From New PM to Manager: Navigating the Road to Promotion

Oct 29, 2023

The Value of Education in Product Management

Product management is a dynamic and ever-evolving field. To stay ahead of the curve and excel in your role, continuous learning and education are essential. While experience and on-the-job learning are valuable, formal education can provide you with a solid foundation of knowledge and skills that will set you apart from your peers.

1. Building a Strong Skill Set

Education in product management goes beyond learning the basics of the role. It equips you with a comprehensive skill set that encompasses areas such as market research, customer insights, strategic planning, and project management. By investing in your education, you can develop a well-rounded skill set that will enable you to tackle complex challenges and make informed decisions.

2. Keeping Up with Industry Trends

The field of product management is constantly evolving, with new technologies, methodologies, and market trends emerging regularly. By pursuing education, you can stay up to date with the latest industry trends and best practices. This knowledge will not only enhance your ability to perform your current role effectively but also position you as a thought leader and innovator within your organization.

3. Expanding Your Network

Education provides you with the opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals and industry experts. By participating in educational programs, workshops, and conferences, you can expand your network and gain valuable insights from others in the field. These connections can open doors to new opportunities, mentorship, and collaboration, accelerating your career growth.

The Path to Promotion: Steps to Success

Achieving a promotion from a new product manager to a manager requires a strategic approach and a commitment to continuous improvement. Let's explore the steps you can take to navigate this road successfully.

1. Adopt the Manager's Perspective

To become a manager, you need to start thinking like one. Shift your focus from individual contributions to the bigger picture. Consider how your role impacts the entire organization and how you can leverage the talents of your team to drive overall success. This shift in mindset demonstrates your readiness for a managerial position and sets the foundation for future success.

"Think about your prior job. How did you impact your department? Now, apply that perspective to your entire work group." - Dr. Carolyn Goerner

2. Demonstrate Promotional Behavior

To impress your superiors and increase your chances of promotion, you need to embody promotional behavior. Master the three key skills essential for promotion: meeting deadlines, effective communication, and connecting the dots. By consistently delivering on these skills, you showcase your ability to handle the responsibilities of a manager and contribute to the organization's success.

"Hit deadlines, make sure your communication is timely and accurate, and 'connect the dots' by understanding how your role benefits the entire organization." - Elizabeth Lotardo and Lisa Earle McLeod

3. Grow Your Network

Building a strong professional network is crucial for career advancement. Actively engage with your peers, both within and outside your organization. Foster personal connections by sharing your passion for your projects and demonstrating your commitment to the team's success. Additionally, seek out mentors who can guide you on your path to promotion and provide valuable insights and advice.

"Be personal. Let people know why the project matters to you. When you show why you care, it helps other people care too." - Elizabeth Lotardo and Lisa Earle McLeod

4. Set Clear Goals and Deliver Results

As a product manager, setting clear goals and delivering results is key to your success and advancement. Collaborate with your manager to establish measurable objectives that align with organizational goals. Regularly track your progress, identify areas for improvement, and make adjustments as necessary. By consistently meeting and exceeding your goals, you demonstrate your ability to drive outcomes and create value for the organization.

"I am far more impressed by someone who sets and hits an achievable goal than someone who sets and misses a far-reaching, not-so-attainable goal." - Kristen Bryant Smith

5. Communicate Your Impact

Don't underestimate the importance of effective communication in your journey to promotion. Articulate your achievements, highlight your contributions, and share the impact of your work with your superiors and colleagues. Take the initiative to communicate your progress and the value you bring to the organization. This not only raises your visibility but also positions you as a proactive and influential team member.

"You're not just responsible for creating awesome products - you're also responsible for creating an awesome YOU!" - Tanay

6. Seek Feedback and Continuous Improvement

To grow as a product manager and increase your chances of promotion, embrace feedback and actively seek opportunities for improvement. Regularly solicit input from your manager, peers, and team members. Act on constructive feedback and demonstrate a commitment to your professional development. By continuously learning and evolving, you position yourself as a high-performing and adaptable professional.

"Sharpen your craft by reading books, attending conferences, and staying up-to-date with industry trends. Share your insights with your team and encourage others to do the same." - Tanay

7. Advocate for Yourself

Advocating for yourself is an essential step in securing a promotion. Communicate your career aspirations and goals to your manager, and seek their guidance on the path to advancement. Be proactive in expressing your interest in taking on new challenges and responsibilities. Demonstrate your readiness for the next level by taking ownership of your role and consistently delivering results.

"It's important to have an open and honest conversation with your manager. Let them know that you're interested in advancing your career and set clear goals and expectations for what you need to do to get there." - Tanay

8. Embrace New Opportunities

If you find yourself in an environment that hinders your growth and career progression, consider exploring new opportunities. Evaluate whether the organization values your development and provides the resources and support necessary for advancement. Embrace new challenges and seek out companies and teams that align with your aspirations and values. Remember, your career progression is in your hands, and it's essential to choose a path that allows you to reach your full potential.

"If it has been 2+ years without a promotion in sight, it just might be time to reflect and assess if you're in the right place to grow like a mighty oak tree or wilt away like a neglected houseplant." - Tanay


Advancing from a new product manager to a successful manager requires a combination of education (like our Product Management course at Gigantic), skills, commitment, and strategic action. By investing in your education, adopting the manager's perspective, demonstrating promotional behavior, building a strong network, setting clear goals, and advocating for yourself, you can navigate the road to promotion with confidence. Embrace continuous improvement, communicate your impact, and seek out new opportunities that align with your career aspirations. Remember, your growth as a product manager is a journey, and with the right mindset and actions, you can achieve your goals and unlock new levels of success.

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