Why did we make this guide?

There are few roles that are as misunderstood as that of the product manager.

One day, you’re the (very) busy lead designer at your company when someone who pays you throws you the following curveball:

"Hey, would you mind mapping out our product priorities for the next 6-12 months?"

This is not something you know how to do. You have many questions, like “Wut…?” And “How? When? Huh? Will this affect my lunchtime?” But you can’t say no, can you?

The fact is, you probably won’t say no. You’re ambitious, smart, a total go-getter, and very good at what you do. You’ll graciously accept this terrifying new task that you in no way feel prepared for. And in doing so, you’ll quietly join the ranks of the “accidental product manager,” a fate so common that there’s an entire online community dedicated to it.  

At ProdPad, this is the most common thing we hear from product managers: that they became product managers by accident. Usually, they’re highly skilled in another discipline - whether as designers, developers or support - when they’re shortlisted to essentially head up the product itself. And as you may know, the product is the business.

Though this is an amazing step forward in your career (hey, somebody trusts you enough to let you steer), you may not feel ready for it. That’s totally normal. No matter where you came from, the role of a product manager looks very different from what you were doing before.

Well, that’s why we’re here.

We made this guide to help you prepare for your new product manager role. What you learn here will help you plan a product your users want, trust, and rave about.

It’ll mean sharpening some new skills along the way. If you’ve always been a doer, you’re about to become a thinker. If you’ve always made “gut” decisions, you’re going to need to get more data-driven. If you’re used to following orders...well get ready to think like a leader.

Together, let’s explore the incredible product you can create just by starting with this one question:

What problem are you trying to solve?

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