Interview with a Product Manager

*What’s it like being a Product Manager?

*How do you become one?

*What attributes do you need?

*And what do you need to be able to get on with your development team?

This is the first in a series of interviews with people who have successfully moved into the Product Management arena. Matt Rowe is a Product Manager currently working in online publishing with in the chemical market.

1. What’s your academic background/training?
Australian equivalent of the British A levels which is basically a high school certificate/diploma, external courses and lots of reading!

2. What did you do before you where a product manager?
I was a business/ systems analyst (BA) responsible for specifying and implementing SQL core development and bespoke applications.

3. Where did you work before you worked for RBI?
Monster / TMP Worldwide

4. What inspired you to become a Product Manager?
I had spent seven years in the same company and had little chance of furthering my career any further. I applied for a job as a BA at the Guardian – was interviewed by a Product Manager. His explanation of what he did left such an impression on me that I decided that Product Management had to be my next job.

5. How did you make the move from being a business/ systems analyst to becoming a product manager?
Studied a few methodologies combined with a lucky break.

6. What do you like best about your job?
Seeing ideas become a reality – I get a sense of real of achievement and job satisfaction.

7. What do you least like about your job?
Not always having enough resource.

8. How do you keep up with the latest technologies?
Google (RSS) reader and pub talk.

9. Describe your Product Management job in one sentence.
Continual challenges, ever changing and always rewarding

10. What’s your dream Product to Manage?
Guardian Unlimited it’s an award winning web site. They take a common sense approach to software development – they also know how to keep things simple and effective.

11. How would you describe managing product development before you where introduced to agile?
I’ve always taken a common sense approach, so agile just reinforced this giving more structure to the SDLC.

12. How has using agile (scrum) changed your working day?
More focus on the planning.

13. What would be the top three attributes you need to do your job?
To be confident, but not cocky, focused but flexible.

14. What’s the key attribute you need in order to work with the development team?
Clarity (and a sense of humour :-) )

15. What do you do when you’re not managing products (outside interests)?
Sleeping !

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