TPM to PM transition

I am currently a TPM at a big company and have two questions for the group:

  1. The work I do is pretty engineering/systems-focused. How did you make the jump from TPM to PM? What was the major shift in skills/thinking required to make the jump successfully?
  2. Where have you all found the most success in finding remote PM roles? Would you recommend remote PM, or do you prefer to have a face-to-face relationship? In whatever city I move to, should I look for a role-based there?
  1. Are you doing more delivery work? Our PMs typically focus more on the discovery/product strategy work and working closely with designers and UX. Think customer journey, user interviews, analytics. Another layer is the focus on validation - how do you validate that your idea or problem is one worth solving for. However, if you head to a smaller company, I’m sure the lines between the two roles are much less distinct and you shouldn’t have a problem getting a PM role.
  2. If I’m a newish PM, I’d probably opt for in-person if possible (at least some). A huge part of PM is relationship management – which is hard for me to do remotely – but if you feel you’re good at that then I wouldn’t worry too much. I would look for roles everywhere, including in the city you’re moving to since that opens up more flexibility in finding the right fit for you.
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  1. How do you define delivery work? Today, if I’m honest, I don’t do much of your PM’s responsibility. I’m a lot more invested in refining our stack and making the platform/infrastructure better. I understand PM is an intentionally vague role. How do you recommend people work fleshing out skills on the customer journey and user interviews
  2. Makes sense to me. I may not end up in the biggest tech market, so I think I need to be flexible.

I hear you on the ambiguity! It’s less about the actual work and more about the frameworks/process you use to get there. For example, how do you choose how to refine your stack? Is it metrics-based? Is it because of complaints?

Delivery is focused on building. In pure agile, it’s usually a Product Owner’s role, but in many orgs that falls under a PM’s responsibilities as well. What processes are you using to build? Is it scrum/kanban? Are you using sprints? Are you doing retrospectives and demos? Are you writing user stories and acceptance criteria?

As ambiguous as PM is across many companies, at true product organizations the role is quite defined and we expect our PMs to be able to do very specific things and manage a very specific type of work.

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