Switching to a Product Role by Microsoft Sr PM, Ketaki Kulkarni

Are you ready for the change?

  • Why do you want to become a product manager?

  • Will you miss your current role?

  • What kind of product manager do you want to be?

Section 1: Examining your decision

  1. Start with why.

    Reflect on your reasons for the change.

    Running from your current situation or running toward your goal.

    Do an honest self-assessment.

  2. Your current role/path

    Do you feel like you will be giving up something?

    Will you miss the components of your current role?

  3. Type of product managers.

    This is a big umbrella with many different tracks.

    Room for every type of product manager.

    Leveraging your current role or transitioning to something new.

Getting ready for the Change.

  • Switching internally or changing companies

  • Beware of the titles

  • Developing transferable skills

  • Communication skills

  • Networking & Resources

Section 2: Getting ready for the change

  1. Where are you applying?

Deciding whether you want to make the switch internally or externally will play a role in preparation. You could also explore both the options.

  1. Titles galore!

Don`t be fooled by the many titles. Look for job description and understand job architecture for a role that you are applying for.

  1. Transferable skills.

Being able to talk about and cite specific examples of transferable skills from your current role that can be applied to a product role is key when interviewing.

  1. Communication.

Written communication is extremely important; especially in the hybrid world with more asynchronous communication.

  1. Networking, books, online forums/blogs, mock interviews.

Section 3: In the new role

1. Alignment

Setting expectations with your manager and developing a 90-day plan.

Absorbing the culture, rituals, and history.

Building rapport with the crew.

2. Learning

Prioritization and being able to say "no".

The underrated art of note taking.

Be curious and always open to learning.

3. Execution

Lot of time in meetings (collaboration).

Accepting that you may not have tangible deliverables day-to-day.

Looking beyond frameworks and tools.

"People think focus means saying yes to the thing you`ve got to focus on. But that`s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas." - Steve Jobs.

Ketaki Kulkarni, Microsoft Sr PM