Where will the product manager be in 3 years time?

Where do you, as the Product Manager, see yourself in three years time?
I always find this question challenging: the pace of product management and technology is moving so fast that it would be quite difficult to predict where or what today’s product manager would be doing in three or five years time. However here are a few thoughts that may help you answer the question and put you on track for a prolonged and fruitful career as a Product Manager
Stress on seeing yourself as a successful Product ManagerI’ve always liked this quote from Allan R Cohen book “The portable MBA in Management”

“…the meaning of success has also changed for most people. No longer do people think of success in terms only in vertical terms (for example in terms of promotions). Increasingly, people define success in their own terms, measured against their own particular set of gaols and values in life. We call this psychological success. The good thing about success from the individuals point of view is while there is only one way to achieve vertical success (that of moving up), there are an infinite variety of ways of achieving psychological success.”

Applying horizontal success to Product Management
The Product Manager could apply philosophy of horizontal success by talking about:
  • Becoming or continuing to master a range of technologies that are applicable to his/her market and product.
  • To be known as the Product Manager that successfully launched a number of innovative products into the market place.
  • Broadening your product portfolio and entering new markets.
  • Taking on more responsibilities and mentoring junior product managers
Achieving the above and being formally recognised for it is also known as lateral promotion acording to Promoting to a new employer
"The lateral promotion is where, because of your increased knowledge, skills or experience, you earn more pay but do not get a managerial position. Many companies have realised over the past decade that one way to keep their personnel happy is not to make them supervisor, manager, partner or vice president, but to pay them better for being good at what they do. It's a simple way of rewarding - and keeping - valuable employees without putting extra strain or a new life on them."
It’s important not to give the impression (or have the idea) that you’re using the company only as a stepping stone to becoming the “Head of Product Management” or promoted to being the “Group Product Manager.”
Be sure to persuade the interviewer that you are able and ready to add value to the company and the product range(s) you will be managing before you give any impression on having a desire to climb the corporate ladder.


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  3. I've looked at the salaries of product managers here in LA. The job is being commoditized.

    It seems that McGrath wrote about profesionalizing the field. There is an effort to credential as well following the PMI approach. This pretty much means grandfathering people in and keeping others out, and driving salaries into nowhere.

    The direction that technology takes us, just means that we will continue to learn new technologies, and eventually we will fade away as individuals. Somebody else will be there to do the job.

    The job will probably turn into an application, so everyone will have a product manager in a box sitting on their desks.

  4. Very interesting blog to someone who's been in Product Management...

  5. Product manager I've worked for didn't dwell on the underlying technologies. Today, product manager is just a promotion for a programmer. It isn't the same job it was back then. And, the pay isn't as good either.

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