A Product Manager builds meaningful products that solve user needs. But how exactly do you break into this high-demand industry?
Whether you’re new to the workforce or looking for a career switch, becoming a product manager is definitely possible —as long as you’re willing to put in the hard work.
In this event with seasoned product manager Douglas Franklin, we will cover:
Discover user problems, define problem (team effort). Then solving the problem.
Solve user’s problem.
Project manager: ensure stuff being built the right way, on time
Product manager: ensure building right thing, solving right problem
Most people who are PMs do both - solving the right problem AND building the right way.
Empathy. Build it by talking to users.
Influence and humility.
Companies want experienced folks
The process is as difficult as the job
Not a lot of companies need PMs
Best place to be PM is in current company.
Develop skills necessary for the role.
These skills can be developed in other roles too (even your current role).
PMs are very busy people - you can help them out with minor tasks.
Resist the urge to say anything - wait until after the meeting to share it with the PM
Talk to users, play with data, share insights with your product team
High agency = create own opportunities instead of just wishing
Helps you understand PM, basic knowledge on tasks
Ask about job, what they do.
Have confidence after that.
Freelance, read, apply knowledge → project
Spend time on LinkedIn running queries for job roles
Always apply, even if you don’t feel you meet all requirements.
Tip 1: use jobs alert: https://linkedin.com/jobs/search
Tip 2: apply to companies who have raised recent funding on TechCrunch and TechCabal (Africa)
Have clear summary of resume. Keep it short, no jargon.
Delete buzzwords (cross-functional, web3 PM, AI, strategic, team player)
Show highlights and impact of your work. Pique interest under each job role
Don’t lie in resume - showcase skills (stakeholder management, data analysis, design)
You don’t evaluate the company or person managing you, and pick one where you won’t grow.
So always choose the manager over the company. A good manager will act as a mentor and coach.
Manager > Company > other factors
Most companies have 2-3 stages for the interview.
First part is about you - who you are, your experience.
Think back to what you did in your life that led to this point. How your fascination with X led you to apply to this job.
Questions about basics
Read Cracking the PM interview book
Questions about processes (most people struggle here)
Questions about past roles
Questions about problem-solving
Questions about understanding technology
Yes. Sometimes good ideas have bad business models.
Good idea might not solve a problem, or not have enough users who have that problem
Free mentorship: https://adplist.org?ref=ADP-EN-BYM20
Cracking the PM interview (book)
Douglas Franklin is currently the product lead at OkHi.
In the past, he was formerly a product manager at PerDiem and spent time at OurEdenLife, Deimos, Crisp, and more.