Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Should Architects aspire to be Product Managers?

One of the interesting trends I am observing is that Architectures aspiring to be Product Managers. Have recently come across multiple PM who were architects and have also been approached my a few who are interested in becoming one.

Following are my thoughts on when Architects should consider PM as their career path.
  1. A true Business Architect with the ability to map the technology strategy to align with the Business Strategy
  2. Good understanding and hopefully first hand experience interacting with the real customer (not the business units)
  3. Good understanding of revenue and business model
  4. Passionate and believe about the role of the products in the customers life (whatever they are using the product for)
  5. Ability to influence cross-functional team and get everyone passionate and focused on the product
  6. Willing to change course mid-stream based on customer/market feedback
  7. Ability to ride up and down the market roller coaster
  8. Ability to keep singularly focused on an single product/portfolio

Do not take on the role:
  1. by assuming that PM get to define the product and every one else will follow without any questions (the PM is responsible for bringing every one on board)
  2. consider whether one would be a great Architect vs. a good Product Manager (focus on what one is better at doing - a great advise given to me by my manager)
  3. do not want to deal with constant communication with customers / leadership teams
  4. assume that the grass is greener there - doing what one does best shall reap the right rewards

Just my point of view and this could also apply for taking on a role of a Business Liaison in an IT organizations.

- Yogish

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