What is the best way to break into Product Management?

I've been entertaining the idea of a career change over the last year, and Product Management is an area that interests me greatly. I'm just not entirely sure how to move across without damaging my existing salary to extensively, and also without knowing how transferable my skills are. How did you move into Product Management?


Hello Aidan. I was recently featured on a panel at General Assembly for an audience looking to make a career shift towards product management. In 2014 I moved from a marketing / user engagement role at a software startup to product management. The transition is still fresh in my mind.

Based on the experience on your LinkedIn profile, it seems like you would be well-equipped to make the switch. You have a technical background, experience with generating team outcomes and strategic direction.

I think the challenge you face is not whether you have the right skills and resources, but rather how you would like to apply them. Product management is broad and so is your choice of employers.

It would be great to jump on a call to get a better context of your situation so I can give you specific tips on how to put your best foot forward.

Answered 6 years ago

I did it gradually by beginning to do the things product managers I worked with did. One task and skill at a time while I was in a role in an adjacent team. That also helped me see which skills were transferable, in some cases skills other product managers didn't have.

What those skills and tasks are depends how you define the product manager role you want. Product Management can mean many different things depending which industry and company you're in. It covers a broad spectrum from deeply technical roles to more marketing and sales oriented ones.

Answered 6 years ago

Hi Aiden, although I am not specifically a Product Management guy, I am a business development guy that has left his corporate job to create a small business so I can share with you my experience from that perspective. The first thing you should begin to do is ultimately attempt to consult others on a part time basis. In this fashion, you would ultimately learn how to sell your services, learn from any feedback you receive good or bad, and adjust your sales pitch accordingly. If you wanted to start from the perspective of setting up a company, one website I recommend to organize your thoughts into a "Lean Launch Model" would be

From the perspective of where you would find the leads, LinkedIn is the most amazing B2B platform and with the right targeting of keywords to find the decision makers in the companies that may need your consulting advice and the development of a template, you can easily send out messages that are customized to your connections and generate opportunities in which you can pitch what you have to offer. It works for nearly every service offering too, so long as you strategically target those who would be interested.

In summary, start part time, organize your business thoughts via, and use LinkedIn as your primary driver of business development. Hope this helps!

Answered 6 years ago

Spent 7 years in Sales earning great money. Slowed down to raise a family and moved into Marketing. Realised the mental stimulation for me was greatest in Product and Category Management. The sales background and foundation was invaluable. It helps if you can see the big picture. This course might help

Answered 5 years ago

Hi Aidan.

Lots of good answers here:

Also, I had a PM guest post their experience on my blog:

You'll have to see what works in Australia. There's a PM consultancy called Brainmates in Australia, led by Adrienne Tan. You could contact her to get the take on things in Australia.

Answered 5 years ago

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