Last week, I had an amazing conversation with Harish Kumar Nagarajan, product manager at ROI Hunter about his journey from a Technical Writer to Product Manager.
During our conversation, I gained a lot of insights on what it takes to become a product manager. But, the thing I liked the most was his mention of the key skills every product manager should have and what aspiring product managers should do in order to improve their chances.
What is your advice for aspiring product managers?
Harish: If you want to be a product manager, try to pick a small project within your existing company. Ask product managers what's on their backlog. Ask for a really tough problem that none of the product managers on the team want to solve. It's because the problem is a pain that they do not want to take on themselves or because it's just plain boring and nobody really wants to do it. This gives you a chance to pick that problem and solve it for them. And it helps you test your own skills. It also helps you showcase your skills to the product team and will let them know that this role is the right fit for you. This works when you're already working in a company.
If you are still a student or if you're doing a master's degree, a great way to start is to work on some kind of a side project. Pick any app that you like and try to think of ideas on how you can improve it. But also think of why that problem that you're trying to solve is important enough for an engineer to actually spend their time and build that into the product.
This will give you the true motivation to think about the problem spaces, as much as you spend time looking at the solutions. And more importantly, the last part is you should focus on what you're able to bring to the table.
What are the key skills you think a Product Manager should have?
Harish: There are basically three main skills that anybody would look for in a product manager.
- You need to be able to communicate well.
- You need to be able to prioritize well and
- You need to have a lot of empathy for your customers.
Listen to the full episode
Isotope by NextStop is a podcast where people from different educational backgrounds talk about how they built a successful career in SaaS.