Transition to PM role from within the same company

For those who transitioned into a PM role within the same company… what’s been your path/approach? Did you shadow a PM first?

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I am an accidental PM that transitioned into a PM Role within the same company. I moved from analyst positions to being responsible for our team’s analytics products for sales (internal data products). I eventually felt a desire to work with customers and never looked back. My experience enabled me to confidently apply and land a customer-facing role (despite the lack of customer-facing experience, I picked up that skillset on the job).
Separately, I’ve mentored developers interested in PM and some signed up for shadowing/rotation, which is really fantastic for them (and for me). They get to learn about the role while working on a real initiative. I provide them with a couple of templates and frameworks and meet with them weekly to review their progress. At the end of the engagement, they present out their work to my manager and their current manager. For me, I get tested on my knowledge of PM fundamentals while helping others, its very rewarding. One of my mentees recently accepted a PM role at another company (with a raise).

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Thank you @Nathanendicott . When you say you provide them with couple templates and frameworks - templates I understand (strategy, PRD, vision/mission etc) …what do you mean by providing frameworks? frameworks on problem solving?

I transitioned into PM from a customer success engineering role but I think the principles are the same.

  • Crush it at your current role and make sure your current management has reason to support this move for you
  • Build relationships with folks in the product organization especially leadership so you have potential mentors and when opportunities arise they will have you top of mind
  • Lean into product management where possible - this could mean volunteering for opportunities to collaborate with product (for me, always working with customers and understanding their technical challenges meant that these projects naturally arose), or it could mean as you suggested shadowing…or helping do the grunt work a little bit as a way to get exposure and foot in the door
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Awesome post, and very valid points. Thanks @Marco

Great Question @marioromero yes, the focus is on problem solving… I like to focus on customer/user understanding, problem statements and forming hypotheses. For someone starting out, in my industry (semiconductor hardware/software), I like Customer Discovery Frameworks. With regards to templates, I like the template that General Assembly provides in their Intro to PM Crash Course, its simple and effective (I am sure there are others).

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Started in design. After about 2.5 years was invited to join product management to work on our next product. Was fortunate to work in an multidisciplinary environment where I and a few other members of the design team regularly interacted with a variety of groups from business development, sales, marketing and marcom, legal, customer interface, customer care, as well as product management, software development, hardware development, testing, and manufacturing. We did the typical design work (user research, interaction design, prototyping, design studies, usability, design docs, competitive analysis, and working closely with industrial design); but we also were involved in trade shows, customer demos, product naming, product packaging, in box material, marketing collateral development, etc. A great deal of this interaction was a result of us establishing bridges to those groups. As a result, we were able to establish credibility, become known to other groups and key leaders, i.e., get exposure to the product mgt director. In summary:

  1. strong foundation in user needs.
  2. key role in defining, shaping, and creating the product.
  3. interacting with other functions.
  4. getting involved with the ‘whole’ product.

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