How to become a Product Manager?

No wait..my question is ‘How to become a Good Product Manager?’

I always liked to think of me as a creative person. I would write poetry, try new things and almost always try to  be a little different in doing things. This persisted when I took a career in the vast world of Information Technology. I would always try to think why we are doing it the way we are doing it? What are the drivers? And most importantly What is the value add to the world by the systems we are building and the work we are doing?

I was fortunate to get exposure to Agile very early in my career. The client was just starting with their Agile transformation and that type of scenario is probably the best for anyone wanting to learn – no understand Agile in its true sense. It helped me find meaningful answers to my questions. It created in me a fundamentally customer focused mindset towards software development. As I gained more experience working in Agile, I became more fascinated at how using technology and right implementation, we can deliver so much impact. We actually have an opportunity to make lives easier!

Product is the heart of any technology deliverable (Or any other kind of deliverable for that matter. As I work in IT, my focus is going to be on digital Products) Product is the enabler that lets someone (a person, an organization, a system or absolutely anything) solve their problems and achieve their goals. Product is what we- people working in IT, build. In my understanding, Product could be anything – A website, a gadget, a desktop app, a mobile/tablet app, an API, a half a century old monolithic Mainframes system, a PowerPoint presentation, a box of cereal. Examples are endless. Simply put, if you are building something to help your customers – it is a Product.

And what makes a good Product Manager? An MBA degree from a top B-school? Years of experience in internet technologies? Or something else? (I am sure its definitely not the MBA degree, although it’s the top requirement in any Product Manager job description I have applied for)

I guess I have asked too big a question. Volumes of books have been written on the subject, more so in today’s time than ever before. So what am I trying to do here? I realized I can’t read all the books ever written on the subject, and even if I did, I doubt it will help me become a good Product Manager. However, I still want to become one. I really really do. So I decided that I am going to try and discover that answer myself. I am going to seek inspiration, try it, share my learning and hopefully somewhere in that journey, I will discover the answer to my question ‘How to become a Good Product Manager’ and then maybe become one too 🙂

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