How and when to hire your first product manager – TechCrunch

in the world Early-stage startups, job titles are often a formality. In fact, each employee can handle a dozen responsibilities outside of their job description. Apne apne-adventure-type work style is part of the magic of startups and is often frequented by the common people here.

However, as a company grows and teams grow, there comes a time when a founder needs to take on dedicated roles. Of these positions, product management may be one of the most elusive and important roles.

Product management can be one of the most elusive and important roles.

We talked to startup founders and operators about how and when to hire their first product manager. Some of the things we talked about were:

  • Who to find
  • Why it is important for you to look for your best fit before defining the role.
  • Whether your new hire has a technical background.
  • The best questions to ask in an interview.
  • How to give your first time and avoid oversharing.

Do not hire a CEO for a product

Let’s start by working backward. Product managers often graduate in the role of a CEO or leave the company to become a founder. Like the founders, talented product managers possess innate leadership skills and are able to communicate effectively and clearly. Similarly, both roles require a person who is visionary for product and execution.

David blake He was a serial edtech founder before becoming a product manager. Degree, Learn in, And most recently, book Club. The experience, he says, helped him launch the first prototype of DeGrest and attract the first customers.

He said, “Skills have the ability to test the team’s best knowledge and inform product decisions with users and potential customers. That person will” take the team’s mission and develop and sell that narrative to users and potential customers Must be able to. This is how you blaze a new trail, balancing the risk, while avoiding creating a ‘fast horse’.

The overlapping synergy between the PM and the founders is part of the reason that defining and hiring the role is so misleading. Ken Norton, The former director of product at Fimma who has recently left solo advice and coaches product managers, says companies can start by determining what PMs are not: the CEO of the product.

“It’s not about delegating product responsibilities to anyone,” he said. “You want the founder and CEO to remain a campaigner and visionary.” Instead, the role is more about “blocking and dealing” day-to-day. Norton wrote a piece about 15 years ago How to hire a product manager, And it is still an essential read for anyone interested in the field.

Define the role and set your expectations

Product managers help all jugglers within a startup translate to each other; Linking engineer with marketing, design with business development and sales with all of the above. The role at its core is hard to define, but at the same time is the necessary pipeline for any startup that wants to be high-growth and ambitious.

While a successful product manager is a strong generalist, they have the ability to understand and humanize technical processes. The best candidate, then, has some technical experience as an engineer or otherwise.