Wonder why PMs are not on the OpenAI's career list

This observation is particularly intriguing given that OpenAI has reached Series F in its funding. It raises the question: what strategic reasoning might there be behind this hiring approach?

Would like your opinions on this please.


Over the last year, I have seen a decrease in PM jobs. I’m not sure whether it’s because scrum and “being agile” are becoming less common in businesses, or if project management is becoming more and more integrated with product owner responsibilities, as many PM jobs are simply reimagined as such. Something is changing.

It may also be possible that companies are opting to outsource project management roles or utilize project management software instead of hiring full-time PMs. This shift in the job market could be indicative of broader trends in the industry towards more streamlined and efficient project management practices.


It is disheartening to go through a thorough interview process at a big corporation only to be informed that they have found a better candidate after reviewing your references. When the hiring manager has already expressed positive reviews, this experience can be devastating. This situation raises questions about how companies handle their hiring processes, including their decision-making strategies.

Similarly, the observation that OpenAI is not recruiting for product managers (PMs) despite reaching Series F in its funding raises curiosity about their strategic reasoning behind this hiring approach. It is intriguing to explore why a company at such a stage of funding would choose not to prioritize recruiting for certain key roles like PMs. This situation prompts further inquiry into the decision-making processes and priorities of companies, shedding light on the complexities of hiring practices in different organizations.


There’s an increasing demand for Principal Product Manager roles, targeting individual contributors (ICs) with over a decade of experience. The trend of managing oversized organizations with mid-level PMs seems to be declining. Businesses are seeking seasoned builders who are hands-on and have a proven passion for technology, rather than those who pursue opportunities solely based on an MBA. It appears we’re shifting back to a standard where the ‘nerds’ and ‘geeks’ are the fundamental value creators.

This shift in focus is evident in the job market, with more companies looking for individuals who have a deep understanding of the technical aspects of their products. The emphasis is now on finding product managers who can not only lead a team but also roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty when needed. This return to valuing technical expertise is a refreshing change from the previous trend of prioritizing managerial skills over technical know-how. As the industry continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how this shift towards technical proficiency shapes the future of project management.


Bluffers are indeed out; you’ve hit the nail on the head. And yes, rolling up your sleeves is necessary to survive, which, from my perspective, is not a bad thing at all. In today’s competitive market, companies are realizing the importance of having product managers who can truly understand the technical aspects of their products. This shift towards valuing technical proficiency is not only beneficial for the success of projects but also for the overall growth and innovation within the industry. It shows a return to a more hands-on approach to project management, where practical skills are valued just as much as leadership abilities. This shift may lead to more efficient and effective project teams in the long run.


I concur, although the term “opportunist MBA” did strike a chord with me. My background is in civil engineering; I upskilled, earned an MBA, and it was only then that HR considered me for this industry. Prior to my MBA, despite leaving my job to pursue projects, I encountered no success. However, post-MBA, I began to see value and opportunities unfold. The job market in our country is fiercely competitive, and there’s no room for mere showmanship, regardless of whether one is a PM, a developer, or in any other role. Moreover, I’ve been part of startups where a 90% tech-origin workforce led to a narrow-minded approach that threatened the company’s success. They had the technical aspects right, but as you might agree, being an experienced manager, user research, proper positioning, and marketing are also crucial.

I merely stepped in to handle the product marketing, worked on branding, and reorganized the product backlog, which swiftly turned the business around within months.

In our country, government statistics indicate that 99% of startups fail, primarily due to a narrow mindset and an overemphasis on technology alone.

Product marketing nerds or geeks should be passionate about the products themselves, not just the technology. Fortunately for us, startups offer good pay. We start our careers with them and later transition to major MNCs that seek PMs with experience, MBAs, and certifications like SAFe or PSPO, which are currently in demand.

The opinions of college freshmen who believe technology alone can sustain a company don’t matter much. If they were correct, consulting firms would be the first to collapse.


Recently, I’ve observed senior product managers in my company transitioning into project management roles.

Large corporations often seem entrenched in traditional methods, hindering their ability to adopt Agile practices swiftly. They are burdened by an outdated mindset and top-heavy decision-making structures, which individuals may feel diminish their authority in an Agile environment. Additionally, legacy processes act as impediments.

In contrast, smaller companies typically have a central figure, such as a business leader, CEO, founder, or systems engineer, who exerts influence regardless of opposition, believing in their own understanding.

Consequently, product roles are diminishing, and the quality of products is deteriorating.


This situation also arises when companies need to address significant technical debt, undergo replatforming, and so on. A product manager isn’t necessary for a six-month database migration project. In these cases, project managers or technical leads may take on the responsibilities typically held by a product manager. This allows for a more streamlined decision-making process and faster progress towards project goals.

However, in larger companies with complex organizational structures, multiple stakeholders often have conflicting priorities and decision-making can become fragmented. This can lead to delays in project timelines and hinder overall progress. Therefore, the role of a strong product manager becomes crucial in aligning different teams and ensuring smooth execution of projects.


Various models can be implemented depending on the organizational strategy, including classic waterfall, SAP, Agile, Scrum, SAFe, Spotify, Nexus, and Large Scale Scrum.

Most large firms do not operate in a static state.

Theoretically, there is a definitive graph that guides which model to use after analyzing your business.

It hinges on the leadership’s choices regarding what models they use, when, and why.

To address your question, a product manager can manage multiple Scrum teams, dividing the end results through increments and employing classic product backlog refinement, Definition of Done, among other methods.

Leadership might opt for the waterfall model when the end goal is clear, and incremental development is less critical than fixing existing issues, directing the product manager to collaborate with the tech team on a project.

Such decision-making is what distinguishes a 50-60 year old sustainable company from a 10-year-old tech giant and a sustainable startup of 10-12 years.

In this context, someone with an MBA or business background is essential.


Between 2018 and 2022, there was an overhiring of product managers, leading companies to realize that such practices do not yield the transformative results initially brought about by product managers. The role is likely to become more challenging to enter, similar to the trend where individuals with MBAs gravitate towards product management. As the industry continues to evolve, companies are recognizing the importance of having individuals with strong business acumen to make strategic decisions.

This shift highlights the need for a diverse skill set within product management teams to drive innovation and sustainable growth in today’s competitive market. The shift towards valuing individuals with MBAs or business backgrounds in product management reflects a broader trend in the industry.

As companies prioritize strategic decision-making and long-term sustainability, the role of product managers is evolving to require a more holistic understanding of business operations and objectives. This shift highlights the importance of a diverse skill set in the tech industry, where business acumen is becoming increasingly valuable. As the landscape continues to evolve, companies will need individuals who can navigate both the technical and strategic aspects of product development.


They were hired to meet the demand spurred by COVID. However, their inadequate business planning assumed that this growth would persist. “Transformative effects” are not the sole responsibility of products. I am willing and able to transform, but it requires the rest of the company to participate as well, if they are indeed willing. This highlights the need for individuals in the tech industry to possess a well-rounded skill set that includes not only technical expertise but also business acumen. Without a holistic approach to product development, companies may struggle to adapt to changing market conditions and sustain growth.


It seems they have a clearly defined revenue path, so PMs aren’t necessary for technology application decisions. The strategy likely involves demonstrating the model through MS product integration. For OpenAI, this serves as a proof of concept. The initial version aims to offer enterprises an AI solution to replace thousands of employees at half the cost per employee. Consider a call center with 1,000 staff members, each costing $40k, totaling $40M annually. By laying off 900 and retaining 10% for escalation, while paying OpenAI $20M, a company could save $16M each year.

When they begin piloting this product, it would be wise to employ personnel to monitor customer satisfaction, although the required team size may be small.


I recently read about this; it discusses the same topic. The era of bloated project management organizations is coming to an end.


Without intending to upset anyone, I personally view the PM role as unnecessary and superfluous. It seems to be a role that has never been essential.

Consider the success stories of major companies, and you’ll notice the absence of PMs but rather individuals with a strong technical foundation. Engineers, not just PMs, have established, developed, and expanded the most prosperous businesses, such as Apple, Google, Meta, PayPal, and Tesla.

PMs often find themselves in a middle management position, caught between a larger strategic function they don’t devise but follow, data provided by other departments and universally available tools, design, which they are typically unqualified to oversee, and engineering teams they wish to command rather than collaborate with as equals.

In reality, many companies could function without a PM, as other teams are capable of continuing their operations and devising solutions independently, without PMs claiming credit for these efforts.

It might be best to let researchers and engineers lead the way at OpenAI.

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