It is common knowledge that it is not required for product managers to major in one specific field.
A product manager may have studied finance, business or some other related field of study. But, how do product managers learn how to manage products?
Companies want their product managers to have years of experience and expert knowledge of the profession.
The question is, how do you acquire this knowledge?
5 Ways to Learn Product Management
In 2023, as with any other field, you can educate yourself through books and the internet.
Here are 5 ways you can learn Product Management by yourself:
1- Educational Youtube Videos, TED Talks, Podcasts
Although they don’t count as legitimate training, Youtube videos, TED Talks, and podcasts are valuable resources used by many to self-educate.
The best part? They are completely free.
You might have a hard time finding TED Talks specifically on product management, but there are many talks on design, innovation, marketing, and business, which are the core elements of product management.
I think the first and very best TED Talk to watch is Simon Sinek’s talk on “How great leaders inspire action”.
This talk was performed a decade ago, yet it is still relevant. Simon Sinek talks about leadership and inspiration, which are qualities every product manager needs.
If you think you need something more informative and pragmatic and don’t want to pay too much money on courses, you can watch videos on product management on YouTube too.
Some channels, such as Product School, uploads videos on product management every day. What makes it even more worthwhile is that they host product managers of famous companies.
If you are not so keen on watching videos and more of a podcast person, Product School is again here to cover you. You may want to take a look at the Product Podcast.
2- Follow Famous Product Managers
Most of us use social media every day, it’s not only a great way to keep up with the world but also find articles, news, and valuable content on product management shared by famous product managers.
My personal favorite is Paul Jackson’s account @pivotservices. He posts and retweets great articles on product management regularly.
You can also follow Ken Norton, who worked as a PM at Google, Julie Zhuo, a former product design manager, later director at Facebook, and Hunter Walk, a former product manager at Google.
By doing so, you not only get familiar with the professionals but also make your social media feeds more educatory and beneficial for yourself.
Here’s our list of the most successful product managers to follow in 2023.
3- Read Product Management Books
Do you know what people who are the most successful and knowledgable in their fields do?
You can find dozens of books on product management. If you learn your lesson right, you can even write one yourself one day.
In my opinion, the best book for aspiring product managers or associate product managers who are trying to get the hang of it is the Product Book by Product School (written by Josh Anon and Carlos Gonzalez de Villaumbrosia). It is a guidebook for product managers filled with practical advice, best practices, and expert tips.
Another bestseller that makes it into every blog and article is Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love by Marty Cagan.
It is a very credible one because Marty Cagan is the founder of Silicon Valley Product Group and if you are not going to believe what he has to say on product management, then who are you going to believe? It is a book mainly concerned with tech products and why only a handful of products succeed.
“You will find that there’s a very big difference between how the very best companies create products and all the rest.”
4- Read Articles and Blogs Every Day
Business is ever-changing, so is technology.
No information stays relevant for long. We need new, updated articles every day. An aspiring product manager must keep up with business and technology, just like a regular product manager.
There are tones of blogs and articles on product management published daily, but it is important to follow a reliable one.
Apart from its YouTube channel and infamous the Product Book that we recommended above, Product School also has a blog. They publish articles on not only product management but also marketing, data analytics, coding and blockchain that you can filter through on the website.
Another blog you can follow is, of course, the UserGuiding blog. With articles on product, UX design, user onboarding, and growth published regularly, we aspire to guide you into business and technology.
You can join our newsletter here.
5- Take Training Courses and Attend Events
After reading books, seeing videos and following blogs, it is time for some hands-on training. If you want to have a career in product management that leads you to the top as a product manager, it is in your best interest to take a training course.
Apart from experience in the field and a related bachelor’s degree, a good company may ask for a product management certificate.
Here are the product management courses out there to get a certificate from.
To have an opportunity to meet product managers all around the world, conferences are the best way. You can get to meet them in person, learn from the professionals and talk to the next generation of product managers.
One of the most famous of the product conferences is Productcon, held by Product School. With 5 conferences held every year and over 1000 companies attending, it is also the largest.
Conferences are great, not only because you get to talk about product management and listen from the professionals but also because it provides network opportunities.
Another valuable resource everyone in product management should follow is the Virtual Product Summit by Product School, which was lastly held on March 19.
As UserGuiding, we were a proud sponsor of the Virtual Product Summit and we have shared the talks and the slides here.
Even after your junior product manager days, remember that there is always space for improvement.
Never stop improving yourself, although, you may not want to do the same for your product, as the New York Times author David Pogue says; “If you continue to improve a product enough, you’ll eventually ruin it.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is a Product Manager?
A Product Manager is someone who is job is to manage every aspect of the product from development to customer service, ensuring the product’s success.
Why is Product Management important?
As Product Managers ensure the internal teams of a company are aligned under the same vision, they maximize the chances of a product’s success.
How can I learn Product Management?
You can educate yourself on product management by watching videos, listening to podcasts, reading books, attending events and courses, and by following blogs and famous PMs.