What pathway would you suggest a PM aspirant to follow?
Hello All ,
We are super excited to do an AMA Session with Mr. Jai Srivastava, ** Former APM @ Quick Ride** on How to Crack APM Roles today at 6 PM.
Looking forward to this session .
I never truly understood for user personas are made it how they work, could you please shed some light on that?
Can you please tell how to approach guesstimate questions in product interviews?
And any resources to practice them?
So as you’d know, a good PM is basically good at 4-5 different skills - Design/UI/UX, Business Understanding, User Empathy, Data Analytics (if not hands on, then at least know what metrics to measure), Technology. So as long as you can develop these skills in any way/role, I think you’re on your path.
But personally, I feel being an entrepreneur/building a side-project is the best way, because you’re doing the exact job that you’ll be expected to do (which I feel can make you a better candidate than developing these skills in parts).
However, if that’s not possible, due to time constraints, then develop a T-shaped skillset, where you’re very strong in 1 thing (ideally within Design or Tech IMO), and have a good idea of the others
So whenever you build a Technology solution, it’s a good idea to build it for a specific section of people only, because it’s hard for any company apart from a very large company, to do everything for everyone. Hence, you pick a certain type of people you want to serve, and you pick their pain points.
Now to build a good product for these people, you need to really be in their shoes and see their life from their perspective. For this, they need to feel like real people with real emotions, needs, wants, frustrations, hopes, etc… So in order to deeply empathize this these core users, you build personas, which are imaginary - though realistic - people who would be using your product.
Once a team agrees on a persona, it gets really easy to be on the same page while making design or business decisions as a company, and hence is a great tool for speed of product development, developing the right features and ultimately having good business outcomes.
Let me know if that completely answers your question!
I think there are various frameworks, but I follow the one I found in ‘Cracking the PM Interview’, which is basically this:
- Be very clear on the exact problem statement (hence ask questions if you have to)
- Make an equation which gives you the answer of your guesstimate.
- Dive deeper to find each variable in the above equation, and substitute it back
- Think of edge cases not considered (maybe you’re over-counting some things, or missing cases - note them down at this point)
- Do the math, put back the numbers in point 2 & 4 above.
- You should have an answer. Do a sanity check (it can be 2x-3x higher/lower, but not a magnitude difference ideally)
I think there’s analytics vidhya having some guesstimates, https://thepminterview.com/, and the 2 evergreen books - Cracking the PM Interview & Decode & Conquer
@Jai_Srivastava if you had to suggest 1 book for acing interviews, would it be a book like Decode and Conquer, or a book like inspired?
Yeah that made it clear!
Hello @Jai_Srivastava ,
I am from a non-tech background , and I am interested to pursue Product Management . What tech skills would I need to crack an APM role? And what are the best resources to learn them from ?
I haven’t read Inspired, so not the right person to answer this
I think Decode & Conquer and Cracking the PM Interview is all I’ve read (for interview prep). For learning, there have been other books too. I guess to crack the interview, a mix of both is needed, you can’t not know about either of them. So I’d say read books specifically for Interview Prep too, if not to practice, then to just get some idea what all questions interviews can contain.
But it’s important to read books/articles/watch YouTube/podcasts or any other way which suits you to get a very strong feel of what Product Management is. That way, you’ll be able to take out of syllabus questions from the above 2 books too
Data is always good I think for APMs/PAs. Hence SQL & Excel is good to know (Python & Tableau will only help, but pretty optional in my opinion. If you’re interested and have time, go ahead!).
Other than, there’s a CS50 for Business Professionals MooC on edx by Harvard. I really liked it, set some basic concepts straight.
Would recommend Gaurav Sen’s playlist on System Design on YouTube.
And here’s a great article I found on Tech for PMs, which I think has a lot of leads on where to learn from - https://productcoalition.com/technical-fluency-for-a-product-management-role-360c29da5995
Got it .Thanks a Lot !
However, some really good concepts to learn initially will be:
- How the internet works
- APIs & their applications
- Knowledge of what is backend, frontend, middleware
- Ability to give rough estimates on time needed for any feature
- A little about databases
- (Not a concept) Maybe (and this is optional) code a little in your free time, just to get a feel of how coding really is (& hence relate better with your engineers)
Considering I am preparing for both management consulting interviews as well as APM interviews. What are the striking differences in the interview processes ?
So I think the main difference in the roles is that Product Management is very hands-on and execution based, whereas Consulting is (and this is based on a 6-month internship only, so don’t trust me too much on this) something you do a little from the outside - you’re never an active part of the org and hence execution and ownership of solution is not expected from you. And due to these differences, there’s difference in the interview as well.
Common stuff in interviews/job - Business Knowledge, Structured Problem Solving (Guesstimates), Case Studies
- Case Studies are quite actionable - you’re asked how you’ll actually solve a problem (not sure if it’s equally actionable in consulting)
- Design & Tech: Won’t be there in consulting (Analytics might be)
- Interviews can be quite interactive - You keep getting new info from the interviewer (if you’re asking questions), and you keep incorporating it. So more collaborative (again not sure about consulting here)
- I think you’ll be judged a lot more on you well you can work with others too. In consulting too that’s the case, but not sure if it’s as collaborative and cross-functional as Product.
Basically, in my opinion, in a PM interview you should work towards a practical solution at all times which is really executable, and think about everything from understanding the problem to structuring how to solve and then practically thinking how to solve in real life. I feel in consulting the execution part may be less stressed upon, hence maybe you should keep the difference in mind before you appear for the interview.
Understood ! Thank you so much @Jai_Srivastava for taking out your time and elaborately answering all the questions!
Thank you @likitha.madala for having me! It was great answering all of y’all’s questions.
Everyone here, please feel free to ping me on LinkedIn if I can help with anything else too
And good luck for the APM interview
Hello Sir, I have completed my undergraduate in computer science. I would request you to please advice me on how should I move into technical product management field