Apart from startup CEO, I’m yet to see a role that forces you to wear as many different hats as the PM job. At any given point you’ll wear:
- the brainstormer hat: when you need to bring creativity into the mix
- the project manager hat: when you need to find the critical path for delivery
- the marketeer hat: when you need to explain what the market wants to hear
- the coach hat: when you need to take the people around you to the next level
- the janitor hat: when you need to clean up the mess to make sure nobody slips
- the writer hat: when you need to transmit your thoughts into a cohesive storyline
- the researcher hat: when you need to discover what the problem really looks like
- the mayor hat: when you need to rally everyone into getting somewhere together
- the tester hat: when you need to make sure what the team promised to deliver fits the bill
- the firefighter hat: when you need to put out fires that are keeping everyone from progressing
- the union leader hat: when you need to defend your squad or roadmap against bad decisions
- the psychologist hat: when you need to listen, ask questions, and help everyone get to the right answers
- the strategist hat: when you need to decide what is the next best opportunity that will get the product there
And none of these come in a product manager’s job description. It’s just part of the role. And if wearing any of these doesn't excite you, it’s not the job for you.
PS: a tip to anyone looking to either jump into product or grow as a PM is going to someone whose full-time job is actually wearing one of the 👆 hats, and inviting them for a 30 min conversation to answer 3 questions:
1. “What did you wish you learned earlier in your career?
2. “What is the one thing that helps you do your job better?”
3. “What is the hardest part of your job and how do you handle it?”
Abstract their answers to your (product) world, and you’ll be equipped like no one else.