Do all product managers like their jobs?
A brief introduction about you.
I'm anonymous and I’m a Technical Product Manager (TPM/PM) at a leading Financial Technology company in Nigeria.
How did you get here?
Well, I went to the University and got a BSc in Engineering. I already started programming in secondary school so I really just kept it up. Once I finished university I got a programming job then I went for my NYSC. It was after NYSC that I came to my current company. One of my friends at the university told me about the company so I applied and went for it. I started as a programmer there but I wasn’t satisfied along the line. I think it was majorly a desire to earn more money and also I wanted to learn how to manage people because in the long run I want to start something and managing people is something I need to learn. There was an opening for the Technical Product Manager role, I applied and got it. It has been miserable ever since.
Is this your dream job?
I think my dream job would be my software engineering job. I should have just stayed there. When I started being a PM, It was a bit hard. I thought it was just because I was trying something new and I just needed to persevere. Somewhere along the line, I realized that as a software engineer I looked forward to work, I was eager for work to start but ever since I’ve been a PM, I have never been eager to go to work, not even for one day.
What’s a typical day like at work?
The first thing I do is communicate with customers and stakeholders for a product on what we need to build and I document that. After that, I communicate with the developers on building it and adding features. Once that is done, I communicate with the tester to ensure everything is good. Then the DevOps team pushes to deployment. This is the basic flow of what I do. Other things I do include monitoring the activity of what we built and also I respond to customers’ complaints and write queries to correct errors. So after I complained about the fact that I don’t really like being a product manager, I was told I can still take on some development role. So I sometimes assign myself some programming tasks.
What do you think your most important skill is?
The funny thing is I don’t think I’m doing very well. I just think I’m doing well enough to not get fired. I think something that has helped me to not fail miserably is patience and it’s not my strong suit. Patience to communicate with people and understand them. Sometimes people are trying to communicate what they don’t even understand so you have to understand what they’re not saying. I think it’s majorly being able to identify what people need versus what they want.
What’s something you wish you knew before taking this role?
I wish I knew this role would be this boring. I think there are people that are suited for this role, I don’t think I’m one of them. For me, I don’t feel engaged and it’s not challenging enough. I think part of this may be because of the product I’m managing. My product is an internal tool, so my customers are the employees and staff. I think it might be different if it was more of a customer-facing role. I actually spoke to other PMs and it turns out I’m not the only one that thinks the role is not challenging, others just think it’s a necessary evil.
What do you like about your job?
I think something I like is that I assign tasks to people so I can ensure that I don’t work overtime; while I was a developer, my PM didn’t know there was a closing time, so I worked a lot and now I just like that I don’t have to do that.
What do you dislike about your job?
The fact that I don’t think it’s challenging enough.
What would you say to anyone who wants to be a PM?
I think you should be sure of the kind of person you are. We recently took a test at work for personality traits and one thing that stood out to me is that I am very competitive. As a PM you’re competing with yourself. If you’re competitive I don’t think you should take a PM role.