Difficult to find resources for upskilling as a PM

I have attended two PM related courses to upskill myself, but was not worth of my money and time. I find some blog articles and posts much better than these expensive courses.

But the problem is it is really difficult to find some related article whenever the need comes.

Even I stopped following many influencers on LinkedIn - because they are just reposting the same content again and again, sometimes so unrelatable and so abstract.

Most of them are so generalistic.

Do you guys face a similar issue?

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What industry are you working in? What are your goals - in your current position and your career journey?

I agree with you that individual authors can be more helpful than any BS money grab “product coursework” out there.

In my experience, best upskilling resources are:

  1. Mentorship. Develop a relationship with someone you want to be when you “grow up”
  2. Practical experience. Get your hands dirty. This doesn’t have to be in a paid position, by the way: community theater, volunteering, PTA, open source contribution… heck, join a burning man camp. there are many ways to develop real world knowledge about delivering results with a given set of resources.
  3. PM is a highly contextual role. Big vs small, software vs hardware, startup vs mature, B2B vs B2C… you get the picture. Learn about the business and tech fundamentals of the specific business you are serving. Delivery insights will follow.
  4. Get that feedback. In every interaction, with people above below and sideways, end the conversation with, “is there anything else you need today?” Even if you can’t help them, now you have data. Once a week, get more specific. Ask, “is there anything else you need FROM ME?” And once a quarter, suck it up and ask, “what can I do better for QX?” Up down and sideways.

In the end, it’s not how well you adhere to a specific skill checklist that will make you good at this job. In the right environment, your unique insights will make you indispensable - but even on a great team there will sometimes be the fog of war and you’ll feel like a moron. This is totally normal.

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My understanding:

  1. Great leaders pick the right people to follow.
  2. Take risks, succeed or fail but always learn.
  3. Understand the arena you’re in deeply across all stakeholders.
  4. Be vulnerable.

Love this: “the fog of war”. Military strategy used to be highly specific to a tactical level. Now leaders set mission objectives acknowledging the fact that specific plans go to shit when the first shots are fired. You work with brilliant people; set the goal, create an environment that allows their best work to come out, get all the other shit out of their way.

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Yes I 100% agree. I wish people focused more on practical problems as examples and use frameworks or product principles to explain how to solve them.

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I find most PM courses are for beginners and they don’t really provide a practical approach to finding a solution. There are quite a few courses here on Prowess itself which can come handy for all the members of the community. Please go through them and let know what you think about them?

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Well, the issue with influencers is that, to be a good influencer you need to post with some sort of a schedule and at first, your post might be deep or well researched by your experience, but eventually, you run into a problem where you still need to post but, you already talked about your expertise. So then you have to choose if you will stick to the schedule or create good content. Usually, the first one is a more money or exposure friendly option. The second option means that you post in random moments when you actually have something to say, but then you might lose the audience while they wait for your next post.

Thus I don’t think that we can find a proper blog or influencer unless they post once every 3 months or so.

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That’s a common misconception. If the post contains original information that may help people increase their income or well-being, you may post once a year and they will still listen.

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They will, but “they” will be less. For example, YouTube right now works in a way that does not allow you to gather a large audience reliably if you don’t post regularly

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It’s true, but in a professional sphere you don’t have to rely on YouTube (or any specific channel really) to get recognized. Personal connections, blogs and newsletters go a long way here.

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It holds for blogs to extend as users either need to form a habit or will have to depend on external ways to remember about you, for example newsletters.

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Gotta optimize for the algorithm of the platform, otherwise very few will even see it, in order to realize the content is original.

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Same here. My biggest issue is finding data to practice with. Like how am I supposed to learn/practice how to analyze user behavior!

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I was recommended Reforge by a PM I interviewed under and find it invaluable. You have access to some of the greatest minds in PM.

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What level were you when you started? It really seems Reforge is good for newbies, but for professionals, its just a bunch of ex professionals building their udemy style and getting guest speakers. Strong believer of, Those who can. Do. Those who cant, teach.

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Don’t do PM courses. Learn to code or build side projects that require no code. Learn skills that increase your understanding (& empathy) of the folks around you: data science, UX, UI, software development, accounting, marketing, etc. These will also give you skills. Ideally, for a PM, you want to be launching your own products and learn from those deployments, IMO.

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I have seen a few friends use 1:1 PM coaching and they have felt that it was super helpful for them, mostly due to that fact that when its 1:1 you get the exact help that you’re looking for and can sharpen the skills that you need.

I know Leland is a good resource for finding PM coaches! But I agree with some of the other comments that you need to identify what you’re looking for and what you want to improve first. Then you’ll have a better idea of how to reach those goals.

Best of luck!

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I find going to product talks / conferences and meet ups to be really effective. The meet ups and talks are usually free and you tend to pick up one new idea per event. Great way to socialize and make connections too.

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Here’s what worked for me:

  1. Get mentoring:
    If there are good PMs in your Org, see if you can setup monthly 1:1s to help you grow. If not, check out sites like adplist.org, you can setup calls with experienced PMs for free
  2. Read alot of books:
    Some of the books that helped me upskill as a PM are - The Mom Test, The Lean Startup, Super Thinking, Rework, Hooked.
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The reason courses won’t work is because you cannot apply them in real life. I have gone through this experience myself. I took Coursera courses on management (marketing, finance, supply-chain) and couldn’t apply the learnings in the startup (it was an execution heavy role). But, after I got a job at FAANG, I was able to apply most if not all learnings from that course.

The best way I have learned is to apply to a role for that you are under-qualified. So, if you’re at the L4 level, apply for L6 or above. If you’re L6, apply for L8/M2, etc.

If you can’t get that at work, side projects can help elevate your skills. However, it might degrade your work-life balance.