When someone asks me how to become a product manager I’d use to say “by just doing it”.
It’s what Elton John would probably say about becoming a piano player. It’s not… helpful.
Here are 2 exercises anyone can do to train product skills. They’re easy and, yes, fun.
1) Plan the launch of a new feature for a product you love.
Think of 3 products: your favorite toothbrush, app, gadget, whatever. Have a great PM you know pick one. Then write the product requirements for it, in your own signature style, and have her review it.
2) Invent the history of a recently launched product you love.
Think of what made it great for you. Without googling anything, come up who the team should’ve been. How did they solve their obstacles? What might’ve happened? Start a year ago and write down your estimate.
Product is a muscle
I’ve used these exercises to interview PM candidates, to help a team member grow into a PM role, or just to keep my product muscle exercised. 💪
If you’re at a party with product people (I’m so sorry) ask questions similar to the exercises to get different viewpoints.
There are a ton of online resources right now that you can keep as a reference while doing these exercises. Anything from First Round Review
to High Output Management
by Andy Grove. I share those resources with team members upfront.
I’ve listed a few of my favorites at the bottom of this post
Product managers need a scope of Three Three’s: what has to happen in the next 3 days, 3 months, and 3 years?
It’s tough to get right, but I hope these exercises get you started.