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The field of Product Management has evolved with various functions having well-defined specialties, but Product Management itself lacks clear specializations. This article addresses the challenges arising from this assumption and emphasizes the importance of recognizing distinct specializations within Product Management.
Viewing all Product Management roles as equal leads to transferability issues, slow career progression, focus fatigue, talent mismatches, and unfair comparisons. To mitigate these challenges, the article introduces four types of product work: Feature Work, Growth Work, Scaling Work, and Product-Market Fit Expansion. Each type requires unique skills, processes, and success metrics. The article delves into the specifics of each product work type, identifying them as Core PM, Growth PM, Scaling PM, and Expansion PM. Core PMs focus on solving customer pain points, Growth PMs concentrate on the customer journey, Scaling PMs focus on scaling internal platforms and services, and Expansion PMs explore new opportunities for product-market fit expansion. The article provides examples and collaborators for each specialization. It emphasizes the need for Product Managers to master one or two areas deeply, acknowledging that expertise in one type of product work can translate into broader skills across multiple domains.
The article concludes by hinting at the emergence of Machine Learning PMs as a potential upcoming specialization. Overall, the article highlights the existing gaps in understanding Product Management specializations and lays the groundwork for a more nuanced approach to defining and embracing these roles.