Reflecting on your future self and becoming a better product manager

  • 18 November 2021
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At yesterday's event by Petra Wille, there was helpful information for product managers at all levels.

  • For those new to product management, she outlined ways to encourage supportive mentorship from leaders, as well as ways to take control over your career growth. Examples include finding a learning buddy, completing the product manager wheel, and sharing the results with your manager or lead.

  • For those at a more Sr. level, she shared methods for staying engaged and becoming a better leader and coach. Examples include challenging yourself to work on one new thing a year, giving yourself time to share your insight with those new to product management, and tools that you can use to become a better coach and mentor. 

Out of all the great information shared, Petra's PMwheel is the concept that gave me the most pause. This tool, which you can download here, is a "simple way to assess the responsibilities, skills, and know-how" of product managers. Leaders can use this wheel to assess product managers on their team, and individuals can use it when seeking guidance on their next steps and where there is room for improvement. 

Petra's PMwheel, coupled with her "future self" template, are fabulous tools for exploring opportunities for improvement and growth on your own, as a part of a learning community, or with a mentor. 

For example, if your "future self" is a more empowered product manager who is keeping your industry know-how up to date (I pulled this example from Petra's free download), your action items could include:

  1. Read one new product management book a month.

  2. Ask questions and actively engage with other product managers through social media channels and online communities (hey, Product Makers!).

  3. Attend 1-2 live events a year.

  4. Give yourself the time to take thorough notes, reflect on what you are learning, and share any lessons learned.

This list is a simplified example, but I hope it is helpful to see how I might apply Petra's teachings.

Now it's your turn. 

When you consider your "future self," what action items come to mind? As you work through her process, where are you feeling hesitation or self-doubt?

Please let us know if you need help working through this process. We would love to hear from you!

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