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The surprising skills that help you succeed in your product management career as you get more senior

by
Jackie Bavaro
Medium
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The career path of a PM requires adaptability, as well as a broad set of skills that you may need to pick up on the job.

Career growth within a role is about increasing scope, complexity, autonomy, and impact

  • Master the skills to deliver excellent work at your current scope and you’ll show you have what it takes to take on the next level

Career growth isn’t always fun — you need internal strength and confidence

  • As you take on more complex and ambiguous work, there’s no longer a clear right answer

Partner on your career goals with your boss

  • Frame the conversation as future-looking
  • The goal here is for your boss to think you’re coachable and open to feedback

Build trust deliberately

  • No matter how good you are at your job, you won’t get more responsibility if people don’t trust you
  • Judgment
    • Unpack why you’re making choices and share that framework
    • The best way to build up trust in your judgement is to be right most of the time
    • As you build up a reputation for great judgement, you’ll find good opportunities coming your way
  • Avoiding Surprises
    • Make sure to communicate early & often
  • Execution
    • Writing up your plans and making checklists can help people gain confidence in your execution

Learn how to get things done at your company

  • The point of the rules & processes is to get great work done, and if they’re getting in your way, you won’t get points for letting them slow you down

Connect your work to the Company Strategy and Articulate an Inspiring Vision

  • Don’t invest a huge amount of your energy into things that your leaders don’t think are valuable
  • Two ways to fix this
    • Shift the work you’re doing towards more valuable work
    • Reframe your work and explain to the company leaders why the work really matters

Make sure people across the company *want* to work with you

  • Collaboration is incredibly important for all PMs, and especially as you become more senior

Pick up great Side Projects

  • Side projects are a huge factor in accelerating your career growth
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