A decade ago, I transitioned from being an engineer to a product manager and one of my biggest learnings is that developing a product mindset can be beneficial to any role, not just product management. In my opinion, product mindset is a combination of multiple skills such as empathy for customers, ability to clearly communicate customer needs (verbally and mentally) and having a data-driven approach towards defining actions, setting goals and measuring outcomes. These skills can be practiced in any position, such as, sales, customer support, engineering, marketing or product management.
Now, I’d like to address the second part of the question about ideas for transitioning to product management. While there is always the conventional approach of pursuing the MBA path, I chose the unconventional path for myself and here are some suggestions based on my learnings -
In summary, one can practice and benefit from building a product mindset in any role, not just product management. My top recommendations for transitioning to product management are i) explore shadow and assist opportunities, ii) join cohort-based courses and ii) find opportunities to volunteer as a PM for local communities, businesses, organizations or startups.
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