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Getting product management experience before getting the job


Previously in this series, we learned how to use ChatGPT to learn the basics of product management. However, the best learning is doing and generative AI can help us here as well.

To land this dream product management job that you want it’s useful to have some hands-on experience. But how can you get experience managing a real product? Well, why not create the product yourself? With a little help from AI.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can get some real product management experience for free and without leaving your home.

Step 1 - pick an easy idea for a product

Remember, it’s a learning exercise so pick a product that is simple and broadly appealing. You don’t need to come up with anything unique or novel, for this expertise, it’s perfectly fine to create a clone of a product that already exists. Ideally, it would be something practical, targeted to a particular audience and not requiring a substantial implementation. For example a tiny e-commerce store for digital collectibles or an app that downloads photos from Instagram.

Step 2 - discover the chosen product

Go through all the stages of product discovery for the selected product. You need to understand why this product was created? Who is the target audience of this product? How is this product makes money or stays afloat?

Step 3 - find one thing you can do better

Any product can be improved in milliard ways, innovation is finding even shorter paths from problem to solution. Analyse the product you’ve chosen and pick one thing you want to improve in it. Even better if you can think about a change that will differentiate your product, and provide some unique value compared with the original. It could be anything from user experience to a particular feature to a business model. The size of the change doesn’t matter, it’s all about practising.

Step 4 - go through product delivery using ChatGPT as your development team

Do you know generative AI like ChatGPT can code? Yes, you can give it prompts and it could output a working code that you can use to power your product. Have a look at this example for a hypothetical Instagram photo downloader.

You can play around with prompts to give you even more useful outputs. You might mimic the process you’ll have to go through with your development team. Try giving ChatGPT requirements in the form of user stories or PRDs and see what it could deliver for you.

Some useful prompts you can use:

  • What are the most popular apps this year?
  • Analyse how this website works {website or app name/url}
  • What technologies were used to make {website or app name/url}
  • Write code in {language of your choice} to do {your use case}
  • Debug this code {code snippet}
  • How can I test an API?
  • What tools can I use to test an API?
  • Where can I host my simple web application for free?
  • What are the simplest and free tools to create mobile apps?
  • What are no-code apps?
  • Where can I advertise my product for free to get users?

Step 5 - go to market

Yes, you’d need to release your product and get it in the hands of real users. It could be your friends or family but even better if you’d follow some basic marketing strategies to attract users you don’t know. If you can convince a stranger to use your product - you’d progress much further on your product management learning path. Plus, it will look so much better on your cv.

Step 6 - get feedback and refine your product

Practice talking to users and measuring your product, it will come super useful in the real product management job you’ll have soon. Based on the feedback you receive - plan improvements to your product in a form of a roadmap. If you have time you can even implement some of the feedback that makes sense and see the outcomes of doing that.

Step 7 - document your experience

Congratulations! If you completed all the steps you got real product management experience that will be relevant to any employer. Now you need to describe what you did and what you learned so you can talk about that with potential employers.

Who knows, maybe you’ll like the process so much that you’ll decide to create your own product and build a successful business.

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