Moving from Business Analyst to Product Manager to "Online Product Manager"

Andy wicks has worked as a Product Manager in two different industries. He currently managers a number of on-line products and services across a number of markets such as road transport and Human Resources. 1. What’s your academic background/training?
I went to university to study geography, but somehow came out with a Combined Honours degree in Computer Science and Business Administration. How that happened is still a bit of a blur really.

2. What did you do before you where a product manager?
For my sins I was a Business Analyst.
3. Where did you work before you worked for Reed Business Information UK?
I worked for 2 years at Alphameric Leisure, a small software house that provided solutions to the Betting and Gaming Industry (initially as a Business Analyst then a Product Manager). Prior to that I spent 3 years working for Ladbrokes.
4. What inspired you to become a Product Manager?
In a moment of madness I thought it would be challenge!
5. How did you make the move from being a Business Analyst to becoming a Product Manager?
I tended to enjoy interacting with people more than analysis so when the opportunity arose to temporarily manage a handful of products I took it. Luckily for me the company thought I was doing a reasonable job and made the role permanent – either that or the Functional Specifications I used to write were rubbish, one of the two!
6. What do you like best about your job?
Having the ability to work Product Management with some cutting edge technologies, and being able to help deliver these to the market.
7. What do you least like about your job?
When it all goes wrong!
8. How do you keep up with the latest technologies?
Google, Google and Google
9. Describe your job in one sentence.
The art of prospering between a rock and a hard place.
10. What’s your dream product to manage?
Online - it’s difficult to say as there are loads of products I would like to manage. It usually changes day to day and depends what side of the bed I get out of! Generally any of the major sports sites would be quite high up the list. Offline - it would have to be the Bugatti Veyron (as long as the job came with one as a company car and the petrol was paid for!)
11. How would you describe managing product development before you/your company adopted agile?
Luckily I joined the company just as agile was being implemented into the department. However if the short transition period was anything to go by it was hard work without a huge amount of delivery.
12. How has using agile (scrum) changed your working day?
Overall it’s increased the number of meetings I go to significantly, however the spare time I do have is better spent. I am able to focus on developing the products and (hopefully) drive online growth.
13. What would be the top three attributes you need to do your job?
The ability to communicate, negotiate and be patient. Also, being able to keep an outlook calendar up-to-date helps!
14. What’s the key attribute you need in order to work with the development team?
Trust. Not being overly technical myself is probably an advantage as I have no choice but to trust the development team to find the best solution.
15. What do you do when you’re not managing products (outside interests)?
Answer questions about being a Product Manager and travel as much of the world as possible
16. What’s the difference between being a product manager for a small company like Alphameric and a large organization like Reed and how did you find the move from being a Business Analyst (BA) to a Product Manager?
The difference between the two is massive – Alphameric produced products that were a mixture of hardware and software for a specific industry – at Reed I’m managing on-line products and services that span a number of industries. The learning curve was steep but you just have to role up your sleeves and get in there and do the job. The challenge of moving from being a BA to a Product Manger was more a cultural change combined with self discipline – at first I found it hard not doing all the analysis myself – I seemed to periodically switch to auto-pilot and revert back to my previous BA role – the change of mind set was the challenge. Also as a Product Manger (both at Reed and Alphameric) you need to have the wider view of the business in mind at all times as opposed to being a BA where I tended to focus on defined bite size chunks of work.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Andy,

    I am a Sr. Business Analyst /PM and wanting to move into Product Mgmt. You give me hope that that this type of career move (BA to Prd Mgr) is possible. Since you were a BA, you can probably answer this best...what BA/Prjct Mgr skills do you think should/must be carried over to Product Management?. Also how are your day to day activities different from when you were a BA?