Transition from Webmaster to Product Manager via Project Management

Daniel has over ten years experience working with on-line products in various capacities. He currently works for Reed Business information as a Product Manager for the aerospace product range.

1. What’s your academic background/training?I have a degree in politics - [which has got to be the ultimate qualification for a job in Product Management].

2. What did you do before you where a product manager?I was a Webmaster and then a project manager
3. Where did you work before you worked for Reed Business Information (RBI)?
Local goverment

4. What inspired you to become a product manager?In truth – it was the next logical step in my career at RBI.

5. How did you make the move from being a project Manager to becoming a product manager?
As a project manager I managed one or more projects and then handed the results over to someone else. I preferred to take complete ownership of the lif cycle of the product– something I didn’t get as a project manager – gradually the department expanded and opportunities arose and I naturally made the transition.

6. What do you like best about your job?The challenge and creativity involved in working with new technology and using these technologies to break new grounds and therefore offer increased a better user experience and ultimately with increased business benefit.
7. What do you least like about your job?The unpredictability and risky nature of working with new technology!

8. How do you keep up with the latest technologies?Google reader – RSS means that I can browse an incredible amount of information remembering it and using it is now the problem!

9. Describe your PM job in one sentence.I’m an online consultant to my business, translating business requirements into technical solutions in order to deliver business growth.
10. What’s your dream product to manage?Probably a Google product or a football website.
11. How would you describe managing product development before you/your company adopted agile?
Chaotic and prone to conflict – we didn’t get much done and we agued about it a lot.

12. How has using agile (scrum) changed your working day?
My day now has order & structure and as a result it has freed up the time I need to do the more important aspects of my job that was previously being neglected.

13. What would be the top three attributes you need to do your job?
Good communication skills, be a good motivator, be a diplomat and degree in politics.
14. What’s the key attribute you need in order to work with the development team?
See my answer above. It’s easy to stereotype developers and say they present a particular challenge. In reality, they’re just like everyone else, every individual and team is different with their own strengths and weaknesses.
15. What do you do when you’re not managing products (outside interests)?
Sports, films and books.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting how many PMs come from a social science background (myself included). I don't think that's accidental. Use cases, for example, often feel like the anthropology of "knowledge workers" in the modern workplace.

    --Tom Grant
    Senior Analyst, Forrester Research
    (Focused on product management)