Product Managers Do Not Spring Forth from the Head of Zeus Fully Formed

by Anna Bliss, Vivienne Whitfield, and Marisa Brandt | at MinneBar 11 | 10:50 – 11:40 in Learn | View Schedule

There is no one path to becoming a product manager; while product managers often come from the engineering ranks, they may also come from finance, marketing, business analysis or project management roles. So how to we identify potential product managers and nurture the PMs in our organization to become better and more senior PMs? Once we identify someone with the right blend of soft skills, technical and business acumen and desire, how can we not only help them move into the role but also set them up for success? Anna, Viv and Marisa took different, somewhat peripatetic, paths into product management. We were able to make the leap because of strong mentorship, sponsorship, and, most especially, passionate, inclusive product management communities. The groups we have been involved with have, at their core, an environment set up for product managers to learn and help other product managers with the challenges and issues they encounter in their roles. Leveraging that bias for learning and growth makes them a natural source for cultivating emerging and future product people. Come join us for a discussion about what you are doing and/or what is in your sphere of influence to enable to help nurture both yourself and new product managers. While we might like to think that we are as wise and courageous as Athena, unlike that Greek goddess, product managers do not spring from the head of Zeus fully formed – so let’s talk about how to form product managers in our more mortal realm.

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Anna Bliss

Anna Bliss is a Product Manager, podcaster, and community leader. Anna has worked in the tech arena for over 15 years taking a circuitous route to product management with roles ranging from business analyst to technical writer to project coordinator. These varied roles, along with some entirely unrelated to software development (such as theatrical scenic design) have built up a unique skill set that she wasn’t entirely sure how to integrate until she stumbled on product management. A liberal arts major at heart, Anna loves the interdisciplinary nature of the technology world. She is co-founder of the Twin Cities Product Community and co-host of the Women in Tech Twin Cities podcast.

Vivienne Whitfield

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Marisa Brandt

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