This is a big day for product managers. Finally, a book that brings together the expertise of some of the best product managers in the biz is weeks away from bringing organizations a deeper understanding of how to structure and clarify the product management role.
My Christmas gift from my boss was a copy of Greg Geracie’s “Take Charge Product Management”. It’s probably one of the best product management books that I’ve read. Unlike other books where I had to wear a sweat band and take mental breaks to weight through all the meaty and technical content, Greg did a great job to tell me a story that was simple and actionable. I left light and a feather as I sprinted through the pages. I’ll admit, I was kind of bummed when it ended.
Believe me, I’ve read about any product management book that I could get my hands on. It was one of the first books that really boiled down a lot of the complexities one new to product management can experience.
Yes, product management is variable. You can’t really go to school for it. It’s a role that finds you and pulls you in. You become a special member of the island of misfit toys. For me, I’ve been able to put all the skills I learned in journalism into a really different practice. I love it; I’ve never felt more out of place — yet in place — in my entire life.
I think there’s something beautiful and powerful about the lack of structure and understanding organizations have with the product management role, even though I can become frustrated by it. Even Greg makes the fantastic point early on is his book: You have the opportunity to make your unique stamp on the organization. It’s that lack of structure that has allowed so many random people, with seemingly random skill-sets, to enter into this role. It’s easier to envision the career progression of developers, business analysts and quality assurance folks into a product management. It so cool, however, to be a part of something that has become a new employment home for journalists, attorneys and even a former police officer.
As the role continues to evolve and structure is naturally glued on, lets not forget some of the positives that come with a lack of structure. Don’t ever forget what brought you into the role before it was established. Also, as the role continues to be defined, don’t forget that a strong product manager can come from an unexpected place. Make sure to continue investing in young talent and talent that’s found in different verticals to encourage visibility and growth of this amazing career path.
Never let the title define what you bring to the organization. Be a hole filler. Be loud. Do whatever it takes to make the organization the best version of itself. I am so excited to see how the role evolves over time!
To read more about the upcoming book from Greg himself, click here.