Product Management Guide


This is my guide to Product Management for new and experienced PMs. It’s a list of resources for learning product management, landing a product management job, interviewing for a PM role, and getting paid properly as a PM.

TOPICS

  1. Interviewing
  2. Product Management
  3. Business Strategy
  4. Metrics & Analytics
  5. User Design
  6. Software Development
  7. Coding
  8. Development & Processes
  9. Classes
  10. Groups & Organizations
  11. Salaries

Above is a photo I took from Harry’s Ridge at Mt. St. Helen’s National Volcanic Monument.


Interviewing

The key to interviewing is practice, practice, and practice; in-person is ideal and feedback from an experienced product manager is more ideal. Get comfortable with ambiguity, whiteboarding, metrics, presenting, and summarizing. Get all your stories ready in STAR format (e.g. how you work with engineers, how you handle conflict, the best product you shipped, the biggest impact you’ve made, etc.).

  • The STAR Method: How to answer behavioral interview questions
    • Situation: What was the situation/background/context?
    • Task: What did you have to do? Goal?
    • Actions: What did you do?
    • Results: What happened? What were the results?
  • CIRCLES Product Design Framework: Framework to use for answering product design questions by Lewis C. Lin
    • Comprehend situation (what/who/why/how)
    • Identify the customer
    • Report customer needs as user story: As a X, I want to X, so that X
    • Cut, through prioritization – ROI estimate
    • List solutions
    • Evaluate trade-offs (thoughtful, analytical, objective)
    • Summarize recommendations (recap, why this solution over others)
  • AARM Metrics Framework: Analytics framework to use during your product design questions by Lewis C. Lin
    • Acquisition:
    • Activation:
    • Retention:
    • Monetization:
  • Stellar Peers: Provides people to practice PM mock interview with anywhere, anytime
  • Exponent – PM Interview Course: PM interview prep courses by Exponent
  • Lewis Lin’s Blog: Lewis C. Lin’s blog

BOOKS

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Product Management

Product management is about identifying the problem, understanding the customer, and delivering customer value by being the voice of the customer.

VIDEOS

ARTICLES

BOOKS

BLOGS

PODCASTS

  • StartUp: A podcaster tries to do a start-up from scratch

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Business Strategy

BLOGS

BOOKS

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Metrics & Analytics

If you want to be a product manager, I recommend you learn SQL. It’s just faster to pull your own data. Anyone can learn basic to intermediate SQL in a week or month.

ARTICLES

  • https://www.mindtheproduct.com/everything-a-product-manager-needs-to-know-about-analytics/

SKILLS

TOOLS

BOOKS

  • Lean Analytics: The book lays out practical, proven steps to take your startup from initial idea to product/market fit and beyond. By measuring and analyzing as you grow, you can validate whether a problem is real, find the right customers, and decide what to build, how to monetize it, and how to spread the word.

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User Design

User Experience / User Interface / Human Centered Design. Good UI and good UX is invisible; you don’t notice if it’s good but you notice when its bad.

Books

User Research

https://www.epicpeople.org/accelerating-user-research/#.XbtIlEVKh24

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Software Development

Videos

Online Resources

System Design 

Basic Topics

  • Computer Science:
  • Software Engineering: Preventative medicine
  • Hardware: Physical stuff that makes up a computer
  • Software: Code that machines run
  • Bits/Bytes: What machines can read (binary 1s and 0s), 8 bits is 1 byte
  • Big O (in CS): Tight upper bound of an algorithm that displays asymptotic behavior of time and space for an algorithm as n grows larger
    • Ignores programming language of the code and machine the code runs on (hardware)

Algorithms: A set of instructions or series of step that a program can run on a machine to complete a task, Measured by Correctness (solves a problem) and Efficiency (optimize time and space)

  • Sorting Algorithms:
  • Searching Algorithms:
    • Linear Search: Examine one item at a time in a line
    • Binary Search: Halving items each time in a sorted list
    • Depth-first Search:
    • Breadth-first Search:
  • Routing/Path-Search Algorithm: Nearest insertion algorithm
  • Recursive Algorithms:
  • Graph Algorithms:
  • Compression Algorithm:
  • Optimization/Scheduling Algorithm:
  • Rendering Algorithm:

Data Structures: How to organize data (array, list, tree, graph, heap)

  • Recursion:
  • Program:
  • Architecture:
    • Object Oriented Design:
    • Service Oriented Architecture:
    • Microservices:
    • Orchestration:
  • Application: Application software is a program or group of programs designed for end users.
  • Service:
  • Protocol: A set of
  • Client:
  • Server: A computer with server software running on it
  • Databases:
    • RDMS
    • NoSQL
    • SQL
  • Resources:
  • Cloud: Someone else’s computer besides your own
  • Networking: A group of
  • Internet: LAN, WAN, ISP, Switches
  • World Wide Web:
  • IP:
  • TCP/IP:
  • OSI Layer Model:
  • HTTP:
  • HTML:
  • Machine Learning: Algorithms that give computers the ability to learn from data and then make predictions and decisions
    • Classification Algorithm
    • Data Science:
    • Artificial Intelligence:
    • Deep Learning:
  • API: Application Programming Interface, the agreed upon standard and format for pieces of software to talk and interact with each other
    • What is an API? (3 minutes)
      • Application Programming Interface: something that allows one software to talk to another softwareLike a waiter, communicator/messenger takes the request and delivers a response. how one service interacts with, applicatsion, databases, and devices to deliver data and connectivity,  another service,
        • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YcW25PHnAA – REST API
        • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-BpqyOT3a8 – REST API
        • contract between 2 pieces of software – structured request and structured response, formmated in this way, response, waiter between running software
      • How one
      • REST API – twitter, google,  representational state transfer, graph api, ma
        • make a call from client to a serverand you get data back over HTTP protocol
        • parameters filter data
        • typically always HTTP to format, json
        • call the server ,call the resource resource
        • restful/rest samr
        • architectural style for designing networked applications
        • treats server objects as resources that can be created or destroyd
      • HTTP – foundation of the communication of the internet, browser is making HTTP request to server, HTTP is the most used
        • Get is most common, browser is going to server URI
        • Post request- filling out web form, (get and post on web form), add a user to the database/server
        • Put – update a , request ot an endpoin, ID for resource (blogpost/product), server needs to know which one you want to update, ajax/
        • Delete – delete specified resource on a server, let server know what you are deleting, delete that user
        • head – reutrns head info/option – see supported http methods/patch updating partial resources
        • URI/URL is where api/service can be accessed by client application
        • Types of requests – atuh
        • pagination, requesitng a certain amount, users/repository, 100 per page, certain pagination, 100 per page,
        • how to get users
        • postman/apo
        • array of user objects, information with sepcific user,
        • API rate limit exceeded, register oauth application, register application, client ID and client secret – include as a parameter
      • Public/Open APIs –
      • you need to register the app
      • Purchase the data access
      • basic data structures
      • Authentication is OAuth, getting an access token with, unauthorized error, 100 requests per hour, won’ t be able to fetch the data,
      • Curl to transfer data, for multiple protocals including HTTP, send token as parameter,
      • Patching
      • SOAP API – API Standard
      • API vs Endpoint
        • Endpoint: Address to access the API
      • Types of APIs
      • Web API
        • Web application (client side)
        • Waiter is
      • https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2018/01/understanding-using-rest-api/
      • HTTP Request methods
        • Get – consume data
        • /Post – writing data to API, put the data in the body of the request, add headers – send a tweet out to API,
        • concept of authentication, Oauth, Oauth2 – clientID and client secret, access token,
  • JSON – key value pairs, json array
  • Working with engineers
  • Agile Development
  • Mobile vs Desktop
    • https://www.tops-int.com/blog/which-programming-languages-are-used-for-web-desktop-and-mobile-apps/
    • https://learntocodewith.me/posts/cross-platform-apps/
    • https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/289979/why-isnt-programming-mobile-apps-more-similar-to-programming-desktop-applicatio
  • XML vs JSON
  • Cluster
  • Frameworks
  • Git, Github, Gitlab
  • Github: https://octoverse.github.com/
  • Events vs Logs
  • Idiomatic or idiosyncratic
  • Idempotent
  • Race conditions
  • DevOps
  • Kubernetes
  • Docker
  • Synchronous vs Asynchronous
  • Languages vs Framework
  • Front-end vs Back-end Development
  • https://conceptainc.com/blog/difference-front-end-back-end-development/ (article)
  • https://skillcrush.com/2017/02/27/front-end-back-end-full-stack/ (article)

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Coding

Product managers don’t need to know to code; however, it is extremely helpful to know how to code to better communicate with developers.

Example front-end programming languages are HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. “Front-end” means user interface. Front-end developers work on what the user can see.

Example back-end programming languages are Python, Java, PHP, C#, C++, Shell, C, and Ruby. “Back-end” means the server, application, and database that work behind the scenes to deliver information to the user. Back-end developers build the infrastructure that supports it.

Books

Articles

  • Learn to Code?: Should product managers learn to code? It doesn’t hurt.

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Development & Processes

  • Methods vs Methodologies (4 min Medium article)
    • A method is a tool for problem solving
    • A methodology is the rationale for the problem solving approach and the lens through which the analysis occurs
  • Agile: Agile is a time boxed, iterative approach to software delivery that builds software incrementally frothe start of the project (instead of trying to deliver it all at once near the end) through the collaborative effort of self-organizing and cross-functional teams and their customer/end user.
    • https://www.agilealliance.org/
    • https://www.atlassian.com/agile
    • Agile Retrospective: An Agile retrospective is a meeting that’s held at the end of an iteration in Agile software development (ASD ). During the retrospective, the team reflects on what happened in the iteration and identifies actions for improvement going forward.
    • Agile Project Management: Estimation
  • Agile Software Development
  • Scrum (an agile framework): Scrum is an agile process framework for managing complex knowledge work, with an initial emphasis on software development.  softwaredevel Is a software development methodology
  • https://www.scrumguides.org/
    • What is Scrum: Brief intro with videos
    • Sprint planning is an event in the Scrum framework where the team determines the product backlog items they will work on during that sprint and discusses their initial plan for completing those product backlog items.
  • Kanban: Kanban is a visual system for managing work as it moves through a process. … Kanban is a concept related to lean and just-in-time (JIT) production, where it is used as a scheduling system that tells you what to produce, when to produce it, and how much to produce. Kanban is a popular framework used to implement agile software development. It requires real-time communication of capacity and full transparency of work. Work items are represented visually on a kanban board, allowing team members to see the state of every piece of work at any time. https://www.atlassian.com/agile/kanban
  • Story Points: Story points are a unit of measure for expressing an estimate of the overall effort that will be required to fully implement a product backlog item or any other piece of work.
  • Kaizen: Kaizen is a concept referring to business activities that continuously improve all functions and involve all employees from the CEO to the assembly line workers. Kaizen is the Sino-Japanese word for “improvement”.
  • Lean: A methodology focused on maximizing customer value while minimizing waste, aiming to creating more value for customers with fewer resources. Developed in Toyota, the Lean approach is a set of tools that assist in the identification and the steady elimination of waste.
  • Six Sigma: Six Sigma is a set of techniques and tools for process improvement. It was introduced by American engineer Bill Smith while working at Motorola in 1980. Jack Welch made it central to his business strategy at General Electric in 1995. Six Sigma is a disciplined, statistical-based, data-driven approach and continuous improvement methodology for eliminating defects in a product, process or service. … Six Sigma can also be thought of as a measure of process performance, with Six Sigma being the goal, based on the defects per million.
  • Lean Six Sigma: A combo of two Continuous Improvement methods—Lean and Six Sigma—for operational excellence. Relies on a collaborative team effort to improve performance by systematically removing waste and reducing variation.

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Classes

General Online Classes

UX/UI Design Classes

  • SVC Seattle ($): Software Development, Web design, UX, Design/Art workshops, classes, and programs. Runs in-person on a scheduled enrollment that costs money
  • Design + Code ($): Various UI/UX on-demand courses for a subscription fee
  • Team Treehouse ($): Front end, UX, PHP, and Javascript courses. Offers a free trial with on-demand courses
  • Design Lab ($): 4-week courses in design fundamentals, UX, and UI. Runs on a scheduled enrollment that costs money
  • Skillcrush ($): Online coding and design school. Runs on a scheduled enrollment that costs money
  • Learn UI Design ($): UI and UX courses, a design newsletter, and great design blog. Runs on a scheduled enrollment that costs money

Product Management Bootcamps

Coding Bootcamps

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Groups & Organizations

  • Mind the Product: PM blog, events, jobs, and conferences
  • WomenHack: Promotes gender equality in tech and helps people get hired at companies that are committed to diversity in the workplace. Hosts a lot of free tech career fairs to meet companies, hiring managers, and HR
  • Women in Product: Empowers women in product management and advocates for equal representation. Hosts a lot of free educational events
  • Creative Mornings: Free design events via a breakfast lecture series and jobs and an amazing weekly newsletter I highly recommend

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Salaries

You don’t get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate.

  • H1B Data: H1B salaries by company, job title, location, and year verified by government data
  • Levels.fyi: Product Manager levels by company
  • Paysa Salaries: Salaries by company, job title, location, skill, and school
  • PayScale: Browse job salaries by job title, company, education, skill, and industry
  • LinkedIn Salary: Browse by job title, company, and location. Available for Premium LinkedIn members
  • Indeed Salary: Browse job salaries by company and job title
  • Built in Seattle: Browse Seattle start-up salaries by job title and level
  • Candor.Co: Salary negotiation for tech workers – try the free call before commitment

Books

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Don’t let others undervalue you. Life is too short.

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