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From Developer to Product Manager: The Hard Parts

From Developer to Product Manager: The Hard Parts

I have been working as a front-end developer for ten years. In 2018 I changed my role after spending a few years working closely with product managers. It was something I liked and was already exploring back then. In these slides I share the main three problems I struggled with during the transition.

This was presented on March 31 at a Codemotion Webinar.

Fernando Agüero

March 31, 2020
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  1. From Developer to Product Manager
    THE HARD PARTS

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  2. Front End Developer Product Manager

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  3. A podcast where we look at how
    tech companies work from the inside.
    inprogressshow.com

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  4. t
    Outline
    2. Owning the why
    1. Understanding what to do
    3. Deciding what to build

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  5. t
    Outline
    2. Owning the why
    1. Understanding what to do
    3. Deciding what to build

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  6. t
    Outline
    2. Owning the why
    1. Understanding what to do
    3. Deciding what to build

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  7. Where should I
    start from?
    1. UNDERSTANDING WHAT TO DO
    $_ whoami

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  8. 1. Tactical
    2.Operational
    3.Strategical
    Types of
    Work Done
    By a Product Manager

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  9. 1. Tactical
    2.Operational
    3.Strategical
    Types of
    Work Done
    By a Product Manager

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  10. 1. Tactical
    2.Operational
    3.Strategical
    Types of
    Work Done
    By a Product Manager

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  11. 1. Tactical
    2.Operational
    3.Strategical
    Types of
    Work Done
    - Remember it as “TOS”.
    TIP:
    By a Product Manager

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  12. Tactical
    Strategical
    Tactical
    Types of work done
    Operational
    Short-term activities like:
    - Scoping work
    - Crunching data to decide what to build next
    - Work with developers and designers

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  13. Operational
    Connecting strategy and tactical work:
    - Roadmaps
    - Aligning teams
    Strategical
    Tactical
    Operational
    Types of work done

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  14. Strategical
    - Positioning the product and the company.
    - Planning long-term.
    Strategical
    Tactical
    Operational
    Types of work done

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  15. Easy?
    Types of
    Work Done
    By a Product Manager

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  16. The Waiter
    The most common
    type of PM
    CEO requests
    Sales requests
    Marketing requests
    Customer requests

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  17. How these types of
    work map to my
    current position?
    The PM
    Career Path

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  18. Associate PM
    50% Strategic - 50% Operational
    The Career Path
    PM
    Senior PM
    Director of product
    Manage people
    VP of product
    CPO Chair in directive board
    Product line
    First level of people management

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  19. Is everyone on the
    same page?
    2. OWNING THE WHY

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  20. • You main job is to explore, define and
    communicate why you should build it.
    Owning the why
    • You main job is not to tell your team
    what to build.

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  21. How can I own “the why”?

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  22. Focusing on the
    problem instead of
    the solution
    OWNING THE WHY

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  23. • Our brains love to think in terms of solutions.
    Focusing on
    the problems
    • When someone is talking about the problem
    using solutions, your job is to get to the root
    of the problem.

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  24. Focusing on the problems
    Problem exploration
    User research
    Understanding the context
    around a problem to form a
    better solution to solve it

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  25. Focusing on the problems
    Solution exploration
    Problem exploration
    User research User testing
    Understanding the context
    around a problem to form a
    better solution to solve it
    • MVP = learn
    • Showing a prototype
    • Running experiments

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  26. Solution exploration
    Problem exploration
    User research User testing
    Understanding the context
    around a problem to form a
    better solution to solve it
    • MVP = learn
    • Showing a prototype
    • Running experiments
    WARNING
    Focusing on the problems

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  27. Solution exploration
    Problem exploration
    User research User testing
    Understanding the context
    around a problem to form a
    better solution to solve it
    • MVP = learn
    • Showing a prototype
    • Running experiments
    JUST GUESSING
    Focusing on the problems

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  28. Solution iteration without problem exploration

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  29. Communicating
    the why
    OWNING THE WHY

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  30. Communicating the why
    There is not better way to
    understand the problem that
    to see the user frustration it
    with your own eyes

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  31. Communicating the why
    Invite the rest of your team
    to your sessions and calls
    with customers

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  32. When you put yourself in your users’s shoes

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  33. Use templates to keep
    the why in the front line
    Communicating the why

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  34. Notion’s Product Spec Template

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  35. Notion’s Sprint Template

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  36. Once we understand the why, we
    need to connect it with the what
    Communicating the why

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  37. Why + What
    =
    Shared understanding
    Communicating the why

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  38. Story
    Communicating the why

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  39. Story
    Communicating the why

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  40. Story
    Communicating the why

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  41. We agree!
    Story
    Communicating the why

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  42. Shared documents
    is not
    shared understanding
    Communicating the why

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  43. There is no perfect way
    of writing stories
    Communicating the why

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  44. Using
    Story mapping
    Communicating the why

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  45. Story mapping consists of ordering user
    stories along two independent dimensions:
    activities and implementation
    Communicating the why

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  46. Image from manifest.co.uk

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  47. Try story mapping with your team when
    designing a complex feature or flow
    Communicating the why

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  48. Are we using our time
    the best as we can?
    3. DECIDING WHAT TO BUILD

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  49. • There are frameworks we can use to
    decide what to build: benefits mapping,
    Kano model, etc.
    Deciding what
    to build
    • We need to be aware of doing
    only components optimization.

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  50. Deciding what to build
    Features
    Strategy
    A strategy is on top of features,
    it’s focused on goals and vision
    Feat. 1 Feat. 2 Feat. 3 Feat. N

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  51. Deciding what to build
    Features
    Strategy
    A strategy is on top of features,
    it’s focused on goals and vision
    Feat. 1 Feat. 2 Feat. 3 Feat. N
    Feat. X
    Nice to have
    Feat. Y
    Just a small thing ®

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  52. Deciding what to build

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  53. Image from the article “The Product Kata” by Melissa Perri

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  54. Deciding what to build
    Image from the article “The Product Kata” by Melissa Perri

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  55. Book Recommendations

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  56. Escaping The Build Trap
    MELISSA PERRI
    How effective product management creates real value

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  57. Inspired
    MARTY CAGAN
    How to create tech products customers love

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  58. Make Time
    JAKE KNAPP & JOHN ZERATSKY
    How to focus on what matter every day

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