Great products don’t happen by accident. Products have a roadmap, and, more importantly, they have a champion: the product manager.
The product manager is the captain of the ship without whom your product faces the risk of failure due to being poorly designed, costing too much, being late, being too much like something else in the market or just not being perceived as valuable.
There can only be one product manager in your case—only you can create your plan, be nimble enough to change it, launch it and tell the world your story.
Product management was once a pretty straightforward and fairly predictable, but long, process.
Those days are over.
Unpredictability is totally normal for a modern product manager. On the surface, the job of a product manager sounds straightforward; take a rough idea and turn it into a product that is so valuable that lots of people pay good money for it. But to do this well, product managers need to consider a lot of factors within their volatile, hyper-competitive markets:
Who is the target customer and why do they want to buy our product?
Does the current product meet the customers’ needs today? What must change in the current product in order to meet those needs?
What are the competitors doing and how is our product different?
How do we ensure the world knows about our great product?
By thinking like a product manager, you’ll be able to find a path through the chaos.
The seven critical characteristics to Designing YOU.
1. Be intentionally curious.
2. Think about the whole.
3. Be empathetic.
4. Get feedback early and often.
5. Rely on evidence, not simply intuition.
6. Be resilient.
7. Be accountable.
The exercises in Designing YOU will help you develop these characteristics.
In Designing YOU, we challenge you to develop a 10-Year Mission. A Purpose.
For most twenty-somethings, ten years may as well be 100 years. So it's common for a lot of people get frozen by the daunting task of looking ahead ten years. One of the biggest barriers to moving forward is the question:
What do I want to do when I graduate and walk into the real-world?
There’s a problem with this question.
The "real-world" doesn’t begin after graduation. It’s happening right now.
The knowledge and skills you'll need to deliver on your 10-Year Professional Mission can’t all be learned by accident. Rather, they need to be the outcome of an intentional development process rooted in five build blocks.
1. education & learning
2. employment experiences
3. volunteer experiences
4. contextual experiences
5. important relationships
In other words, the expertise you’ll possess in ten years, whether it as a marine biologist or an accountant, won’t be a fluke. It needs to be planned.
Mission Map Gallery
Before you develop your own Mission Map, we've included dozens of different Mission Maps based 10 years into a career. Each map is a summary based on interviews and surveys of real people and their real experiences in their careers and in life. If you'd like to start by exploring our range of Career Mission Maps, click here to search our Designing YOU Mission Map Gallery.
There is never just one single map to get from here to there. Consider these sample Mission Maps more of a compass than a GPS. They won’t tell you exactly how to get from here to there, but they’ll point you in the right direction, tell you where to start and offer support on the way.