Reflections from a designer turned product manager: 6 unexpected differences

As developing software becomes common with more and more teams I have noticed many designers transition to the product management cohort. This transition in many ways is due to a lack of leadership in our industry. Designers struggle with clarity and confidence due to the unfortunate lack of guidance.

I'm sharing this article as a good reference for the designers who do decide to make the transition into product management. But also to encourage designers to reach out for mentorship as well as always be vocal about your work which in turn enable trust to open a seat at the table with the projects you work on.

I needed to look inside myself to understand why I felt incredibly energized and fulfilled on some days, but stressed and drained on others. I believe that finding your “happy place” comes down to understanding your personality traits, because the truth is many designers could be great product managers with some training and skill acquisition. Here are some questions that might be helpful to answer before picking a role:

  • What’s your ideal work environment? What’s your non-ideal?

  • What’s your communication style?

  • How do you like to be managed?

  • What gives you energy? What drains you?

  • How do you want to bring value to a team?