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2022
07-26

在没有技术背景的情况下找到产品管理的方法---Finding your way in product management without a technical background

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Breaking into a product management career when you do not have a technical background can seem intimidating if not impossible. Yet, Product management is at a crossroads between many different domains and is a career path where soft skills count as much as hard skills.

In this article, I’ll dive into what is really behind the best way to embrace a product career if you do not have a technical background.

在没有技术背景的情况下,闯入产品管理这一行似乎是令人生畏的,如果不是不可能的话。然而,产品管理恰恰处于许多不同领域之间的十字路口,是一条软技能与硬技能并重的职业道路。

在这篇文章中,我将深入探讨如果你没有技术背景,那么拥抱这个职业最佳方式背后的真正原因。

What do we mean by “technical” anyway?

我们说的“技术”到底是什么意思?

Since product managers work a lot with developers, we could easily think that to get such a position, you need to have a degree in IT, or be an engineer, or have a background as a dev/quality assurance/data analyst/IT project manager/consultant before, if not all of the above. Those examples are what we will refer to as “technical” in this article. After all, to discuss with the devs you need to be able to speak and understand their jargon right? Luckily, not really, or at least, not entirely.

由于产品经理经常与开发人员一起工作,我们可以很容易地认为,要获得这样的职位,你需要有IT的学位,或者是一名工程师,或者之前有开发/质量保证/数据分析/IT项目经理/顾问的背景,当然,以上并非全部。在本文中,我们将这些示例称为“技术性的”。毕竟,要与开发者进行讨论,你必须能够理解他们的行话,对吗?幸运的是,不是真的,或者不完全是这样的。

Product management is at the crossroads of different jobs that are not necessarily “technical”

产品管理处在不同工作的十字路口,这些工作不一定是“技术性的”

Thinking that you need to have a technical background to be a product manager would be narrowing down the profession to simply liaising with the technical team. It’s not. After all, Product management starts with listening to your users and making sure you are solving the right problem. It’s about coordinating with your sales team, your customer success team, and informing your stakeholders. It is also about managing your budget/P&L and your KPIs. None of the listed above requires technical skills and yet, they are a huge part of product management.

如果你认为你需要一个技术背景来成为一个产品经理,那么你就会缩小职业范围,只与技术团队保持联系。它不是。毕竟,产品管理要从倾听用户开始,并确保解决了正确的问题。这和协调你的销售团队,你的客户成功团队,并通知你的利益相关者有关。这也和管理你的预算/损益表和KPIs有关。上面列出的这些都不需要技术技能,但它们却是产品管理的重要组成部分。

Sure, product people can be former engineers, developers, QAs, data analysts. But they could be as much coming from a business analysis, project management, customer success/support, consulting, sociology/academics background. Those are just examples but the truth is that your background can be anything… because what matters the most when embracing such a career are your soft skills.

当然,产品人可以是前工程师、开发人员、QA、数据分析师。但他们也可能来自商业分析、项目管理、客户成功/支持、顾问、社会学/学者背景。这些只是例子,但事实是,你的背景可以是任何东西,因为当你从事这样的职业时,最重要的是你的软技能。

Be clear on your soft skills

明确你的软技能

Organization, proactivity, and communication are probably a great base you want to rely on. Product management is about dealing with multiple stakeholders, all with their own expertise on different topics, at the same time. While you are presenting one feature to the devs, you are probably also working on your communication plan with the marketing team, you might be testing some design mock-ups on a different project with users, gathering feedback from client-facing teams, and answering questions on the roadmap to other internal people from your organization. Multiple things happen at the same time. You need to know where you are going and what to do next. It’s also important to follow up on who is doing what and when they will be done. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and this is where the need for organization is key.

组织、主动性和沟通可能是你想依赖的一个很好的基础。产品管理就是要同时与多个利益相关者打交道,他们在不同的领域都有自己的专长。当你向开发人员展示一个特征时,你也可能在与市场营销团队致力于沟通计划,你可能在不同的项目中与用户测试一些设计模型,从面向客户的团队中收集反馈,并向组织中的其他内部人员回答有关路线图的问题。很多事情同时发生。你需要知道你要去哪里,下一步要做什么。跟进谁在做什么以及什么时候完成这些工作也很重要。人们很容易感到不知所措,这就是组织的关键所在。

Being strict with your organization is what allows you to also be proactive. Proactivity is about knowing when to jump in, knowing what is this extra thing you could also do to help the product and your team. It’s about tackling things before they become urgent. It’s about volunteering to perform things now that will then help in the future. Of course, sometimes, you will have to be “reactive”. An issue could occur such as an unplanned bug or a tricky unexpected client situation. We don’t have super powers after all. What matters is to have enough visibility to know—to the main extent—what’s coming, and be able to organize around this.

严格要求你的组织也能让你变得积极主动。主动性是指知道什么时候该投入工作,知道你还能做些什么来帮助产品和团队。它是关于在事情变得紧急之前把事情处理好。它是让你现在自愿去做一些将来会对你有帮助的事情。当然,有时候,你不得不“被动”。可能会出现一个问题,比如计划外的bug或棘手的客户端意外情况。我们毕竟没有超能力。重要的是要有足够的可见性去知道——主要范围是——将要发生什么,并能够围绕它组织起来。

Finally, communication is key. What to communicate when, to who? Being organized and proactive is what will lead you to be a good communicator. Sales, success, support team needs to know what’s in the pipeline, but with your help, they need to be clear on what to communicate and what to NOT YET communicate to clients and prospects. Communication is what will allow you to build trust with your stakeholders, give the company visibility, clear information and direction.

最后,沟通是关键。什么时候和谁交流?有条理、积极主动会让你成为一个好的沟通者。销售、成功和支持团队需要知道正在进行的工作,但在你的帮助下,他们需要清楚与客户和潜在客户沟通哪些内容,哪些内容不需要沟通。沟通能让你与利益相关者建立信任,给公司可见、清晰的信息和方向。

In addition, I could have mentioned the need to be curious.Curiosity is what will make you try to understand more about your user’s experience, what is happening with the competition, and what type of innovation you need to pay attention to.

此外,我还要提及需要好奇心。好奇心会让你更多地了解用户体验,竞争对手的情况,以及你需要关注的创新类型。

Educate yourself!

教育你自己!

The product world comes with its own jargon based on agile methodology, prioritization framework, a lot of structure and tools, that help you “be organized”.

产品世界基于敏捷方法,优先级框架,大量的结构和工具而有自己的术语,这有助于你“被组织”。

To educate yourself on what a product cycle is, the type of agile methodology that exists,  what prioritization frameworks are, would be the bare minimum you need to do, to at least get an idea of the world you are entering. Those names are nothing less and nothing more than processes created to help you run your product. The same that helps you be organized and proactive. And guess what? There are so many blog articles, websites, youtube videos, and free resources online that help you get acquainted with it.

要让自己了解什么是产品周期,现有的敏捷方法的类型有哪些,什么是优先级框架,这些都是你需要做的最起码的事情,至少要对你将要进入的世界有一个概念。这些名称只不过是帮助你运行产品而创建的流程。这也能帮助你变得有条理、积极主动。你猜怎么着?网上有很多博客文章、网站、youtube视频和免费资源可以帮助你熟悉它。

Unless you haven’t noticed, since the beginning of this article, at no point were “real technical” things discussed. Because here is the thing. It’s more about knowing “technical things” related to your product than it is about knowing technical things in general. Throughout your first weeks and months, you will get to understand the technology stack your tool is using and the type of tech debt you might be facing.

除非你没有注意到,从本文开始,我们就没有讨论“真正的技术”问题。因为事情就是这样的。你更多的是了解与你的产品相关的“技术问题”,而不是了解通常而言的技术问题。在最初的几周和几个月里,你将了解你的工具正在使用的技术堆栈以及你可能面临的技术债务类型。

If none of it rings a bell, google it! Ask questions! People like talking about their job. They love explaining what they do. Asking questions will not make you appear ignorant, it will make you appear curious and interested, and this is exactly what will make a difference in the relationship you will build with people.

如果这些都没有唤起什么,那就去Google!问问题!人们喜欢谈论他们的工作。他们喜欢解释他们做了什么。问问题不会让你显得无知,它会让你显得好奇和感兴趣,而这正是你与他人建立关系的关键。

Build a trustworthy relationship with Devs and QA.

与开发者和QA建立可靠的关系。

Product management is about relying on the technical expertise of many departments around you—Development, Quality assurance, UX design, marketing…

产品管理依靠你周围许多部门的技术专长——开发、质量保证、用户体验设计、市场营销……

You need to be able to work with people who eventually want the same thing as you: build and release qualitative features that bring value. Working towards the same goal will enable you to trust the recommendations you get from the development team as well as the effort’s estimate they will provide you. There are times when the questions you get asked will be beyond your knowledge and you will need their expertise to help you answer, or attend calls with you directly.、

你需要能够与那些最终想要和你一样东西的人一起工作:构建并发布能够带来价值的定性特征。朝着相同的目标工作将使你能够相信你从开发团队得到的建议,以及他们将提供给你的工作评估。有时候你会遇到一些你不知道的问题,你需要他们的专业知识来帮助你回答,或者直接参加电话会议。

As a Product Manager, you want to make sure you have a good working relationship with dev and QA and you need to be able to trust their work and their choice. First of all, because you will spend a lot of time talking to them—getting on well with your colleagues always makes things nicer. Second, because as product people, we are nothing without the dev doing the actual work of building what you asked for and maintaining the entire product’s infrastructure. Keep this in mind.

作为一名产品经理,你需要确保与开发者和QA保持良好的工作关系,你需要信任他们的工作和选择。首先,因为你会花很多时间和他们交谈,与你的同事相处融洽总是会让事情变得更好。其次,因为作为产品人员,如果没有开发人员去做你所要求的构建和维护整个产品的基础设施的实际工作,我们将一事无成。记住这一点。

Like any career path, do not forget that you will learn on the job, and build your expertise, months after month, years after years, position after position. With time, you will also develop new soft skills—leadership skills, management skills, that will help you grow in your role. Breaking into a new career is always challenging, and you will be out of your comfort zone for a while, but this is nothing curiosity and proactivity to educate yourself cannot fix. To be a good product manager, you don’t need to become technical, you need to be aware of technical things, and those can be two different things.

就像任何职业道路一样,不要忘记你要在工作中学习,并建立你的专业知识,月复一月,年复一年,一个职位接着一个职位。随着时间的推移,你也会培养新的软技能——领导技能、管理技能,这些将帮助你在你的岗位上成长。进入一个新的职业总是具有挑战性的,你会离开你的舒适区一段时间,但这不是好奇心和主动教育自己不能解决的。要成为一名优秀的产品经理,你不需要成为技术人员,你需要了解技术方面的东西,这是两码事。


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