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Best Product Management Books to Read in 2023
Product management is one of the most important sections within a business, impacting the company’s image and profitability. Product management is the intricate process of strategically planning each stage of a product’s creation. Starting with the research and development, the process compiles till the testing and positioning stage. The detailed approach ensures that the product fulfills user needs and the determined business objectives simultaneously. In brief, a project manager thoroughly studies and analyzes a business, related technologies, target audience, and their needs to deliver an appropriate product. The intricacies of this process are most clearly depicted through leading product management books. Hence, we bring you a detailed list of the best product management books in 2022.  The Lean Startup The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is about igniting the entrepreneur within you. It motivates the readers to understand the value of owning a start-up using product management skills. This book, written by an entrepreneur himself, is a guide to help you make better and faster business decisions.  The Lean Startup covers various stories of successful entrepreneurs and analyzes their career paths. Further, it tells you how you can follow in the footsteps of those accomplished businessmen and put the customer at the center of all your product goals. Your product should be designed keeping in mind your target audience. It should add value to their life and be as adaptive as possible. Delivering the right type of product to your customers that enhances concrete value in their life is a struggle for almost every product manager.  Thus, this guide is the solution for all aspiring or interested product managers to make their products successful.  The Product Book Written by Carlos González de Villaumbrosia and Josh Anon, this book is the ultimate guide to becoming a successful product manager. It tells you everything an aspiring product manager would need to know. This is one of the good management books you must read at least once to strengthen your fundamental skills from A to Z.  This amazon bestseller guides you through all the tough paths of your product management journey. It teaches you how to create exceptional products and then the strategies to market them. The specifics of this book offer professional insights enabling you to incorporate similarly innovative ideas into your winning strategy. Crossing the Chasm Crossing the chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore is one of the best product management books to teach ambitious professionals the market dynamics a product faces. It particularly focuses on the difference between the early and mainstream markets.  This book offers ample knowledge that includes decision-making guidelines for investors, executives, marketers, and managers all over the high-tech community. It also includes several real-world examples of businesses that struggled in the chasm.  While building a successful company, one faces numerous hurdles on the path. One major struggle is to make the customers adapt to the product. There, Moore suggests various techniques like choosing the target market, understanding the product, and building marketing strategies to cross the “chasm” and enhance its popularity among audiences.  The Making of a Manager The book’s title by Julie Zhuo speaks for itself while extending the ultimate guide to being the best product manager. It teaches you about management skills, products, people, and the purpose you must serve as a product manager. It also discusses the balance of one’s focus on product and management. A manager shouldn’t just be concerned about the product but also about serving their duty as a ‘manager.’  After reading product management books like these, your skillset will be fueled with valuable insights you can utilize to create reliable products. Therefore, you must gain the leadership skills that the author suggests in this book to make an optimal product team. The Influential Product Manager This is a new-age book by Ken Sandy comprising the core skills and behaviors one must have as a product manager in modern tech companies. This ultimate guide teaches you all, including the product manager’s behavior at each stage of the product life cycle. The best outcomes are just a book away! The author is a 20-year veteran in the consumer industry and thus boils down some of his valuable experiences and complex topics into easy-to-understand and apply principles. Thai guidebook can be perceived to have come from the guide himself. Product Management’s Sacred Seven Authored by three great product managers that served some of the world’s top companies, this book will give you insights that no other product management books can provide. It guides you to be the world-class product manager every company wishes to hire. Besides the authors with extensive experiences, it also includes interviews with 67 product leads to provide you with expert knowledge and applied skills. The uniqueness of this book lies in its approach to educating newcomers, as it gives detailed information about the different product management processes in different firms. The in-depth assessment of this book will help you improve your product management abilities.  Presentation Zen Written by Garr Reynolds, this book is a step ahead of your basic management books. It focuses on your presentation skill, as launching a product without presenting it in front of stakeholders is inevitable. Thus, gaining persuasion skills and adding more insights to your arguments is of utmost importance. It will then add value to your presentation and will be perceived in the same way.  Besides this, it motivates you to ignite the creativity within, as a presentation is nothing without creativity. Concepts such as sound design and Zen minimalism ideas can significantly fuel your management abilities.  Shape Up Authored by Ryan Singer, the head of the strategy team at Basecamp, this book explains the different approaches Basecamp has established over the years while producing its successful products.  Further, it suggests building the product first before setting a timeline for the same. It also teaches how to implement a well-delegated and effectively planned product management strategy. The book works as a practical toolbox containing expert methodologies and techniques aspiring managers can incorporate into their new projects.  Measure What Matters This book comes from the legendary investor John Doerr, who was appointed to advise on fixing America’s economic downturn in 2009. Through this book, Doerr has narrated many first-person accounts and the driving factor behind his product expansion. In brief, it demonstrated the growth that OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) have spurred at big organizations like Google, Intel, and Amazon. This is a good product management book to comprehend innovative management methods in the technological industry.  Dare to Lead Everyone needs the confidence to manage things well and prosper in their respective domains. Therefore, a guide that teaches you a more human and people-oriented approach is also essential in today’s world. By the end of this Brene Brown book, you will be equipped with all the effective leadership skills. It will also teach you how to make difficult decisions at the head of the department.  All the product management books mentioned above offer unique insights into how product management skills can be improved using more analytically backed strategies. You can start with one of them and realize the value it adds to your professional career. These books collectively offer personal as well as professional growth recipes for becoming a better product manager. So, don’t wait and start your journey today! Learn more about Product Management with upGrad A good product manager knows how the right certification can nourish their career, offering them an edge over contending learners. upGrad’s Postgraduate Certificate in Product Management is one such certification course you can utilize further to strengthen your resume and skillset as a product manager. This course offers you an expert-led curriculum, including skills such as product strategy, prototyping, product sense, collaboration, stakeholder management, and more. To carve the path to your success, upGrad further supports learners with access to 1:1 career coaching and mentoring.  Along with the mentioned perks, you will also be guided to build your own product with hands-on experience with several tools, helping you to obtain lucrative market opportunities!
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by Keerthi Shivakumar

24 Mar 2023

Top 10 Interesting Finance Books to Read to Understand Finance Better
Finance is a department that everyone around us is familiar with. We use finances in our day-to-day life, which has become a crucial part of the world. Because its management is not as easy as it seems, it is extremely important to have a good grip over our finances to be prepared for financial obstacles that might come at the later stages.  Finance plays the most significant role in holding a country’s economy altogether. All the firms, big and small, roll out their financial reports to see where the capital has been invested. If we take a daily life example, we also manage our finances related to our earnings to see where we have overspent or underspent. Hence, it is not easy to do it all ourselves.  In this article, we’ll have a glimpse of the top 10 best finance books to read that can help us understand and manage our finance better. Top 10 Finance Books to Read to Understand Finance Better 1. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki This is one of the best-selling best books on finance that teaches you about personal finances. It is a story of two fathers, one rich and one poor, who state their own perspective of financial knowledge to build wealth. It gives you some tips to manage your finances engagingly. It presents you with different chapters, each of which has something to take from. This book is the best for finances and can help you manage yours effectively. The takeaways from this book are– Invest your money in assets and not liabilities; don’t work to earn money; work to learn, and reinvest the profits you make. 2. Money by Tony Robbins This book is represented as a research or interview done by the author Tony Robbins with more than 50 financial experts. The author guides the readers in a comprehensive way on how to feel financial freedom. The author has highlighted the essential part of everyone’s life, i.e., money, which is often seen as a taboo subject to talk about. Moreover, it also presents the bitter truth of people and their perception of money. The takeaways from this book are that you can take risks, treat yourself with the money you make, and diversify your investment using a bucket system (security, growth, and dream bucket).  3. The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape This book is written by Australian farm boy Scott Pape who highlights the struggles of managing finances in the life of an ordinary being. The barefoot investor gives you some pieces of advice on how you can control your finances by doing basic things. This book is great for those who’ve started to manage their money. Some takeaways from this book are– organizing a day to plan out your finances, having multiple bank accounts to improve your money management, and getting rid of your debts.  4. The One Page Financial Plan by Carl Richards This book is based on the mistakes Carl Richards made in his finances and works as one of the effective financial literacy books. He has mapped out the simple ways to deal with your finances which would not feel like a burden. He has stated all the points from his personal life experience and shared them throughout this book. Therefore, it perfectly illustrates the real-life problems that everyone faces while managing finances. Here are some of the takeaways from the one-page financial plan– know where you are starting from, ask yourself why money is important to you, and think of budgeting as a tool for awareness.  5. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham Benjamin Graham is considered the father of security analysis and value investing. Warren Buffet defined Graham as one of the greatest investors of all time. In this book, the author has highlighted some of the main principles of investment combined with philosophy. Though this book can be challenging, it is still considered one of the best finance books about investment. The key takeaways from this book are– always invest with the margin of safety; know what kind of investor you are; analyze the long term, and don’t get fooled for profits.  6. The Little Book that Beats the Market by Joel Greenblatt One of the leading best books on finance The Little Book that Beats the Market, talks about investment in the stock market and how investors can outperform. It covers the data analysis of the recent financial crisis. The book has research and findings from the surroundings and explores the basic principles of successfully investing in the stock market. It also represents the author’s tested formula from which the readers can take inspiration. Here are the key takeaways from this book– evaluate the stocks by going through earning yield and return; rank and combine these factors to find the best companies, and be patient with the results. 7. The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco This book is the story of the Author, MJ DeMarco, who teaches the readers how to be good at finance by relating to his story. This book consists of some great advice that is useful for the general public. The content of this book is different from what has been portrayed in the title. Instead of giving a shortcut formula to the readers, this book is all bout building a foundation and expanding it. Here are some of the takeaways from this book– live as such so that your tomorrow can be secured; sacrifice today to secure your future, and work hard to become wealthy in the next five to ten years.  Learn Product & Project Management Courses from the World’s top Universities. Earn Masters, Post Graduate, Professional Certificate Programs to fast-track your career. 8. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill  Think and Grow Rich is all about personal development that can lead you to become a successful individual. This book highlights the success that can be achieved through mental visualization. It is all about focusing on your inner self, which is solely responsible for achieving your goals. The key highlights of this book are– believing in your thoughts, focusing on your creative and synthetic imagination, and subconscious mind also helps shape your future.  9. I Will Teach You to be Rich by Ramit Sethi This book presents the lessons that individuals can implement in their lives to have a stable financial future. It highlights some of the basic points that anyone can follow. This book is perfect for beginners who hope to start with their finance management but don’t know have the right learning resources. The financial advice in this book is easy to understand and faster to grasp. Here are the key takeaways from this book– only you’re responsible for your financial problems; know about how much money you have and where you want to put it, and start investing today.  10. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey In this book, the author stresses the debt part of finance which is often taken lightly. The author talks about simple steps you can follow to eliminate your debt finances. It also talks about monthly budgets, investments for retirement, education, and many other elements that we face in our routine lives. The takeaways from this book are that debt is not normal; it’s a myth; Make a budget to list out all the elements present in your monthly budget, and understand the obstacles in your finance management.  Further enhance your skills with upGrad To understand finance and its implementation in the right manner, you can extend your spectrum and register for the Post Graduate Certificate in Product Management. This course is affiliated with Duke corporate education, which helps you develop relevant and in-demand product management skills. The course is curated under experts from big companies such as Google, Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, and many more who offer you exposure from every angle. This course includes– 15+ personalized industry sessions, interview preparation, AI-powered portfolio builder, and much more. Conclusion It is important to manage your finances carefully as it forms the foundation of your future success. The financial literacy books.listed above highlight all relevant and relatable pointers from which any beginner can start. Moreover, it also gives you real-life examples so that the readers can take inspiration from it and reshape their financial management. 
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by upGrad

17 Mar 2023

Project Management Phases : A Complete Breakdown
A project can be defined as a  temporary endeavor towards the accomplishment of specific outcomes. Often comprising a sequence of steps and tasks, every project has its own objectives, budget, plan, timescale, and deliverables. Most importantly, a project often involves people of different backgrounds working together to attain a particular goal.  Perhaps, one of the most crucial aspects of a project is how the different project phases are planned, executed, and managed to achieve agreed outcomes. And that’s where the concept of project management takes center stage. Like the project life cycle involves various stages, project management has discrete phases, each applying to a specific stage of the project life cycle.  So, let’s dive in to know more about the standard project management phases. What is Project Management? Project management is the practice of applying specific knowledge, skills, principles, processes, tools, and techniques to deliver something of value. It takes within its ambit the initiation, planning, execution, and management of the new initiatives that an organization aims to implement. In contrast to routine, everyday business activities, project management is not an ongoing process – once the goal is achieved, the project concludes. Each project has its unique needs that require a specific set of tools, techniques, and approaches to be fulfilled. But regardless of the type of project, the critical components of project management are time, cost, scope, and quality.  Be it the construction of a building or highway, development of new software or implementation of a Financial Management System, projects exist in almost every industry and sector out there. From IT, Pharmacy, and Energy to Defense, FMCG, and Construction, the project life cycle in every industry requires efficient project management for quality outcomes. The Five Phases of Project Management Source The discussion on project management phases is incomplete without the mention of the project life cycle. In simple terms, the life cycle of a project comprises the different project phases designed to meet the project’s needs. As such, the project life cycle should define the work that must be fulfilled, the deliverables that must be generated, the people involved, and how each phase must be controlled and approved.   Each element of the project life cycle contributes to taking the project from start to finish and provides a controlled, systematic, and timely process to monitor the project’s progression. The project management phases are intricately associated with the project life cycle. As such, one exists because of the other. So, here’s a breakdown of the five stages of project management and what each phase calls for. Phase 1: Project Initiation The first of the five project management phases are all about turning an abstract idea into an achievable and meaningful goal. The purpose of the project initiation phase is to define the project on a broader scale. It begins with developing a business case, researching if the project is practical and whether it should be undertaken. Once the stakeholders give the project a go, project managers need to develop the project charter – a document outlining the project’s goals, scope, limitations, expected timelines, budget, and other requirements. In a nutshell, the project initiation phase accomplishes the following tasks: Defining project goals Creating a business case Completing the project charter Preparing the list of stakeholders Phase 2: Project Planning The primary tasks in the project planning phase include identifying technical requirements, creating a communication plan, developing a comprehensive project schedule, and setting up goals/deliverables. Following are the two most widely used methods for setting up the project’s goals: 1. S.M.A.R.T Goals Source The S.M.A.R.T criterion is an established method to provide a clear understanding of the consequences of the goal-setting process. It mitigates risks, allowing project managers to set clearly defined and feasible goals. 2. C.L.E.A.R Goals Source The C.L.E.A.R method of goal-setting takes into consideration the modern, fast-paced business environment. It helps achieve flexibility and instant results through collaboration, limited goals, emotional connections, breaking larger goals into smaller tasks, and refining goals when needed. Hence, the project planning phase involves the following tasks: Defining the project scope Creating a project plan Setting a budget Defining roles and responsibilities Phase 3: Project Execution Project execution is the phase where the team gets down to work to develop and complete deliverables. The phase is a buzz of activities when several tasks are accomplished under the supervision of the project manager. Here’s a list of what takes place during the project execution phase: Developing the team Allocating and managing project resources Executing project management plans Building the product or process Setting up tracking systems Executing task assignments Directing and managing the project execution Arranging meetings to discuss status and updates Fixing issues as they arise Updating and modifying project plans as needed Phase 4: Project Monitoring Monitoring the project goes hand in hand with the project execution. Together they ensure that the project goals and deliverables are met. Project managers typically establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Critical Success Factors (CSFs) to ensure that the project progression is on track. In addition, project managers also track the resource costs and efforts involved in the process. Last but not least, monitoring the project performance also forms an integral responsibility of the project manager; it considers the issues that arise and how fast they are addressed. Thus, here’s what happens in the project monitoring phase: Tracking effort and resource cost Monitoring project progress Ensuring compliance with the plan Preventing any possibility of disruptions Phase 5: Project Closure The last of the project management phases indicates the final delivery and project completion. This last phase involves terminating hired contractors (if any), completing the necessary paperwork, and recognizing valuable team members. The project manager may hold a meeting to reflect on the team’s victories and shortcomings during the project, evaluating what went well, identifying the loopholes that need to be rectified for future endeavors. In addition, the project manager creates a list of tasks that remained unaccomplished during the project and works with the team to fulfill them. Plus, the manager prepares a final project report & budget and stores all the critical data in a secure place accessible to the organization’s project managers. In brief, the last phase involves: Handing over deliverables Reviewing project deliverables Reviewing team’s performance Collecting and storing all project documents in one place  Learn the Essentials of Project Management with upGrad Learning about the project management phases from the right place is as important as project management itself. So, upGrad brings to you the Product Management Certification Program and PG Program in Management to help you kickstart your career in project management. 1. Product Management Certification Program (6 months): Here’s what you’ll get from the above-mentioned course: Product management Certificate from Duke Corporate Education and upGrad 200+ hours of content, 15+ case studies and projects, 10+ live Q&A sessions Comprehensive coverage of 8+ tools and software  Skills in Market Research, Analytics, User Design, Product Development & Planning, Engagement and Growth Full learning support and networking with industry experts 2. PG Program in Management (11-month) If you want to take your preparations a step further and train for leadership roles in Business Development, Sales, Marketing, and Management Consulting, upGrad’s PG Program in Management (11-month) is perfect for you. Here are some of the course highlights: Certificate of recognition from Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad 320+ hours of learning, 20+ live sessions, 10+ case studies and assignments Earn credits for a Global MBA Degree with Top B-Schools from UK & Australia 360-degree career assistance and 1:1 mentoring sessions with industry experts Peer-to-peer and industry networking opportunities Way Forward Today’s global business environment is not just fast-paced but super competitive. The key to gaining an edge lies in delivering and fulfilling projects on time and within budget while keeping true to the business goals. This is where project management comes in. Project managers have a pivotal role to play in determining the success of projects an organization undertakes. Their role goes beyond simply understanding the project life cycle to incorporate analytics, organizational skills, and good interpersonal abilities.  upGrad’s online educational programs are designed to offer an immersive learning experience while ensuring that learners acquire the skills needed to be future-ready. upGrad courses have impacted more than 500,000 working professionals globally and continue to set standards in the higher EdTech industry. So, sign up to upGrad today and become a part of the 40,000+ global learner base spread over 85 countries!
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by Karan Raturi

17 Oct 2021

Product Manager Salary in the US : [Average to Highest Salary]
Product Managers are required to build products that support the business goals and objectives. While that might sound like a pretty simple definition, the fact of the matter is that efficiently performing the role requires Product Managers to collaborate across teams. They can be seen working with the design, development, marketing, sales teams, and even the stakeholders to understand the company’s vision.  Let’s try to understand the Product Manager Salary in the USA, and all the different trends related to it!  To begin with, owing to the ambiguity in the definition of a ‘Product Manager’, it is difficult to assign a specific set of roles or duties to them universally. This leads to a lot of variation in the salaries. Just a quick search on various job sites will make you realize the amount of deviation in salaries across the board – ranging from $50k to $200k and more. This drastic fluctuation can be attributed to several factors, each of which is significant enough to cause the deviation by itself. Here are some such key factors:  Product Manager Salary in the US – Based on Position Your position depends on three major things – education, expertise, and experience – and is by far the most significant contributor to your salary as a Product Manager. Let’s look at how the Product Manager Salary in the US varies based on the levels.  Note – All the salaries mentioned hereafter are mentioned by taking the average figure after referring to multiple job posts and more research. They have majorly been taken from Glassdoor, Payscale, and Indeed. 1. Entry-Level Product Manager Salaries Here are some entry-level Product Manager positions and the range of salaries offered to them in the US.  1. Associate Product Manager APMs work with engineering, design, and development teams to ensure timely delivery of products while maintaining steady growth. Technical roles involve dealing with user data, analyzing it, collecting and analyzing user data, and creating product strategies accordingly. While their duties mostly overlap with middle-tier Product Managers, the difference is that entry-level professionals cannot make company-wide decisions.  Being an entry-level role, APM requires 0-2 years of experience with no specific educational requirements, so to say. However, a graduate or postgraduate degree in marketing, advertisement, engineering will be a bonus. That said, you can very quickly enter the field even without any degree in the mentioned fields. In that case, you can look for some part-time internships in product management or customer-centric fields, like sales, marketing, content, and such. Also, you can look to upskill yourself by taking part in hands-on training and certifications. For example, our Product Management Certification Program, in association with Duke Corporate Education, is designed for freshers. It helps you begin your journey in the world of Product Management with ease! Average annual salary of APMs is as follows:  $97,010 (Glassdoor) $65,888 (Payscale) $83,210 (Indeed) 2. Technical Product Manager TPMs bridge the gap between an organization’s business and technological arms by creating product roadmaps, planning product specifications, and collaboration with the development team to develop product strategies that align with the long-term business goals. All in all, TPMs represent the business aspect of the company’s technical decisions and maneuvers. For that, they generally require 1-3 years of experience working in technical or product roles. The skills needed for TPMs are also technical in nature – like database management, systems architecture, algorithm optimization, and more. A degree in Computer Science or management is a big plus for the role of TPMs However, you can also find various TPMs without such an educational background. In that case, they have worked and gained experience to take on the roles of a TPM. Here is the average annual salary of TPMs $64,200 (Glassdoor) $102,817 (Payscale) $118,329 (Indeed) 3. Software Product Manager SPMs are like the other Product Managers, except they deal primarily with digital products. They are involved in creating product strategies, monitoring development lifecycles, carrying out testing, and collecting feedback from users and stakeholders. They aim to provide more value to the customer through the company’s digital products. For SPMs, a prior experience of 1-3 years is considered ideal. Like for TPMs, a degree in engineering or management would be a plus for SPMs, too, but that’s not a hard prerequisite. The average salary for SPMs is along the lines of: $109,992 (Glassdoor) $94,194 (Payscale) $102,358 (Indeed) 2. Executive-Level Product Manager Salaries Now, let’s look at some executive-level Product Manager job roles and the salaries they offer: 1. Senior Product Manager Senior Product Managers are leaders that oversee the duties of other Product Managers like TPM or SPM. They manage multiple teams and have company-wide decision-making ability. Their work is focused less on hands-on development and more on brainstorming, strategizing, and communicating with all the important people. Senior Product Managers also perform the role of HR at times and help in recruiting young Product Managers.  Since this is a leadership role, the candidate with 5-8 years of relevant experience will have a better chance of bagging this job. Unlike entry-level jobs, the job of a Senior Product Manager mostly requires candidates to have formal education in fields like management, finance, marketing, or enough experience to demonstrate their skills if they lack the academic qualifications. Here’s what the average salary for Senior Product Manager in the US looks like:  $125,895 (Glassdoor) $123,784 (Payscale) $138,252 (Indeed) 2. Group Product Manager Group Product Managers take care of teams of Product Managers. As a result of this, the role of Group Product Manager requires strict leadership skills. Most Group Product Managers take the big-picture approach and work with the team management. Others lean towards individual contributions and like to involve themselves hands-on with various products.  So, Group Product Manages can be found anywhere in the spectrum between collectivism (managing the product teams and monitoring their work) or individualism (getting hands-on with the product development process while managing product teams). It is ideal for candidates to have 5-8 years of relevant experience before applying for the role of Group Product Managers. Further, the higher you go up the Product Management ladder, the less you’ll find managers without relevant formal degrees. Formal education and relevant experience slowly become a requirement as you climb up the ladder.  The average salary of Group Product Managers in the US is:  $105,992 (Glassdoor) $157,288 (Payscale) $192,759 (Indeed)* 3. Director of Product Management  This is a purely supervisory role. The Director monitors all the other Product Managers we have discussed so far. They are responsible for maintaining smooth workflows without any hindrances. They need to collaborate with other Directors, brainstorm on new products and features, and take the role of Product Evangelists. Since this is a role very high up the ladder, this requires you to have 8-12 years of relevant experience in Product Management. Further, companies prefer candidates with a Master’s degree, or at least a bachelor’s, in marketing, finance, sales, management, or any similar field. The average salary of Director of Product Management in the US is:  $144,238 (Glassdoor) $141,449 (Payscale) $151,234 (Indeed) 3. Senior-Level Product Manager Salaries Here are some senior-level Product Manager jobs along with the range of salaries they offer:  1. VP of Product Management  The Vice President of Product Management can be thought of as the Product Manager for the organization itself (considering the ‘organization’ as a ‘product’). VP of Product Management is responsible for all the company-level tasks, like creating product strategies, company-wide implementation of the strategy, leading decision-making, and mentoring young Product Managers – all the while aligning with all business goals and vision.  VP of Product Managers require 10-15 years of prior experience and receive the following average salaries in the US:  $184,145 (Glassdoor) $171,162 (Payscale) $192,414 (Indeed) 2. Chief Product Officer  CPOs stand at the top of the product pyramid and drive all the relevant product operations while making insightful decisions to achieve business goals. They are responsible for managing the needs of the business, the internal teams, the product, and the users. The main aim of CPOs is to streamline the product development processes. In many companies, especially the younger ones, you’ll find the Vice President assuming the role of a CPO. This role requires 12-15 years of prior relevant experience. Here’s the average annual salary of CPOs in the US:  $195,757 (Glassdoor) $182,724 (Payscale) $191,414 (Indeed) Product Manager Salary in the US – Based on Location Product Manager salaries vary with geographic location. They are different across the globe – and even within the US, there exists a great deviation in Product Manager salaries. For example, the Product Managers in NY earn ~130% above the national average. Likewise, there is a good enough variation between different cities. Check out the following graph to get a bit of an idea about this variation: Image source Product Manager Salary in the US – Based on Industry The general rule is that fast-paced industries that are quickly moving towards technological adoption pay handsomely to Product Managers. As a result, there is a general deviation in salaries that can be noticed across different industries. Image source Product Manager Salary in the US – Based on Company Strength This goes without saying. The companies that are doing good will pay their Product Managers higher than the industry benchmark to attract and retain the best talents. While the average pay for Product Managers in the US is at around $108k, some of the leading companies even pay as much as $200k. Product Manager Salary in the US – Based on Certifications Certifications are extremely helpful – especially if you are a fresher or a mid-level professional. By completing certifications, you get a chance to learn a new skill and put that into action by working on some real-world projects. Certifications can also be a confidence booster for you. Further, with the skills, knowledge, experience, and confidence that you have after completing certifications, you will definitely stand a better chance of getting paid higher. Certifications also show your motivation and dedication towards the field!  One such certification that can help you skyrocket your Product Management career is the PG Program in Management offered by upGrad in association with IMT, Ghaziabad. Get yourself enrolled in the course, engage in collaborative projects with student-mentor interaction, learn in-person by industry experts, get personalized feedback and training, get 360-degree placement assistance, and secure your career as a Product Manager!  Get Started With Your Product Management Journey Today! We hope this article gives you clarity in terms of Product Manager salaries in the US. If you are an aspiring manager, another thing to keep in mind to bag a good-paying job is to have your resume up-to-the-mark with all the relevant experiences, education, certifications, and keywords.  This high-paying domain of operation – Product Management – will become even more crucial in the coming years as more and more products grace the market. As a result, Product Management is one job that looks to be very future-proof at the moment. Further, it welcomes people from all disciplines to try their skills and build a fruitful career. If you are an aspiring Product Manager, now is the time to get started with your learnings to bag the role you deserve. At upGrad, we have trained thousands of students across the globe and helped them begin their careers in Product Management from scratch. Reach out to us today and experience personalized education like never before! 
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by Aaron Edgell

26 Aug 2021

Product Owner vs. Product Manager: Who Runs the Show?
Try Googling “product manager vs. product owner”, and you’ll be greeted with the following related questions: This shows the air of confusion that exists in both businesses and professionals with regard to these two terms. While product owners and managers are both extremely important for Agile project management teams, the duties they perform tend to differ.  If you’re looking to switch to the world of Product Development and are finding suitable roles for yourself, it’s important to know about the differences between these two profiles. Let’s dive right into the intricacies of these terms and try to answer the much-debated question – who runs the show? Owner, Manager: Ambiguity Begets Confusion! One of the primary reasons for the confusion between these two terms is the sheer ambiguity of the terms ‘owner’ and ‘manager’. At first glance, it would look as if the owner is higher than the manager, on a typical organizational hierarchy. However, the Agile framework breaks down these predefined hierarchies.  In an Agile framework, both managers and owners work in tandem and act as two crucial arms for the entire product development process. Here’s a brief distinction between PMs and POs:  Managers are more strategic in nature, in the sense that they drive various visions and goals for the product.  Owners are more tactical and are looking for ways to refine, modify, or improve the product features and functions.  With these basic differences in place, let’s talk about some more similarities and differences in the two roles.  Similarities and Differences in Product Owners and Product Managers  Product Owners have got more to do with handling product teams and ensuring that all the goals are met. Managers, on the other hand, are more concerned with customers and their response to the product. In this light, here is a key difference between product managers and product owners:  Product managers are more customer-facing. They perform market research, competitor analysis, surveys and questionnaires, and other tasks in order to understand customer sentiments and requirements. Then, they develop the vision and strategies for the product.  Product owners, on the other hand, are more team-facing. They work closely with different components of the product team and are responsible for ensuring top-notch work from the product teams. They also take care of things like time-to-market and other important deadlines that shouldn’t be missed.  The above reasons might look confusing if you’re a beginner. After all, these two roles seem very overlapping if you look at them from the outside. You’re not wrong in thinking that, and to clarify things a bit more for you, let’s look at some essential overlaps between the roles of product owners and product managers.  Product managers, while being customer-facing, need to stay in touch with the product teams. They need to be a part of Scrum meetings and work on wireframes and prototypes. That is because PMs are responsible for deciding the overall vision, so it’s essential to work closely with the product teams.  Product owners, on the other hand, must understand and empathize with customer requirements. If they lack this, any product that they work on will keep missing out on various pain points of the customers. Product owners should also liaise with the product manager to collect customer feedback, participate in product demos, write the user story, and more.  Here are some more differences between product owners and product managers, elaborate for a better understanding:  Product owners  Product managers The voice of customers for creating product vision.  The custodian of product vision on the behalf of stakeholders and business sponsors.  Responsible for delivering value to the end-users.  Accountable for roadmaps and strategic business outcomes. Ensure that the voice of the customers is heard across different product decisions throughout the organization.  Refine and adjust product strategy and vision based on customer sentiments.  Maintain a short-term to mid-term focus on product sprints and releases. Have a long-term focus on customer support and ongoing product capabilities.  Responsible for defining user stories, epics, and deciding the success criteria. Accountable for defining high-level epics and the MVP. Product Owner vs. Product Manager – Which Path to Take?  Apart from the business needs, there are various factors that go into determining the correct path for you. Depending on how you want your career trajectory to be, you can pick either of the two job roles. 20 years ago, the difference between these two job roles was more significant. However, because of Agile workflow, the differences have decreased drastically.  Here’s one strategic distinction for you to keep in mind before deciding the path you should take.  Product owners help in building the product. So, if you have an inclination towards engineering products and working with the Agile project management paradigm, you might want to take a deeper look at the product owner job role.  Product managers perform market research and competitor analysis. So, if your aptitude is more towards researching and finding out the missing features and working collaboratively with different teams like marketing, sales, product dev, and more, then product management might be the right fit for you. With that settled, let’s now move to the more obvious questions – what precise skills are required to succeed at both these job roles?   Product Owner vs. Product Manager – A Comparison of Skills Here is a list of some essential skills required for product owner job roles:  Team management skills. A successful product owner needs to be able to build trust across different teams. That requires good team management skills.  Communication capabilities. Product owners need to constantly communicate their findings to stakeholders and development teams. Therefore, the ability to communicate seamlessly is a must to excel as a product owner.  Design thinking. Product owners must be comfortable with forming hypothesis-driven development environments in order to drive product innovations. Customer empathy. Product owners need to be aware of their customers’ needs and should know the ways to bridge that gap using product modifications or additional features. Now, let’s look at some key skills required to become a successful product manager:  Research skills. Product managers need to be hands-on with research skills. You should be able to look into the market numbers and figure out the next best steps for your product.  Leadership skills. Since product managers are responsible for taking care of long-term product vision, they must have strong leadership skills to keep things under control.  Presentation skills. The second most important thing after performing market research is presenting the information to stakeholders of the product. This requires the product manager to have impeccable presentation skills.  Technical knowledge. Product managers work more closely with development teams and guide engineers. As a result, they need to be hands-on with the technologies on which the product runs, and should be available to help the developers whenever required.  In Conclusion As you can see, the difference between a product owner and a product manager is not that huge, but it’s important to know all the subtleties in order to make the right career decision.  If you’re looking for a career change and are seeking professional help – upGrad is just for you. We have a solid 85+ countries learner base, 40,000+ paid learners globally, and 500,000+ happy working professionals. Our 360-degree career assistance, combined with the exposure of studying and brainstorming with global students, allows you to make the most of your learning experience. Reach out to us today for a curated list of courses around Data Science, Machine Learning, Management, Technology, and a lot more!  Our Product Management Certification Program is designed to get you up and running in the world of product management. Check out the course details and reach out to us to book your seat! 
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by Jitesh Goel

27 Jul 2021

What is Product Development? Everything You Need to Know About
Product Development refers to the holistic process of creating a product that has some utility. It could also refer to the steps required to upgrade or modify some existing product or add new features. In simple words – Product Development is all about ensuring everything – about a new feature, product, or modification – goes seamlessly, from conception to implementation.  Product Development broadly contains the following key elements:  Innovating: To pave the way for new features and products that solve the customers’ pain points.  Improving: The current system or product in order to get the update rolling quickly.  Enhancing: The current techniques to improve the overall customer experience.  Through this article, we’ll help you understand the nuances behind Product Development, along with some key tips that you must keep in mind while leading any Product Development process.  The Product Development Process! The Product Development process consists of all the steps required to take a product from inception to marketing. The process starts with ideation and ends with marketing strategies, pricing techniques, distribution strategies, and other go-to-market strategies.  The Product Development process aims to bring something new to existence and mitigate various risk factors that can be caused by elements like poor product development, noncompetitive pricing, low brand awareness, delayed or premature market entry, and such.  Further, when we look at the numbers, the importance of a well-established Product Development process gets even clearer. Here are some such statistical facts to consider: Only 1 in 7 product ideas end up in a successful product. Only 4 in 7 product ideas enter the development stage. 25%-45% of launched products end up failing.  Further, according to research conducted by Wheelwright and Clark, businesses that go about Product Development in a structured manner are more likely to experience success in their endeavours. As a result of this, companies across the spectrum are looking for Product Development experts to help them get things into place.  The Product world is extremely inclusive and allows people from different backgrounds to be a part of it. If you’re, too, aspiring to be a Product professional, here are the important steps of a Product Development process that you should know about. Key Steps of a Product Development Process By now, the importance of Product Development must be clear to you. Now, let’s dive into the step-by-step process that makes Product Development seamless and more effective.  #1. Ideation and Conceptualization  It begins with defining the initial concept for your product. Conceptualization or idea generation is all about systematically searching for fresh concepts and ideas that solve your customer’s problem. Any business typically generates a number of ideas, with only a handful of them being useful.  Sources of new ideas for this step could be: Discussion with the developers and the development team.  Conference with sales and marketing teams.  Performing comprehensive market and competitor analysis.  Checking data and analyzing trends and patterns.  At the end of this step, you should have a proper idea or a concept documented with you for presentation or approval.   #2. Researching and Validation Once the right product idea is noted down, the next step comes in the form of leaping ahead to the production. However, this can be a mistake if you fail to validate the idea first.  Researching and validating ensures that the product solves the needs of the people it is aimed at. There are many different ways for validating or researching the listed product idea, including:  Crowdfunding campaign Online surveys Online forums like Quora or Reddit Market and competitor research #3. Creating Business Plan In this step, you need to come up with a full-fledged business plan for the product idea you just got validated. This encompasses all the financial elements that will be involved in marketing and developing the product.  #4. Setting a Prototype Once the finances are by and far settled, it comes to creating a prototype of the product. Think of the prototype as a preliminary product to test product designing, validate user hypothesis, present to stakeholders, and use as a beta for marketing purposes. The prototype can either be a physical or a digital product. This is the stage from where things start to get rolling in the Product Development process! #5. Testing the Prototype Once you’ve created the prototype, it’s time to test it with potential customers. This can either be done informally by reaching out to current customers or by using formal focus groups. The purpose of testing is to generate genuine feedback that you can work on. In this stage, you should be seeking the following answer: What do the customers like or dislike about the prototype? What part of it do they feel needs improvements or modifications? What do they feel about your price point?  Are they likely to recommend such a product to their friends?  #6. Financial decisions and costing By the time you reach this stage, you’ll have a pretty solid understanding and vision of the product you’re going to build. The costing stage is all about taking the data collected so far and adding everything up to the cost of goods sold. This is done to determine the gross margin and retail price. These prices will include things like manufacturing costs, factory costs, raw materials, and shipping costs if any.  #7. Final Product Designing  With the final prototype and costing settled, it’s time to write all the technicalities associated with the product design phase. In this stage, work on the type of product you want to launch in the market. You may work with external designers or developers and help them understand your prototype and idea and get started with the final design and development.   #8. Marketing and Distributing the Product Once the product is designed and developed as per your liking, it’s about getting the word out there! Marketing and sales are extremely crucial, and if not done right, all the previous efforts will go to waste. This is the final stage of the Product Development process and includes all the go-to-market and distribution strategies to get the product / feature out to more people.   Product Development Best Practices  With the Product Development process in place, here are some key practices that you most definitely should keep in mind in order to make the most out of the process. Here are they:  Always start with empathizing with customers and understanding their needs and demands.  Perform excessive market and competitor analysis to get a clearer picture.  Communicate across different arms of the organization – from marketing, sales, development, designing to the stakeholders.  Always have a step-by-step system in place before beginning with any product development tasks.  Set realistic timelines and goals.  Focus on the ideas that can be executed by your company’s skills and bandwidth.   From Conceptualization to Implementation! Any product goes through numerous evolutions from the first stage to the last stage. Each stage plays an important role in the overall product development – so, you need to monitor each stage very carefully and look out for any patterns or anomalies. No matter what product, feature, or modification you’re developing, it should always be done by putting in all the necessary efforts into preparation if you wish to set yourself up for a successful final product! At upGrad, we’ve trained thousands of Product aspirants across the globe and helped them land their dream jobs. We’ve guided students from varied backgrounds – like Computers, Economics, Mathematics, and more – and provided them with the much-needed foundation in the field of Data Science.  If you’re looking for a career change and are seeking professional help – upGrad is just for you. We have a solid 85+ countries learner base, 40,000+ paid learners globally, and 500,000+ happy working professionals. Our 360-degree career assistance, combined with the exposure of studying and brainstorming with global students, allows you to make the most of your learning experience. Reach out to us today for a curated list of courses around Data Science, Machine Learning, Management, Technology, and a lot more!  Our Product Management Certification Program is designed to get you up and running in the world of product management. Check out the course details and reach out to us to book your seat! 
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by Jitesh Goel

24 Jul 2021

How To Become an AI Product Manager? Start Your Journey with these Actionable Steps
As AI professionals’ demand has increased substantially, now is the perfect time to pursue a career in this industry. In this digital age, the best way to gain a competitive advantage is to employ AI and ML technologies to innovate your business model radically. AI product managers are one such professional who pioneers business innovations through their extensive knowledge of artificial intelligence and related technologies.  Essentially, AI Product Management aims to leverage data science technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning to innovate and improve products while transforming the world around us. This article will help you understand how you can become an AI product manager and kickstart your career. What is an AI Product Manager?  An AI product manager is responsible for the entire lifecycle of an AI-based product. What does it mean? It means as an AI product manager, you’ll be responsible for all the stages of product development and launch, including conception to launch.  AI product managers transform business strategies into well-defined product plans. They must also conduct market research and ensure that they launch viable trending products accordingly. Senior AI product managers act as the bridge between the development teams and the stakeholders of the organisation. AI product managers work with multiple teams to ensure that all the stages of product development take place smoothly.  Steps to Become an AI Product Manager Every career requires certain preparation. Knowing how to pursue a career helps you plan out your goals accordingly and get your desired job quickly. The same is the case for a career as an AI product manager. The following steps will help you understand the pathway to becoming an AI product manager.  1. Learn about AI and relevant concepts To become an AI product manager, you’ll need to learn about AI and its various concepts. Without a keen understanding of AI, you can’t pursue a career in this field. An AI product manager’s role requires you to be an expert in artificial intelligence and its implementations. You should know how to use AI to solve complex problems and design a product accordingly. Some of the key concepts of artificial intelligence you should know about are: Algorithms and Modelling Machine Learning  Deep Learning Natural Language Processing At upGrad, we offer a Master of Science in Machine Learning & AI program with Liverpool John Moores University and International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore. This program teaches you all the necessary skills and concepts to become an AI professional.  Some of the concepts you will learn in our AI course are:  Data Science Fundamentals A lot of concepts you will learn in AI are based on data science. Hence, you’ll have to start with learning the basics of data science and understand its applications.  Our course will first introduce you to Python and teach you how to use Python in Data Science. Afterwards, you will learn about data visualisation, data analysis, and the use of SQL in data science.  We will cover exploratory data analysis, which is among the most important data science concepts in AI. You will study inferential statistics and give assignments on all the topics you have learned so far.  Machine Learning (Basics and Advanced)  After we have covered the fundamentals of data science, our course will teach you about machine learning. Machine learning refers to processes where a system can perform and learn from specific actions without human intervention.  You will learn about the different machine learning concepts and applications, including linear regression, logistic regression, and Naive Bayes. Once you have completed the basics, we will cover the advanced concepts of machine learning, such as: Advanced regression Support vector machine Tree models Unsupervised learning By the end of this module, you’d be familiar with multiple machine learning algorithms and would be able to use them in real-life applications.  Natural Language Processing Natural language processing is a subfield of AI, computer science, and linguistics where a machine focuses on interpreting and understanding human language through text or audio.  The auto-correct feature of your smartphone is a prominent example of how a machine can understand human language. It’s also a fine example of natural language processing (NLP, in short).  Our course will teach you about the different NLP implementations such as lexical processing, syntactic processing, and semantic processing. NLP has various applications such as text-to-speech software, sentiment analysis, etc. Deep Learning Deep learning is a branch of machine learning where your machine focuses on imitating the human brain. You will create and use neural networks, understand how they work, and how you can use them in real-life applications. We will teach you about the different kinds of neural networks, such as convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and recurrent neural networks (RNNs).  Reinforcement Learning Reinforcement learning is a section of machine learning focused on taking suitable action to get the maximum rewards in a specific situation. It makes your algorithms more efficient and effective, allowing you to get better results. It is one of the three machine learning paradigms. The other two are supervised learning and unsupervised learning, which we have covered in the course’s previous modules. This module will make you familiar with reinforcement learning and deep reinforcement learning so you can use them with other AI and ML implementations.  Applications of AI and Machine Learning Throughout our AI and Machine Learning course, you will be working on projects and assignments. They will test your knowledge and help you apply what you’ve learnt during the course.  Understanding the applications of different AI and machine learning concepts is a must-have if you want to become an AI product manager. That’s because as an AI product manager, you’ll be responsible for using all the different concepts to solve problems and enhance your organisation’s product. Our Master of Science in Machine Learning & AI program offers 12 case studies, 11 coding assignments and ten capstone projects to choose from.  Some of the projects you’ll work on during our AI and ML course: Detect skin cancer from images Build a chatbot Train an agent to play Tic Tac Toe Gesture recognition Build a recommendation system.  Our course will make you familiar with all the industry staple technologies, including Python, TensorFlow, Keras, MySQL, etc.  2. Choose your Specialisation Area. Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals of AI and ML, it’s time to choose your industry and specialisation domain. Reflect on your career aspirations – which industry do you wish to enter? Finance, or eCommerce, or IT? After identifying your interests, shortlist the companies you want to work for. Do your homework and research on the chosen domain to understand better what responsibilities you will have to undertake, what skills employers demand of you, and so on.  AI product managers must combine their tech knowledge with business acumen to craft foolproof strategies. Thus, they must always stay updated with general industry trends. The bottom line is that you must know the industry inside-out to best market your skills and expertise to potential employers.  3. Prepare for Interviews Even if you have the necessary skills and qualifications, if you aren’t prepared for a technical interview, it’ll be quite challenging for you to become an AI product manager. Recruiters ask various technical interviews questions focused on understanding the candidate’s knowledge of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and relevant topics. They also want to know about the candidate’s analytical, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills throughout the interview. That’s why you should put in the extra effort while preparing for an AI product manager interview. With every upGrad course, you get access to our Student Success Corner. Our dedicated benefits include:  Personalised resume feedback We will help you craft the perfect resume to become an AI product manager through personalised resume feedback. You will receive 1:1 resume review sessions with industry experts and access to profile building workshops. These live sessions will help you build a compelling and attractive CV suitable for an AI product manager’s role.  Company-specific preparation At upGrad, we offer just-in-time interviews where we give you company and role-specific preparation right before the actual interview. We offer mock interviews so you can get rid of any anxiety or nervousness before the actual interview.  We have tons of carefully curated interview resources that you can use to enhance your preparation and bag the role.  Networking opportunities During the course, you will get access to a live discussion forum for peer to peer doubt resolution. We offer peer to peer networking opportunities with an alumni pool of 10,000+. You can network with fellow course students during the program too.  Dedicated mentorship You will get a dedicated career mentor and an industry mentor to help you eliminate confusion and doubts. Having a mentor ensures that you don’t make novice mistakes, and if you do, you learn quickly from the same.  Start your AI Journey Today! After learning the necessary skills, getting certified, and preparing for the interview, you can easily become an AI product manager.  With all the learnt skills you can get active on other competitive platforms as well to test your skills and get even more hands-on. If you are interested to learn more about the course, check out the page of Executive PG Programme in Machine Learning & AI and talk to our career counsellor for more information.
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by Pavan Vadapalli

03 May 2021

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