Evolving As A Product Manager.

Satyajeet Salgar

Director of Product Management at Google



"I got some advice very early on in my career - there's a big difference between twenty years experience and one year's experience twenty times. I will often think back on jobs I have done a year prior and think of how I would do things differently based on the lessons I have learned over the course of a year. This is a sign of growth."

Actions taken

"Sometimes you will learn about very actionable product skills, while at other times you will learn how to manage people in a more effective way. Having a desire to grow is extremely important for a Product Manager. You need to feel like you are getting better. Figuring out the one or two things you need to change or the practices you need to adjust is really important. How effective you are at leading a team is very rarely linear. One of my former managers had a graph that showed impact as an s-curve. You'll make a small impact for a very long time and then you'll figure out the job and how to be effective and your impact will grow suddenly. I've observed this with a lot of my product managers - they'll work out the gear they need to shift into and they will suddenly be dramatically more effective as Product Managers. A lot of my Product Managers have transitioned from other job functions, such as engineering, into product management. They will start with the skill-set they have developed from their other roles and will then add the other required skill-sets. The most effective of my Product Managers are able to use their background and the things they are passionate about to make a difference in their role. For example, we hired someone for another team who had a fantastic background in running experiments. We put him in a UX-based role but didn't think there would be much overlap between the new job and his previous role. However, not only did he do the UX part of his role really well, he changed the team's culture so they would run experiments to get data and improve the UX. He ended up bringing the team to levels we never expected."

Lessons learned

"Evolving to be a successful Product Manager requires you to find the right gear to switch to. However, you'll be even more successful if you amplify the experiences, interests, and background you have and use these things in your role as a Product Manager."

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Satyajeet Salgar

Director of Product Management at Google

Leadership DevelopmentCulture DevelopmentCareer GrowthSkill Development

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