How can someone new to product management perform at par with those who already have a name in the domain?


  1. A fundamental understanding of the process of creating your product. If it’s a software-based product, you understand how software is developed, can discuss with engineers the tradeoffs of various implementations, and direct the evolution of that implementation through articulated product requirements. (Same goes for hardware, biotech, telecommunications, and so on.) All of this entails navigating the primary lifecycle/phases of creating such a product, making good tradeoffs based on data and feedback, and prioritizing what will have the most significant impact on your chosen business objectives. The anti-pattern is to run a featured farm that appears to progress but does not meet user needs or have any business impact.

  2. You understand the fundamentals of user interface and interaction design and how to use user studies in their most basic form (i.e., run a survey, interview potential users without leading them, make inferences that become product requirements). You should be able to extract user needs (solve a problem they have) from a target customer and be able to iterate on a basic visual design of your product

  3. You can negotiate with others and persuade people without authority. You can quickly work with a small (5–20) entry-level team and are regarded as an organizational leader.

  4. You understand how to get a product feature or a small product to market.