Product Management Career Path

Photo of Joanna Swatowska-Rybak

Joanna Swatowska-Rybak

Mar 23, 2022 • 10 min read
Group of business people in office working on project

At Netguru, we help products of our clients to achieve success. Our main goal is to build world class products, elevate the product strategy and execution support we deliver to our clients, from startups to corporations. We evangelise product culture with our own approach for our clients and inside Netguru.

How a Netguru Product Manager’s job looks

A Product Manager makes sure that the product being developed is desirable, feasible, and viable. Your role is to focus on the product, how it fits the market, and user needs. You create or follow the product strategy and help to achieve the business objectives. Basically, your job is to make sure that you are building the right thing and building it the right way.

Potential tasks

As a Product Manager, you will support Netguru clients in developing a viable vision, strategy, and roadmap for their products. You will know what user problem your product solves and put effort into constantly delivering value for them. You will interview users, experiment, set goals, and execute their delivery. You will make product decisions based on data and validated hypotheses.

  • An important part of your work is evangelizing the Netguru product culture and product approach to our clients, and also internally — helping other Netgurals deliver value for clients.
  • You will work in a squad with designers and developers from Netguru or be a standalone Product Manager working with your client team. You will usually work on one product, on discovery or delivery (or both), at any stage of development on the product lifecycle.
  • Aside from product work, you may also be involved in optimizing internal processes or recruiting other Product Managers for Netguru.

Product Competency Toolkit

At Netguru, we believe that every Product Manager is different and able to excel in different areas. We don’t expect you to master every area of the Netguru Product Competency Matrix. We do expect you to possess respective competencies on an adequate level for your desired position and achieve your goals thanks to your areas of excellence.

product management competency toolkit-1

The Product Competency Matrix is our unique tool that reflects our perception of what competencies and skills great Product Managers need to have. It helps to assess where you are with your competencies as Product Manager — which are your strong points and what you need to focus on to advance your career.

Product Manager competencies and skills

Data-oriented

You always make sure to gather relevant data and information before making any product decisions. You know the importance of collecting data on any stage of a product, and you use that data to improve the product and to make sure that you create business value and reach expected goals. You are experienced with common metrics in different kinds of products (B2B, B2C) and how to use them to make product decisions.

Business value

You deliver business value to stakeholders in all phases of the product development process. You monitor and measure business value from the very beginning of product delivery. You release product iterations often in order to measure the value that you bring to your customers.

Knowledge of tools and frameworks

You know at least one tool for each crucial product area and use those tools in your everyday work: vision, strategy, roadmapping, prioritization, validation, product and user analytics, process mapping, and ideation. You have practiced at least one of the frameworks, such as JTBD, GTM, or design thinking. If there isn’t an appropriate framework in your current portfolio, you can easily research to find tools or techniques to help you drive the product's success.

Feedback approving and giving

You are open to feedback. You communicate the openness to feedback both face to face (f2f) and on a daily basis. You give regular, constructive feedback to people you work with, not only during a f2f. You try to find yourself in situations where you need to give feedback on the spot.

Growth (personal and growing others)

You proactively look for opportunities for development (not only for yourself but also for the entire team — e.g., sharing industry articles or searching for meetups and conferences to go to). You not only enjoy successes but treat failures as something valuable for the future. You share lessons learned with others.

Communication and English

When communicating with others, you assume good intentions and present your own perspective in correct, compelling language. You are also effective in clear and concise communication on all levels — stakeholder, team, Netguru.

Your English is at least C1 level. Messages to clients and associates are correct and polite. Even in difficult or demanding situations, communication levels are high, e.g., providing difficult feedback, and cooperating with clients. You will cope in such situations with the support of a leader if needed.

Stakeholder management

You are fully aware of the broad set of stakeholders you need to align with. You can integrate their needs and feedback in the current product work, roadmap, and strategy — escalating when necessary. You are able to negotiate with stakeholders for the best for your product and take effective product decisions, taking the initiative when needed and removing blockers. You use data and visuals to back product decisions.

Leadership and collaboration

You are not afraid of taking ownership on topics where a tough decision needs to be taken. You are focused on delivering business value and making sure that the team is going in the right direction. You are proactive and inspire your team members to deliver the best results and show by example.

Product culture evangelist

You know the importance of implementing good practices through the organization and you take the initiative to promote change where you believe it's needed by being proactive and taking ownership. You conduct consultations for other teams to share your knowledge and expertise on good product practices and offer advice and recommendations.

User advocate

You are able to define who the user of the product is, what their problem is, and how the problem can be solved with the product. Also, you leverage user feedback into the product (in the form of user research) to understand how users engage with the product, make better decisions, and drive meaningful outcomes for the product.

Market and competition

You are able to identify the market for the product, including trends, limitations, and opportunities. You monitor and analyze the competition and are able to find the competitive advantage of your product over competitors. Based on this research and knowledge, you are able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your product, and shape the strategy accordingly.

Product marketing

You have participated in at least one product launch and executed a go-to-market strategy. You are familiar with growth strategies and how to connect them with building a product. You can spot new opportunities in a product from the marketing perspective and suggest changes that will raise the value of the offer.

Product validation

You are experienced in defining the main user problems and are comfortable in using creative problem-solving techniques to design viable solutions. You have used lean principles and data-driven discovery in practice to design products to meet user expectations. You have measured product-market fit while working on several projects.

Business validation

You can compare different business models and select the best one for a given use case. You have created and applied in practice at least one business model and one business case. You are comfortable in identifying the business needs of a company and offering solutions to their core business problems.

Vision, goals, strategy

You are able to define a vision and strategy (derived from the vision and strategy of a company) for a small to mid-sized product. You are also able to define goals and KPIs for your product, for each stage of its lifecycle. Also, you are able to bring the strategy to fruition through the delivery of business outcomes at each stage of the lifecycle.

Scoping and direction

You are not only able to define features, but also build a roadmap of your product/feature that is derived from the company strategy, so everyone involved in the project (stakeholders, delivery team) clearly understands where the product is headed in the mid-term. You prioritize efficiently at all levels (strategy, roadmap, team, etc.), leveraging various prioritization techniques.

Value delivery

You have successfully delivered several products using Agile/SCRUM methods bringing significant value to business owners and end-users. You have used lean development practices and frequent iterations to deliver shippable product increments that meet user expectations and increase the overall product value. You are not only able to execute a product roadmap but also able to keep it up to date and improve it over time.

Tech competency

You are technically aware and able to talk to the Dev team and the stakeholders about technical solutions. You understand how the product API works and what applications and technologies are being used. You know what backend, frontend, GIT, automated tests, etc., are and how to deal with the technical debt. You easily communicate with the Dev team and you know how to draw and explain the solution using both technical and business language.

How can you evolve as a Product Manager in Netguru?

Whichever stage of your career you are, you can always grow in Netguru. You can choose the most suitable track for you: People Track, if you are keen on sharing your knowledge and growing others; or Expert Track, if you want to continue your growth solely in the Product Management area.

Career paths in the Product Management team

Wondering how you can grow in Netguru as a Product Manager? Not only do we have a variety of products to get our hands dirty with, thanks to our agency profile, but we have also created a Product Competency Matrix to help our Product Managers with their career paths.

product manager career path at netguru

Photo of Joanna Swatowska-Rybak

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Joanna Swatowska-Rybak

Joanna Swatowska-Rybak works as a Product Manager at Netguru. She specializes in product...
Join us as a Product Manager    Support Netguru’s clients in developing a viable vision and strategy for their  products.   Learn more

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