What Do Product Leaders Do? (and How Can I Become One?)

Career paths for product folks are murky, with most of us falling into product management accidentally. Opportunities for advancement can be just as unclear. How do we think about product leadership roles, and how might we pursue them?

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The Product Leadership Career Ladder

I talk with lots of senior individual contributors about the risks and challenges of moving “up the ladder” into product leadership roles.  Here’s a survey I fielded to capture their top questions and concerns about getting promoted.  What do product leaders do? How do product managers signal their interest in becoming one?

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October 17 & 22, Melbourne/Sydney: Leading The Product Conference

Rich Mironov will be MC for Australia’s largest product conference in Melbourne (October 17th) and Sydney (October 22nd). Organized by Brainmates, this year featurning Jake Knapp, Natalie Field and Bruce McCarthy — plus Rich’s personal reflections on a decade of increasing visibility for product management.

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Podcast: How to Be Effective Without a Product Leader

Many product managers operate in an environment where there is an absence of a product leader or chief product officer. Others work remotely and operate without a solid management anchor. This podcast discusses the challenges and opportunities for product managers without a product leader.

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Eight Mistakes You’ll (Probably) Make in Your First Product Management Job

New product managers have often studied the daily mechanics of the product development process, but tend to be light on soft skills, product strategy, organizational savvy, and market insight. Where do they get into trouble?

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What Do Product Leaders Worry About?

Heads of product management teams worry about a different issues than their individual-contributor product managers. More organizationally focused, less product-focused. What’s at the top of their issues backlog?

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Mentoring Product Managers: Case Method as Well as Tools

As mentors, we should be demonstrating context, judgment and decision-making models – not just sharing templates. Our mentees should be demanding that we give them the big picture.

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We Don’t Hire Product Owners Here

Help Wanted, product owners need not apply

We’re filling product owner slots internally, without much regard to skills or long-term success. Or leaving these slots open for development teams to fill as they may. That’s a road to market failure. We need to be thoughtful, intentional and organizationally savvy about picking and mentoring product owners.

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Scaling Up Product Manager/Owner Teams (PCamp PDX)

This talk from Product Camp Portland paints the need to formally identify product owners for each agile team, select POs thoughtfully, train/mentor them, and create very strong ties to portfolio-level product management.

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