You're a PM Pro now, but if you took a trip in the Way Back machine, what concepts/ language/ theories/ practices did you have to learn early on to really rock it out today? I'm particularly interested in hearing from folks who stumbled into their roles as PMs, and probably don't have a business studies background (like me - English Lit major). For example, I didn't know a lot about statistics when I started at Heap, so I did some reading/research on basic concepts/applications to better understand the types of data-driven decisions PMs need to make. In what areas did you need to level up or fill in gaps before you REALLY got it?
Best answer by GrahamView original
For me, the main skills that a person transitioning into PM has to bring are more on the “soft skills” side of the house. Stakeholder management has been crucial for my success, adapting your communication style depending on who you’re dealing with (from engineering to commercial) and being able to translate that message from one side to the other. These skills can be developed really in most disciplines and will set you up for success when you decide to make the move!
Definitely one who stumbled into a PM role about 12 years ago. Previous to that, worked in education as IT support etc, and actually was more on the sales side after that as a pre-sales technical consultant.
I would never imagine myself now going back and doing that, I love being a PM/Head of PM.
No formal training, all self taught (and so I know I have gaps), experienced everything from start up to corporate, good times and bad. Couple of startups of my own too more recently.
Biggest skills I look for when hiring now: Communication and pragmatism - we can’t do everything!
Big big focus for me, both in my team and also outside of work is sustainable mental health. In fact have been building a community specifically for Product Managers’ mental health and wellbeing - currently 90 members globally.
Thanks for responding
@Graham! Another vote for the more “soft” skills. I love that you’re focused on sustainable mental health practices specific to the product management discipline; I imagine there’s no shortage of PMs in this Community that constantly feel the pressure to do more and more. I hope you’ll share more about your work in this are in the Heap Community ( @davetee for awareness).
Here at Heap, our People org hosted a great session yesterday on Stress & Burnout as part of National Mental Health Awareness month in the U.S. We’re really quite lucky at Heap, as our benefits specifically include mental health and wellness services.
@Deanna Furlong. Firstly yes have already spoken to @davetee he introduced me to this community (in fact, I’m talking with him again in 2 hours!), with the sole purpose of bring our community’s insights to this one on MHW specifically for Product Managers. So definately here to share and help if I can.
Absolutely, there is a lot of quite unique pressures on PMs not present for other professionals in any other role, and so it needs like minded people to be able to talk to and discuss, and hope to spur conversations here on just these topics!
Really great to hear how Heap are supporting - burnout seems to be VERY popular topic this year!