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Getting Started in Product Management

Getting Started in Product Management

Product Management is suddenly a very HOT career!

But, what is a product manager? How can I get started? What makes a product manager, successful?

These slides speak to my personal experience in the job over the past...um...20-some years. Also, I'm building products for developers and users who are comfortable with Data and SQL - so some of my advice may differ based on your industry/vertical.


August 12, 2022

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  1. Product Management An obsession with customer satisfaction and figuring stuff

    out as I go Jeff Smith Distinguished Product Manager Oracle August 9th, 2022
  2. whoami Jeff Smith Distinguished Product Manager- Oracle Database Tools Tweets

    @thatjeffsmith Blog: https://www.thatjeffmith.com 2 Copyright © 2022, Jeff Smith (that)
  3. Agenda ➢ About me ➢ Product Manager: What? ➢ My

    Secrets to Success ➢ Users: Research & Personas ➢ Bonus Tips: Social Media & Blogging 3 Copyright © 2022, Jeff Smith (that)
  4. Disclaimer: This is MY story 1. Oracle Logo & Branding,

    but this is MY personal story and advice 2. There are MANY paths to becoming a product manager 3. There are many types of product managers 4. Oracle has more than 150 product managers on our Database product What I am, what I do – may or may not reflect others’ experience. 4 Copyright © 2022, Jeff Smith (that)
  5. 5 Disclaimer #2: These slides aren’t like my usual presentations

    • I use slides with as few words as possible • I let my voice do the main communication • Too many words on screen are a DISTRACTION • But this deck is optimized for online viewing, so you’re going to see my dialog, on-screen (no notes) Copyright © 2022, Jeff Smith (that)
  6. How I came to be a product manager ➢ 2

    years support/SYS Admin ➢ 4 years 2nd level support ➢ 1 year product specialist ➢ 1 year PM ➢ 4 years PreSales ➢ 11 years back in PM ➢ 18 mos, managing PMs This entire time, working with Oracle DB and Oracle Tools! 7 Copyright © 2022, Jeff Smith (that)
  7. Wait, why the move from PM to PreSales and Back?

    • Moved into PreSales to get paid • An excellent ‘accident’ – I learned SO much in PreSales • More listening • Personalizing pitch for each customer based on their needs • 500+ reps a year of doing demos/presentations • But got tired of Sales, and then Kris Rice rescued me back into PM ☺ 8 Copyright © 2022, Jeff Smith (that)
  8. 10 Why is this suddenly a hot job title? Appeal

    #1: make an impact on the technology that empowers our daily lives. Copyright © 2022, Jeff Smith (that) Appeal #2: doesn’t require an affinity for programming.
  9. 11 What is a Product Manager? • NOT a product

    owner (SCRUM) • You are the GLUE that brings marketing, support, sales, and R&D together to build and deliver product • You’re not in charge, but you are critical to the product’s success Copyright © 2022, Jeff Smith (that)
  10. 12 The Reality • Product managers aren’t god • Lots

    of responsibility but little control Copyright © 2022, Jeff Smith (that)
  11. 13 The Cats • Development Specs, UI/UX review, roadmaps •

    Support Hot cases, training, knowing what customers want/need I do a weekly call with my Support teams • QA Training, are they testing the right things • Sales Training, collateral, setting up customer calls • Marketing Marketing knows marketing – not your product, guide them! • Customers Always talking, making sure they’re successful. Relating their journey and experience with everyone above. Copyright © 2022, Jeff Smith (that)
  12. 14 Types of Product Managers First, it’s telling where a

    company PLACES product managers…marketing? R&D? A separate department? • INTERNAL – behind the scenes, extremely close to R&D, legal, contracts, support, etc. • EXTERNAL – Always talking to customers. You may be the ‘Face’ of the product. Me? I do both, but I have amazing INTERNAL partner that allows me to concentrate on the External (Thanks, Ashley!) Copyright © 2022, Jeff Smith (that)
  13. 15 We’re the glue, but we have no power? WTH?

    Our powers are steeped in: • Influence EARNED over time, gained by trust • Experience Critical to earn that influence • Customer The more interactions, the greater experience Copyright © 2022, Jeff Smith (that)
  14. 16 Secret #1 to My Success Copyright © 2022, Jeff

    Smith (that) I’ve been hard-wired to chase down questions/problems and answer/solve them.
  15. 17 Secret #2: 6 Years spent in Customer Support •

    Listening figuring out what a customer is trying to say • Troubleshooting breaking down a problem • Communication the art of delivering bad news – EMPATHY! • Sharing keep marketing, sales, and PMs updated on what customers are doing • Helping the 1 & the Many publish solutions for MANY customers Copyright © 2022, Jeff Smith (that)
  16. 19 • Walk what you talk • Live in your

    tool • Read the docs, fix them, write them • Trick: Write a tutorial/Record a Video I find so many bugs and UX issues this way ! Secret #3: If you can, BE THE USER Copyright © 2022, Jeff Smith (that)
  17. 20 Personas, why? Copyright © 2022, Jeff Smith (that) •

    MOST developers ARE NOT USERS • We don’t know as much as we think we know • Keep ourselves honest A persona can be just a few paragraphs! Writing these can put us into a different headspace – leads to insight/discovery!
  18. 21 Our Mantra on the Database Tools Team Build for

    the 80% use cases Copyright © 2022, Jeff Smith (that)
  19. 22 Live where your users spend time StackOverflow see what

    devs are asking/using/doing Twitter talk, relationship building, share LinkedIn: sharing YouTube: where people go to LEARN Reddit: a public sewer, but I keep an eye on it Discord: give your users a place to hang out Facebook: I gave up on it b/c requires $$ for access to your fans Forums: see StackOverflow Copyright © 2022, Jeff Smith (that)
  20. 23 Bonus / Overtime – Getting into a PM Career!

    • Become an asset • Become known • Go from ‘winning a deal’ or ‘closing a case’ to – building solutions to help people avoid the problem in the first place • Get a job in support! Copyright © 2022, Jeff Smith (that)
  21. 24 Bonus: Social Tips! Blogging • Just write • Write

    some more • Keep writing • Write for YOU • You need more pictures YouTube • Shorter Videos! • If necessary, use chapters • Embed in blogs, share on Twitter and LinkedIn • I aim for content > production Social Media • People don’t click links • Tell your story & catch eyes – Animated Gifs • Be you, see Personal Branding Personal Branding • Only you can do you • Be brave • All work, no play…yuck • Share, share, share Copyright © 2022, Jeff Smith (that)
  22. 25 Recommended Follows & Resources • Mark W. Schaeffer Marketing

    and personal branding god • Pragmatic Institute PM training/certs ($$) • How to Win Friends and Influence People MUST read from Dale Carnegie • Oracle Peeps My Twitter List Copyright © 2022, Jeff Smith (that)