Discovering Product Manangement

It’s coming on two weeks at my work semester at Indigo. As I said earlier, it’s a very different type of work and experience than I’ve had before at Sybase or Bell Mobility. It’s almost purely technical and the office has a startup-y feel. There are low cubicle dividers, a Wii in a meeting room and people are very interactive (not to mention young).

There’s a very tight schedule for the project I’m working on and the team is burgeoning to deal with the seemingly endless requirements and very limited time. I haven’t been able to put in as much time as I would have liked due to the horrible commuting situation, but I should be moving into a condo this weekend, giving me much more work flexibility. I’m going to need it.

I was out at lunch with some co-workers this past Wednesday and we got on the topic of a dream job or dream ‘thing’ we wanted to do. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m certain most of them are very happy with their positions at Indigo, but let’s be honest, very few people are in their ‘dream jobs’. Some of those dream jobs probably aren’t even reasonable! Regardless, I mentioned that I had (and still am, to a degree) considered switching to business or finance. Surprised, one co-worker asked me what my reasoning was. Everyone he knew pursuing business in university was there because they didn’t know what else to do. So to hear of someone wanting to switch into the program was a little puzzling to him.

As a result of the question, I had to verbalize my somewhat vague thoughts on the matter. I’ve worked in both technical (Sybase) and business (Bell Mobility) positions and I think I enjoy the type of problem-solving involved with the business position more. It’s that joy of looking at and working with the market, anticipating the needs of customers, and developing requirements that drives sales that floats my boat.

And with that response, he replied, ‘Oh, so you want Jordan’s job’. Note: Jordan is our group product manager. 🙂

Perhaps that is what I’m after. Product management has always been an obscure title. What does it really mean to manage a product? I think the best description (in my mind) takes the idea of people management my dad described to me (building a platform on which people can be productive) and applying it to a product (building a platform on which the product can be successful in the marketplace). That involves developing requirements based on market information, guiding development to meet those needs, and then monitoring the product in the market and adjusting its attributes to evolve according to evolving user requirements.

Well, isn’t it ironic I needed to work in a completely development position to really understand product management…


2 Replies to “Discovering Product Manangement”

  1. he replied, ‘Oh, so you want Jordan’s job’

    Who doesn’t want a promotion :). And your definition of product management seems about right from a production/marketing stand point.

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