Breaking into Product Management by Amazon Sr PM, Balaji Ananthanpillai

What, exactly is a Product Manager? 

In his book Inspired, Marty Cagan describes Product Manager as: 

What does a Product Manager exactly do? 

1. Set the vision for the product 

  • Market Research 

  • Customer Feedback 

  • Qantitative Data 

2. Evangelize the vision, spread the word 

  • Meet with different teams 

  • Talk to them about the vision and your journey that got you there 

3. Actionize to execute that vision 

  • Translate the vision into a roadmap 

  • Make 

  • Show 

  • Learn & Iterate 

Myths of a Product Manager 

  • Product Managers are mini-CEOs of their product 

  • Product Managers need a computer science background 

  • Product Management is same at every company. 

Core Competencies of a Product Manager 

Hard Skills

Soft Skills

Product Strategy


User Research/User Experience

Curiosity, Empathetic, Courageous


Time & Stakeholder Management





Product Development Process


How to break into Product Management? 

  • Internal transition within your company 

  • Finding a junior PM role in a larger company 

  • Joining a startup that has a pressing need 

  • Starting your own company. 

Additional Resources 

Some good blogs to read on how to break into product management: 

Balaji Ananthanpillai, Amazon Sr PM