Product Management

May 14, 2023

How to get PM experience

Q&A with Ayomide Akintade


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About This Event

Ayomide Akintade started her journey in Product Management 6 months ago.

Since then, she's worked with 2 tech firms - going from intern to full-time Product Manager.

Hear what advice she has for all aspiring PMs hoping to land a job at this event.

Resources shared

Ayomide’s LinkedIn:

Ayomide's resume

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Event notes

Tell us your story. How did you get started in PM?

Someone said she'd be good - she was part of a community of tech people who were a good influence.

When taking EntryLevel's PM 1 course, she realized she was doing PM already.

  • The course brought titles into the tasks she was doing
  • There were names for prioritization frameworks

Reached out to product owners on LinkedIn

  • Asked to volunteer

EntryLevel's modules were always open in a tab

  • Projects really helped

Doing team evaluation - engineers that she was working with said they didn’t believe she was just an intern. They thought she was a full product manager

  • Knew what product owner want
  • Could do research

Gave herself a timeline for PM career

  • After 3 months - reach out another set of organizations, learn more
  • 4th month, reached out more
  • Others trusted her based on her work and experience with her current organization


  • Management skills
  • Self-awareness
  • Research

Currently, Ayomide works with 2 companies, and helps other organizations with PM.

How can you pitch yourself to volunteer for an organization?

You have to be precise - don’t start with "hi how are you doing?"


Hi, I’m XYZ, I’m a newbie in PM, and I’d like to volunteer with your organization on this product.

Focus on your ability to just grow so fast with the team

They want to know - can they trust you with valuable information?

Ayomide reached out to like 10 product owners a day

  • Response from 2
  • Stopped reaching out to others (new people) after getting responses

Look for product owners in line with the industry you want to be in

Ayomide researched - read posts, problems the company wants to solve, industry they're in

  • This is to find companies who are willing to spend time training newbies - even if it's volunteer position

There are lots of opportunities not available publicly

  • Referrals
  • You need to post about PM on your LinkedIn, make it relevant. People will be checking out your profile
  • Write what you learned about your industry (or about PM), projects


  • Community is so important - build connections. Lots of opportunities aren’t publicly available - ask for them. Networking is SO important - create your own network and opportunities
  • People will stalk your LinkedIn when you reach out to them, so be active and make relevant posts - maybe posting about what projects you're doing as part of EntryLevel's PM program ;)
  • Research the people. you are reaching out to, to make your pitch relevant to them

How can we determine the best industry for us to work in?

Ayomide still asks herself this, but think about what you like to talk about most. Sports, finance?

Start to think of products you can develop based on your research, solve a problem in that industry.

Research growing, in-demand industries - like fintech.

Do you work remotely or in-person?

One of Ayomide's job is remote, the other is in-person in Lagos.

If you can’t manage yourself, you can’t manage others.

Major thing is learning how to prioritize.

Do you have any IT skills prior to doing Product Management?

Maybe yes, but the important part is the ability to just grow so fast with your team.

You need to always learn - learning IT skills can be quick.

Focus on connecting with people - like online on LinkedIn.

What's a day in your life look like?

For the remote job:

Have Product Requirements Document (PRD) as a guide - sprint planning, retrospective

First do a standup

Pick up sprint (yesterday) - know what you're already going to do

Everyone knows what they’re doing

Know deadline - engineers and designers

  • Keep close tab on them

Engineers say there’s a bug

  • Don’t talk about excuses, engineers ready to give more excuses
  • You have to be on your toes
  • Feel empathy, helping
  • While they’re sorting it, working on next feature, user story to help with team

Note: yes, bugs will always happen. But you must plan for debugging time, and also flag dependencies ahead of time to minimize these risks of going past a deadline.

Full knowledge of next sprint

By 3pm - discuss if any roadblocks

  • Update where the team's at

Common themes I noticed of Ayomide managing her career and learning, that she also applies to her PM job:

  • Next step is always clear because there is a roadmap. Ayomide knows what's next in her career
  • Ayomide is firm - no excuses for engineers NOR herself. She reaches out to people and always learns, even when she doesn't want to

What is the difference between project management and product management?

Project is 1-time - when it's done, it's done.

Product is continuous - keep eye on product.

What is the difference in responsibilities from when you were an intern and now as PM?


  • After Ayomide had her first meeting (intro), second meeting pushed to handle meeting (so confusing)
  • Tech lead helped
  • She was pushed out of her comfort zone

Intern (startup)

  • If you need to have a solid knowledge, experience - start with a startup
  • Get that experience
  • It will really help
  • If product fails, you’ve failed as a PM
  • Upskill, keep getting better

Most valuable thing you’ve learned so far?

Team management

Can’t do it alone - working with marketing team (marketing lead)

  • Learn how to use the right words with team leads


  • Know to influence your team
  • You haven’t managed your team well if they’re giving excuses

How do you manage product owners or stakeholders with impossible expectations?

Massage their ego first - empathize and say their reasoning is correct.

Then, reprioritize. Say you'll need more time if they want this new feature.

Can I apply for internships after EntryLevel's Product Management Level 1 course? Or do I have to take Level 2?

Ayomide got her jobs with just PM Level 1.

She followed the steps outlined in the course - especially the research (market research, for example).

The modules and knowledge helped for months - and is still helping in her job.

Ayomide opens the modules to make sure she's not skipping any steps.

It's a good way to start your journey

She started PM Level 2 when she got her second job.

  • Started implementing in day-to-day work

I think you need to just have that confidence and push yourself. It just takes 1 yes to change your life. Start outside your comfort zone, and that's where growth and opportunities are.


Ayomide Akintade

Product Manager

Ayomide Akintade started her journey in Product Management 6 months ago.

Since then, she's worked with 2 tech firms - going from intern to full-time Product Manager.

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