You must train these 4 skills to be successful PM in a large company

My personal mantra for product management job is “one size doesn’t fit all”. It becomes even more significant when you compare skills required to launch an independent startup with those of adding features to mature product, or launching new product inside a corporation.

I admire and respect entrepreneurs going from 0 to 1, but there already are lots of great courses and books about it. Meanwhile mid-level and senior PMs struggle to find fresh and quality materials on how to get from 1 to N. That’s why I’d like to share my personal reflections on the matter.

Skill 1: Always keep an eye on unit economics

You can track bunch of hype metrics, but in the end your main goal is to make money (ideally by making customers happy). If you can’t calculate how much you earn and spend on every attracted client, and can’t clearly explain what you ‘re doing to improve it — you’re in danger. In case of crisis your product will be the first to cut costs and reduce headcount.

Good article for further reading

Skill 2: Tell and sell your vision

There’ll always be skeptics around you. They will ask questions and challenge your ideas and approaches. So be ready not only to defend your product strategy, but evangelise and, if you like, build your brand.

Get yourself to the point where team doesn’t afraid to question your decisions, but trusts and believes in you. Otherwise you’ll be spending most of time proving your competence, not thinking about product.

Skill 3: Prioritise fiercely

If you’re in a startup, you can’t not set priorities, because your resources are scarce. If you work in a large company with steady cashflow, you can get caught in a trap of running in too many directions.

It feels like you have enough resources to do it all, but in the end your team will get only mediocre results, exhaustion and low morale. I love Jeff Patton’s metaphor of goals like asteroids — if you try to hit too many, you are buried under tons of small details and obstacles lurking behind them.

Check this Quora thread to pick your own prioritising technique, and make sure you apply it frequently.

Skill 4: Stay hungry and break the rules

I know that you’ve possibly heard that 1000 times already. But it IS important not to get mind obesity when you work in a perfect office with nice people, schedule’s flexible, and your impact on business is vague.

Remember Silicon Valley’s episode with “Big Head” hanging with other Hooli employees, getting huge salary and doing nothing? Of course it’s a joke, but with a solid part of truth. When you’re get too comfortable, you either become lethargic, or put yourself to corporate intrigues.

If you feel lazy, find likeminded guys around you, brainstorm an idea that you believe in and give it a try. Let it be your beloved pet-project.

© Michael Lynch

All thoughts above come from my personal reflections. I’m always happy to hear another points of view, so feel free to comment. :)




Yet another PM

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Dmitry Taranov

Dmitry Taranov

Yet another PM

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