Developing as a Product Leader is a highly individualized trajectory as you might expect. This is going to be the “one size fits all” answer, but it should still give you a good starting off point. As I hear you - there are a lot of 1:many professional development opportunities out there! And much of it is not designed for your personal situation & needs.
I have always thought about skill development for past direct reports & coaching clients alike in 2 categories: soft skills and hard skills.
The hard skills are technical. For Product Leaders - things like understanding how to run statistically sound feature level experiments, creating product strategy, using product management frameworks like Jobs To Be Done, using low fidelity design tools like Whimsical and strategies for conducting user research. The list goes on and on!
The soft skills are people & relationships based. Things like learning how to influence different personality types, how to get buy-in from above, horizontally & below or how to communicate effectively to many different audiences — to name a few!
Most PMs need to level up in one of these two areas more than the other to continue to “climb the ladder”. For me, as I had been leading teams of 100+ people in Operations & Customer Experience prior to becoming a PM, there was very clearly a bigger need for me to uplevel in technical skills rather than soft skills. If you are also someone looking to transition to Product from a different area of the business or are looking to progress as an individual contributor - a few places you could get started besides Level Up as a PM by Ravi Mehta, of course:
If you’re on the other side of the coin and are instead looking to develop your ability to lead, influence & communicate my suggestions are as follows:
So in summary, understand if you are needing to develop your hard or soft skills to climb the next rung on the ladder. Once you know this, try some low & medium cost ways to dip your toes in the professional development waters. And if you are still craving more and need that personalized support - jump off to the higher cost options.
You can apply to a Guided Sprint and we’ll make sure you get the most value out of your coaching experience and being part of our community.
We want to make sure you don’t miss out on any of our free events and career resources, so follow Scale Higher on LinkedIn. Hope to see you at our events soon! 😊