Anand KumariMarch 29, 2022

Careerpath of Product Manager

Junior, Middle, and Senior Product Manager

Like any other IT profession, Product Managers can be Junior, Middle, and Senior. But what are the differences?

Junior Product Manager is an entry-level position that doesn’t require much experience. It can be less than a year of working at any position in a development team, for instance, as a designer or coder. The responsibilities of these positions are the main PM duties and tasks but on a smaller scale than the whole project. For instance, he or she can be responsible for a certain product area, e.g., interface design, or work on a whole project but a small one. Basically, it is an assistant role for a more experienced PM who delegates some parts of their work.

Basic requirements/features of a Junior position:

  • Knowledge of the basics of product management, i.e., roles, definitions, frameworks, understanding of the hypothesis testing principles, etc.
  • Ability to create and follow templates/scripts. For instance, conduct an interview using a script or create a script using a template.
  • Good communication skills.
  • Ability to identify and satisfy the need of a certain user or an interested party.
  • Being able to help the team meet the sprint deadlines.
  • Knowledge of Five whys (or 5 whys) is an iterative interrogative technique;
  • Knowledge of techniques for prioritizing the backlog.
  • Knowledge of quality metrics.
  • Knowledge of analytics basics;
  • Knowledge of teamwork frameworks (Scrum, Kanban).
  • User Story Mapping.

Middle Product Manager is a position that requires at least half a year to one year of experience in PM position. For instance, it can be acquired in a big company working on a side-project. It is the next step after Junior position which means that it has more duties and tasks, i.e., more areas of responsibility, bigger products.

Basic requirements/features of a Middle PM position:

  • Responsibility for the whole product or its major part, formation of backlog, i.e., the amount of work that should be done, setting up the roles for is implementation, etc.
  • Ability to develop the project from the start till the end based on the provided Key Performance Indicator (KPI). For instance, a set KPI can be to increase the online store conversion by 3% in the next quarter.
  • Ability to identify the needs of the segments and solve them. This implies an ability to work with a large audience, determine its needs and propose solutions to create a product that will satisfy them.
  • Ability to make an estimate of the potential revenue and optimize the costs. He or she is also responsible for Unit economics calculation and budget allocation within the team.
  • Experience working with the marketing team to ensure the delivery of the value to the end-consumer. It implies the creation of a promotion plan.
  • Interaction with other departments, e.g., support, logistics, etc.
  • The planning horizon is 3-6 months.

Senior Product Manager is a team leader who leads and controls Middle and Junior PMs. To become a professional in the field and be able to undertake a Senior position, you need to have at least three years of experience working as Senior Product Manager

Basic requirements/features of a Senior PM position:
  • Expertise in the industry for which the product is created.
  • Decision making about the development of new products, expansion to the new markets, segments;
  • Experience in management of major service or product line;
  • Ability to create and defend a product development strategy in front of the owner, top managers, shareholders, strategic committee, takes part in strategic sessions.
  • Ability to build product processes, select frameworks.
  • Expertise in managing budgets for the entire product, teams.
  • Planning horizon is more than 6 months. It implies identifying trends, new segments and markets, planning product placement base on the analysis of the competitors, etc.
  • Knowledge and practice custom metrics, use Pyramid of Metrics, NSM (North Star Metric).
  • Knowledge of Competitive Intelligence.
  • Deep understanding of analytics and statistics, the ability to make long-term decisions based on them.
  • Knowledge of scalable hypothesis testing processes with minimal investment of money/time.
  • Deep knowledge and understanding of monetization and business models