how complex or marketable the product is- the goal is to get your hands dirty with product development.
You cannot launch a product without inspiring people to build it first. That is why being a great PM largely depends on how well you work with developers and designers. Learning how to communicate with creative makers is key, so even if you do not work with product talent in your current role, find ways to start flexing those muscles. Reach out to developers and designers at your company to start a dialogue or keep an eye out for local events where you can network or collaborate with makers.

When you are ready to roll up your sleeves, hackathons are one of the best places to experiment with leading a group of makers. Whether you go to an event or grab coffee with a Tech Lead from your company, connect with makers to start opening new doors into product.
The third way to get in product management is near and dear to my heart. After awhile, the CEO decided to take a chance on me and let me try my hand at the product side of things. If you are driving results and have built trust across the organization, you have a good chance of being considered for a role in a new department. Even product.

Your product team might think of you for a new role right off the bat because they’ve worked with you in the past, but often times, you’ll need to reach out to the hiring manager to let them know you’re interested. Either way, keep your eyes and ears open for PM openings within your organization. Some companies have an Associate Product Manager program for folks who are entirely new to the world of software development but eager to dive in. They get to own real parts of the product at HubSpot and have access to 1-on-1 coaching to help them navigate the process. APM programs are an incredible way to jumpstart a career in product. These are just a few ways to think about finding your spot as a product manager.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call:

Answered 4 years ago

Many ways, and not one definite answer.
What's known it can take a bit of time, preparation and effort. It can be done alone and the internet resources are very helpful but taking the right mentor (I recommend it over courses that are more theoretical and general) can shorten the time to the Junior position.

I've seen it with my mentees in live, with the right direction from someone who been there (in my case over 100 product interviews, over 30 home tasks) and developed some methods and the right materials it can be done.

Feel free to consult

Answered 5 months ago

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