What We Need in a VP of Product Management

org-chart

Executives are often unclear about what a VP of Product Management does, and therefore the skills and experience to look for in candidates. Here are six aspects of the senior product job that tilt toward experience and organizational skills – rather than pure technical brilliance.

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JobLorn: Missing My Former Product Segment

mechanical heart

Dear JobLorn: I have a complicated relationship with my ex-company. We had a bad breakup about a year ago which included a two-year “non-compete” agreement – the office equivalent of a Temporary Restraining Order. I love my old niche market, but had to take a product management job elsewhere to pay the bills.

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5 Market-Facing Skills for (Some) Agile Product Owners

Value Exchange

Completing a three-post skills model for product owners, partly borrowed from product management… For some projects, product owners need market-facing skills as well as core agile practices (release/sprint planning, story writing, prioritization, backlog grooming). They *may* need to tell economic stories, segment users, design incentives and take a portfolio-level view.

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Joblorn: Grumpy About Unfunded Projects

Development tip jar

Rich: I’m a product manager writing PRDs, but my features are always de-prioritized when engineering allocates resources. (We have constrained engineering bandwidth). How can I get priority for my features so that my PRD will see the light of day?
— Generating Reams of Unfunded MRDs and PRDs
__________________
Dear GRUMPy…

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Product Management Skills For Non-Revenue Product Owners (#2 of 3)

compass and map

Basic product owner descriptions assume a best-case situation: clear sponsor/user alignment, obvious project value, willing subject experts, budget authority and rational expectations. What skills do product owners need for real world projects?

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A Product Management Skills Map For Product Owners (#1 of 3)

How do we reconcile the broad, market-focused scope of a technology product manager with the sprint-level attention to excellence of a product owner? In the first of three posts, I propose a customer diversity scale to identify how much “product-manager-ness” a product owner needs.

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Advice to the Joblorn

MBA mortarboard

“I’m a new MBA who’s just moved out to San Francisco, and am looking for a product marketing job. I worked on analytic tools for banks before B-School, but got a cool internship with a Bay Area social media company here last summer. So I want to work on something more exciting than FinTech. How should I restructure my résumé and LinkedIn profile?
— Recently Moved to the Bay Area with a Respectable MBA”

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“Getting Promoted” Talk at SV Product Camp ’13

SVPcamp

This year’s Silicon Valley Product Camp (the sixth!) again drew record crowds of product managers and product marketers to share, network, learn and have fun!  600+ attendees came to eBay’s Paypal/San Jose location. I ran a session on Understanding the Next Job Up… and Getting Promoted. We had an energetic (semi-structured) discussion about what individual contributor Product Managers do, how this is different from Director-level and VP Product roles, and ways to address various real-world (political) issues.  Some of the more senior attendees offered advice to newcomers.  We talked about how to signal that you’re interested in “the next job up” while respecting your current manager. Understanding the Next Job Up… and Getting Promoted from Rich Mironov   With a…

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Notes from the Unicorn Hiring Front

unicorn

When opening up a new product management position (or any job), it’s easy to over-specify what candidates must have. We risk finding no candidates at all, or missing those with unique skills and backgrounds, so it helps to clearly prioritize our requirements.

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What Hiring Managers are Looking for in Product Management Candidates

help-wanted

We did an analysis of job requirements and qualifications for posted product management openings. Previous PM experience, segment expertise and great communication skills are at the top of the list. What if you don’t look like the typical PM hire?

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