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25 posts tagged with "PM Thought Collectives"

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· 2 min read
Yiyang Hibner

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Hi I’m Manjusha. I’m a product manager 9-5, a real estate investor 5-9 and an international traveler. I’m single and live in Seattle in a townhome I househack.

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Hi I’m Zhe. I’m a product manager 10/10/5 (JK). I’ve picked up many random hobbies during the pandemic, but have been pretty interested in Keto cooking/baking since 2020.

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Hi! I’m Joyce and a newly-wed. I live in Burlingame, but work at a company in Toronto which means WFH every day and EST hours. I enjoy doing pilates, fishing, cooking, eating, and watching reality TV shows.

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I am Yiyang - a mom to a 19-month energetic boy and reside with my husband in the Bay Area. I love watching TV shows like “Succession” and other dramas on HBO and consider myself a lifelong learner on random but interesting things.

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Hi, I’m Alex. I am a product manager 24/7, crypto enthusiast and K-Drama lover as well as very much into politics and sports. Married with 2 active kids living in San Mateo.

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A random weekday

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A random weekend

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Any trends that stood out to you? Would love to hear your thoughts and your routines in the comments too!

· 3 min read
Yiyang Hibner

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Author: Tanvi Shah

In the past few years of mentoring junior product managers and reviewing their resumes, I have realized that writing a resume is hard and requires multiple edits and eyes before making the cut. After multiple iterations, I have landed on a framework that seems to work well.

See below a shell of my resume. Feel free to use it to create your own and tweak it as needed.

First and foremost, your resume needs to pass two tests

  1. The ATS scanner test (machine scanner) which looks for specific words and skills
  2. The human scanner test, where the recruiter and hiring manager only spend around 5-10 to make a decision to move forward

To ensure that your resume passes both these tests, I have 5 tips for you.

What should be the information hierarchy?

The information hierarchy of a resume is important to help find different sections of information quickly and easily. Below is an example of the hierarchy that has worked for me.

  • Name, email address, phone number
  • Work experience
  • Education & Skills
  • Volunteer work (if any)

I am sure there are other frameworks and hierarchies that may work. Let me know in the comments what has worked for you.

What kind of details are needed in a resume ?

After the ATS scan test, the hiring manager needs to understand the work that you have done and if it aligns with his/her needs.

Below is a list of things that are needed on the resume which involve minimal bandwidth for scanning.

  • Job title, Name of company, period of work
  • 3-5 bullets under each job title
  • Each bullet should roughly follow the framework.
  • Did X to achieve Y metric.
  • X being the feature or product
  • Y being the metric that measures the success of the product. Metrics could include business metrics (revenue, ) or user metrics (customer care tickets, etc.)
  • Use verbs that showcase PM skills like collaboration, leadership, execution.
  • Words like “Created, collaborated, Worked with, Led the team”

What to surface and what to not surface?

Ensure you add only the relevant experiences and have a “Other work experiences” section if the resume starts to get too long. This helps to highlight the extensive work experiences you have while keeping it short and simple.

How long should the resume be?

  • Associate, Junior PMs - 1 page
  • Senior and above - 2 pages

Technologies used to create resumes

  • Google docs/ MS word to pdf
  • Canva

Don’t forget to product manage your own resume, put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager and recruiters, and give them what they need in terms of words, verbs and business impact. And good luck in your job search!

Feel free to comment with other tips that I may have missed

· 4 min read
Yiyang Hibner

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Author: Parul Goel

As a product leader with two decades of experience, I have led several large teams, and helped resolve numerous tricky situations. So when I became a first-time mom last year, I felt ready for this new role. I was wrong. My baby has been the most challenging stakeholder I have encountered - demanding, temperamental and with an overload of cuteness that makes being rational impossible. Taking care of her has stretched me in ways I didn’t think would be possible. Here are the top three leadership lessons I have learned by taking care of her, and I will apply them to my job as well now that I am back.

Read the cues and take proactive actions

My daughter gave me plenty of hunger cues before she would start crying. The times I was successful at reading them, we created insta-worthy moments together. However, if I missed them, I had to deal with a frantic baby howling at the top of her lungs. Her heart piercing cries fueled my panic to a point where I needed to be swaddled and rocked!

At work as well, there are usually cues that signal trouble before the situation escalates, for example, a casual remark revealing brewing tension between two team members. As a leader, learning to catch and blow out these little fires will save you time. You can turn your attention to those high value, strategic tasks that usually lose out to such urgent firefighting.

Take the time to listen

As a new mom, anxiety has been my constant companion. Is she being fed enough? Is she too cold? Is that rash on her neck “normal”? During this time, an excellent team of healthcare workers came to my rescue. However, some were more successful in reassuring me and helping me learn how to take care of my baby than others. Even though my worries were run of the mill for them, something they had probably heard about countless times, they still let me empty my glass of anxiety by letting me talk about my experience. While others cut me off to get into solutions for the sake of efficiency. At times, it made me feel like they were rushing through the appointment, like my worries were not important enough for their time.

At work, when we are part of an emotionally charged conversation, it might be tempting to jump in to share our solutions. Let’s cut to the chase and talk about what needs to be done. But do resist that temptation and instead create the space for others to tell their story. They will hear you better once they feel heard. If you haven’t already, check out Matt Mochary’s great guide on how to make someone feel heard.

Grow and evolve constantly

Just as I would think I was getting the hang of parenting, my baby would change the game. Any strategies I devised to put her to sleep at night were only effective for a night or two. I had to update my repertoire of parenting tools on a daily basis. It was exhausting, but it made me a more confident parent. This experience also helped me grow as a person by making me more tolerant to change and unpredictability.

To be able to succeed in different conditions, cultures and contexts, we also need to constantly expand our leadership skills. Deb Liu, the CEO of, has used new year resolutions to build new skills and habits. The best leaders are constantly learning. So go ahead and put in the work to develop new skills. It will make you a more confident and well rounded leader.

Both motherhood and leadership skills need hands-on experience. So try out these leadership lessons and share your experience with me in the comments!

· 4 min read
Yiyang Hibner

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Co-authors: Joyce Kim and Rohan Shah

If you are a product manager, you will definitely receive feedback to “improve your communication skills” at some point in your career. You’re probably thinking: what could that possibly mean? How can I get any product features shipped at all, without having strong written/verbal communication skills already?

I was accustomed to that mindset until I got some surprising feedback from my peers at Pinterest. I was told that I really needed to improve my communication skills, but I wasn’t sure how. I thought I was doing a fairly good job - preparing meeting agendas, checking progress over Slack, and following up when something was falling behind. What more was I supposed to do? It turns out that I could have done a lot more in both my professional and personal life. While I am still in the process of improving my communication skills, here are 3 things that have worked well for me:

1. Send out a quick meeting summary

My former skip manager Marco Matos told me an incredible tip during a 1-on-1: always send out a quick meeting summary after major stakeholder meetings. He has seen extraordinary communicators follow this habit for years. It doesn’t have to be an extensive summary (and almost certainly shouldn’t be a wall of text!); a high level overview with key points and action items is sufficient. This strategy is both straightforward and effective. By doing this, you will demonstrate your skills of getting things organized, having communication clarity, and also a solid documented record for everyone involved. As a bonus, you now have a shareable artifact that helps your extended team feel more involved in the communication and establishes trust.

2. Seek to understand then to be understood

“Seek to understand then to be understood” is part of Stephen Covey’s best-selling book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and has always struck a chord with me. As depicted in the picture below, people can often feel frustrated communicating when it appears that the other side doesn’t understand what is being said – for PMs, this can often happen with your cross-functional partners, especially in deep engineering, design, or marketing conversations. There is also a Chinese saying “Play Strings to the Cow” 对牛弹琴 (English equivalent is “Cast pearls before the swine”). In my opinion, if your audience doesn’t understand you very well, it is likely due to the fact you don’t understand them from their perspective either. To effectively communicate with a “win” in mind, consider what winning means for others and how you can work together to achieve a common goal. Listening and interpreting are crucial parts of communication as well.

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Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

3. Reiterate and confirm alignments

My toddler has frequently gotten frustrated with me to the point of tears whenever he has wanted to go out to play – even if I tell him “let’s go.” In the past few months, I’ve come to realize that it’s a small matter of misaligned communication. He thinks that my confirmation means that we will leave “right at this moment,” but I often have to finish up some small task like changing clothes or wrapping up a quick work message. To improve this, I’ve recently started saying “we will go out in XXX minutes after we finish YYY things. Here, let’s put your snacks and water bottle in the backpack first. Now let’s put on your shoes …. etc.” To my surprise, he has been able to grasp this concept quickly and has become a lot more patient.

Applying the same methodology at work, when we have major interactions with cross-functional teams, we need to ensure everyone is on the same page as mental models can easily differ. A great way to achieve this is to summarize meeting progress periodically (e.g. take a pause and conclude what’s been agreed on) and confirm alignment towards the end of the meeting, with an email to close any gaps or continue further discussions (see what I did there? Reiterating point 1!).

Communication is an extremely valuable and transferable skill. Being an effective communicator can also help you become a better partner/parent. I always have room to improve my communication skills and would love to learn from you in the comments too!

· 5 min read
Yiyang Hibner

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Recently a timeline graph has gone viral on a few social media platforms: it illustrated the amount of time we spent with ourselves and people around us. Three trends stood out to me:

  • The time spent with family and friends remains relatively steady after the age of 30.
  • We spend a lot more time alone after 30.
  • We spend the most time with our children between 30-45.

Looking at my own experiences this past year (recovery from depression twice), I should definitely give a lot of credit to my family as well as my awesome friends. They are the ones who took me out to hot pot and listened to me vent and cry. They are the ones who told me that the Blind app is too toxic and bad for my mental health (so I uninstalled it immediately), and they are the ones who sent me memes and funny news to cheer me up when I needed them the most. I cherish my friends like they are family. Our bonds have only gotten stronger over time as we have known each other for years.

However, as we grow older, making friends has become almost exponentially harder. Our lives get busier and are filled with errands and endless to-do lists. Meanwhile, we are a lot pickier about whom we spend time with because time is the most precious gift we can ever give. In her book “Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond”, Lydia Denworth notes that the 30s is the decade where “friendship goes to die”. But what if we are looking to expand our social circle? I wanted to share three recommendations having tried them myself.

1.Try out something new to meet others

We live in a world full of social media platforms but many still feel disconnected.There are great offline methods like weddings, hiking/running group activities, Improv classes, or even play dates to meet other people. I went to my son’s daycare friend’s birthday party and became acquaintances with her parents. Then I started texting the mom for playdate arrangements and fun toddler activities and eventually sent them our family holiday card.

It usually starts with something mutual: you both know the bride/groom from school, or both have been running marathon for years, or both suck at stand-up jokes but want to get better, then you can get the other person’s contact information like phone number or Instagram account (if you think there’s something interesting about them and you want to be in touch), and the rest will be making efforts to follow up and get to know them better.

If you are a technology-obsessed person and have just moved to a new city without too many contacts, try Bumble BFF app! My coach recommended this to me and mentioned it’s Tinder for best friends. You can browse the nearby people’s interest and message them for coffee dates. Similarly, there are different MeetUp groups in local areas based on your personal interests.

2. Set realistic expectations because everyone is busy

I had a “friend” who unfortunately had a fallout with me because I couldn’t spend a lot of time with her after we became moms. We both had some postpartum depression/anxiety issues so we understood each other’s struggles well. In reality, we had 4 playdates within 5 months (which is the most I had with anybody). She didn’t understand my priorities during those times: my mom and 83-year old grandma were helping take care of my newborn on a time-constraint Visa, and I wanted to ensure spending time with them first. As a result, I didn’t have any social life for the longest time, which was quite hard for an extrovert like me.

So the moral of this story is that please understand everyone is busy with something (weekend kiddo activities, birthday parties, family visits or an overwhelming work schedule) or could be going through a hard time and not ready to socialize yet. If you want to be a good friend, please be patient and there will be plenty of time to hang out and catch up later.

3. Embrace solitude from time to time (self-care is equally important!)

Humans are social animals but it could be beneficial in the long term to also carve out alone time for self-care. Sometimes it’s hard to make new friends due to different circumstances so please don’t be so hard on yourself either. I do really enjoy a cup of coffee and watching Youtube videos with headphones on while my son plays with toys by himself on a cozy Sunday morning. I also value my own workout time and drawing at night when my son is asleep and husband is busy doing something else. We should embrace solitude and simply enjoy time hanging out by ourselves. At the end of day/life, we are our own best friends.

Did you find these tips helpful? How do you make friends after 30/40/50? We would love to learn more in the comments! Please consider subscribing to our newsletter “Product Manager Thought Collectives” if you want to hear more about PM and our life (parenthood, hobbies, side hustles etc.)