One Kings Lane Product VP on Career Roadmap (Part 2)
Defining your vision sets the foundation for building out your complete career roadmap. From there, the next step is to assess your current state. In other words, this is an opportunity to take a pause and evaluate the skills or key learnings that have gotten you to this point.
First, it’s important to recognize your strengths and pat yourself on the back. I don’t think we do this often enough and understanding where we are most effective is very valuable. On the other hand, you need to be humble and identify things that you’re not good at. Ultimately, the best way to assess your current state is to have a complete understanding of where you accel and where you need to improve.
When starting your current state assessment, it’s important to focus on these three areas in building out your career roadmap:
Competencies: soft skills that help bring your vision to life.
- Always focus on the customer or end user. No matter what stage you’re at, we always need to keep our target audience in mind.
- Be data-driven. When you make a decision, you can’t just pull it randomly out of a hat.
- Think big picture. Even if you’re testing out something new, you need to be thinking about how to scale solutions for long-term growth.
- Solve simply. It’s easy to get caught up in “what ifs” with fringe cases. Stay focused on what’s most important for the majority of your use cases.
- Get stuff done. In other words, your collective skills are useless if you can’t put in the necessary work to produce results.
- Build relationships. To make things happen, you need to build bridges throughout your team to bring your vision to life
Tangibles: hard skills that every product manager needs to be successful
- Over time, your skillset will evolve and expand to cover more responsibilities and focus areas. As a result, it’s important to write down the skills you have and identify areas where you can continue to improve.
- Examples of hard skills include:
- Data analysis, ROI/financial modeling
- Creating user stories
- Tech acumen
- UX principles, user research methods
Workspace: evaluate the places that you’ve worked
- Start with your industry experience and the size of the companies at which you have worked. For example, I have worked in consumer-facing products throughout my career. Furthermore, I have worked in a variety of roles – including consumer services, traditional retail and two-sided marketplaces.
- Ultimately, you need to leverage your skills most effectively. In order to do so, you need to take a step back and think about where you worked at your best. From startups and enterprises to closed workspaces and open offices, you need to understand where you can be most effective and happiest during your day-to-day.
About the speaker
Andrea is the VP of Product and Engineering at One Kings Lane, a digital-first resource for making your home an expression of your personal style. She has spent over fifteen years in Product and Tech, and has led teams at startups and Fortune 500 companies, including Rent the Runway, Zappos, Time Warner, and Verizon. Andrea is passionate about solving hard (seemingly impossible) challenges, developing simple yet delightful products, building teams of entrepreneurial critical thinkers, and creating strategic outcomes with impact. She is a hands-on leader with a player/coach style, diving into the details with her team to partner, advise, and guide them to success.