If there’s any profession that needs regular gut-checks, crisis advice, and perpetual professional development, it’s product managers. It’s a high-stress business that can be isolating--meaning the best people to turn to for support are other product managers.
In one analysis from Pragmatic Marketing, jobs with the title “product management” have doubled in the past few years--so there are plenty of peers with whom to collaborate. Whether you need to decide which management system to use, which product lifecycle management service to consult with, or just want advice on reaching a professional goal, there may be no better teacher than those who have been doing it for a while.
Typically, product managers would add to their knowledge via professional events and other in-person meetings that organizations regularly host. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has seen almost every product marketing conference canceled for 202. The good news is that the internet provides plenty of opportunities to fill the gaps. To help out our readers, we dug into all the online communities where product managers swap ideas and turned our evaluation into this list of top 5 forums.
Built on the tagline, “Innovators connect here to build and market products customers love,” Roadmap sees several new posts a week. Unlike other forums where someone can post a statement and encourage discussion, this community is entirely in Q&A format. Posts are classified among 12 categories, including: methodologies, product launches, strategy, careers, tools, strategies, and marketing. Casual browsers and frequent visitors can search by most recent and trending, and those on a quest for specific information can search by keyword. The internet forum’s algorithm also suggestions posts that might be of interest based on your activity on the website.
Product Manager HQ
Global Slack product community Product Manager HQ boasts more than 7,000 international members from 6,000 corporations across 40 channels--and a lifetime membership only costs $25. The founders say participating in the online community has benefits for all types of product managers. This Slack channel is ideal for those who are still working their way up the product management ladder and will help members break into the industry and make connections with other PMs from influential companies like Google. For the more seasoned product manager, it’s a chance to mentor as well as continue learning. Forum characteristics include Ask Me Anythings (similar to Reddit’s AMAs) and discounts to tools, events, and other resources. Search for the conversations you need by hashtag (like #design, #pmjobs, #data) or channel. The site also offers a crash course called “One Week PM.”
As the largest Slack community for PMs, Product School is not to be missed. The community also offers AMAs--almost every week--and has more than 50,000 members. This Slack group is big on providing insights and expertise from top product managers, meaning the answers to your questions will come from experience rather than be generally crowdsourced at all times. Some channels are location-specific, while others are topic-specific (job searching, technology-focused, or events, for example).
HH Product Management
In the five years that private Facebook group HH Product Management has been around, it’s been growing. With more than 6,000 members, the page averages a couple of posts a day--making it easy to keep up with every discussion. It targets those in the tech industry and primarily involves intel around product management careers. But be warned: participants must abide by a set of rules seeking and recruiting (e.g. no posting resumes). That’s actually a good thing--the moderators want to make sure the posts remain widely relevant and interesting, and that it doesn’t become another job postings site. Current mentors are leaders from Tumblr, Rhubarb Studios, and a former PM from Yahoo!.
Available in an app with a layout similar to Quora, upGrad has something for every product manager. Associated with disciplines like business analytics, data science, software development, and digital marketing, this online community ties back to the company’s MBA offerings (among other programs). In addition to the Q&A posts and a chance to rub elbows with industry experts found on other online forums, upGrad features access to interview questions, informative articles, networking and event-specific forums, and case studies. Send an SMS to get the link, which will allow you to download the app.
If you liked this post and love online communities--and also have cross-over with data analysis (what PM doesn’t?)--check out our blog on the top 5 forums for data analytics.