Lindsey Kuper (lindseykuper) wrote,
Lindsey Kuper
lindseykuper

What's a product manager?

At my old job, since I spent a lot of time thinking about how our users actually, uh, used things, I kept finding myself in product development discussions. Once, our general manager pulled me aside and said, "You know, if you had any formal business training, you would be dangerous as a product manager."

Cool. What's a product manager?

At first blush, "product management" sounds like the sort of job geeks run from, but I don't think that's necessarily the case. Ken Norton defines it this way:

Product management is a weird discipline full of oddballs and rejects that never quite fit in anywhere else. For my part, I loved the technical challenges of engineering but despised the coding. I liked solving problems, but I hated having other people tell me what to do. I wanted to be a part of the strategic decisions, I wanted to own the product. Marketing appealed to my creativity, but I knew I'd dislike being too far away from the technology. Engineers respected me, but knew my heart was elsewhere and generally thought I was too "marketing-ish." People like me naturally gravitate to product management.

Huh. I actually think that sounds pretty cool. Could I be a closet product manager? And what's this "formal business training" thing all about? Do they make you get that before they let you be Head Geek in Charge of Not Sucking?

Tags: nablopomo 2006
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