Our newest edX Insider is Lauren, Senior Director and Head of B2C Product. Lauren is talking with us about all things product management – from her experience and insights to her best advice for learners who are interested in pursuing a career as a product manager.
Q: Product Managers are often called “Product CEOs.” Why do you think that is?
A: Like a great CEO, a great product manager acts like the owner of their product. This means that they define what success looks like, work to achieve those results by any means possible, and assume responsibility for the product’s successes and failures. Product management is exciting because it’s a role that has a significant impact on customers and the business, and it comes with a lot of corresponding responsibilities.
Q: What are the 3 most important traits of a Product Manager?
A: One trait of a product manager is simply the willingness and ability to wear many hats, but if I had to choose just 3 important product traits they would be:
- customer focus
- strong communication skills, and
- an affinity for analytics.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to people interested in looking at Product Management as a career path?
A: Product managers tend to love (and keep) their jobs. The field is in huge demand – lots of hiring and growth potential – but you always want to find ways to stand out, especially if you’re already a few years into your career and want to transition into project management. Aspiring PMs should think creatively about how to land that first role. For example, is there a project at your current job that would benefit from a self-appointed product owner? Volunteer yourself and use that to start developing your product skillset. Find a product role in a field in which you’re already an expert. Your industry expertise may help you land the role even if you have less depth in product experience. Or demonstrate that you’ve mastered the product skillset by earning a MicroMasters certificate in Digital Product Management.
Q: What’s your favorite edX course?
A: I’m excited to start the Drawing Nature, Science, and Culture course in April. I earned my university degree in Art and Science, so this upcoming course from the University of Newcastle is a unique blend of my two favorite things!
Q: What is your go-to karaoke song?
A: Uptown Funk – Bruno Mars’ music always brings joy to others, regardless of my singing and dancing capabilities.