March 5

Becoming a Product Leader

It’s been said that when you’re a product leader, your product is the team of product managers you lead. The move from product manager to product leader requires you to adopt people management skills in addition to product management skills. If you want to make that move, the best time to start preparing is now, and here are some resources to help you on that journey.

What is product leadership? The folks at ProductPlan explain that product leadership describes several management-level roles with responsibility for the success of the company’s products. A product leader builds and oversees the right product team, owns the product’s strategic direction and ensures that product teams have the tools and systems they need to build successful products.

(via @productplan)

The career path of a product manager. Product management is an ever increasingly popular role. Whether you’re an aspiring or a current product manager, you certainly have wondered how your role will look 5 to 10 years down the line. Kevin Wei explores how your product management job responsibilities and compensation evolve as you climb the rungs of the PM career ladder.

(via @tryexponent)

What does it mean to be a product leader? As Tom Comerford reflected upon his product journey, he realized his transformation from a product manager into a product leader had little to do with people management. Instead, he has been able to master skills to help him influence others, manage a broader portfolio of work, and drive key results.

(via @product_tom)

Unconventional advice for transitioning to Head of Product. Anthony Murphy explores the major differences between being a Product Manager and moving into a Head of Product role. He describes the skills which are unique to being a Product Leader which you generally wouldn’t get much exposure to as a Product Manager. He also sheds some light on potential blind spots in the transition so you can have a clearer path toward a Head of Product role.

(via @Deptofproduct)

Crossing the Canyon: Product manager to product leader.  Navigating a career in product management can be incredibly ambiguous and frustrating. Job titles and descriptions vary greatly across companies. The criteria for advancement within organizations can seem vague and subjective. Even worse, there’s a canyon right in the middle of the PM career ladder when moving from a Senior Product Manager role to Product Leader. Fareed Mosavat and Casey Winters explore why crossing this canyon is the most difficult career transition for PMs.

(via @reforge)

Kent J McDonald

About the author

Kent J McDonald writes about and practices software product management. He has product development experience in a variety of industries including financial services, health insurance, nonprofit, and automotive. Kent practices his craft with a variety of product teams and provides just in time resources for product people at and Product Collective. When not writing or product managing, Kent is his family’s #ubersherpa, listens to jazz and podcasts (but not necessarily podcasts about jazz), and collects national parks.


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