What to Expect as an Associate Product Manager

Have you been hearing more about the APM programs but don't know what the job entails? Read this guide to learn what to expect from a typical APM program!
3 min read

Many Product Manager roles require at least a few years of experience. Many people, especially recent graduates and professionals looking to make a career switch, fail to qualify for most of these roles.

Associate Product Manager programs are probably the best options to get into Product Management field as they require no prior experience.

While these programs are top-rated among prospective PMs, little to none is known about what the expectations from these programs are.

In today’s article, we will be discussing what to expect from a typical Associate Product Manager program with Chris Beck, a Product Gym member who went through the APM route to get into Product Management.

If you are new to Associate Product Manager programs, and want to learn more about them, watch Chris’s coverage here:

Now that you know what an Associate Product Manager Program is like let’s talk about what you should be expecting from these programs. Chris will break down these expectations into five main categories.

The first expectation and perhaps the most important one is understanding and communicating product requirements.

As an APM, you will have a way more detailed view of the product than your Product Lead, and it will be your responsibility to figure out the details and how they fit into the bigger picture.

You will be expected to know what kinds of situations your user could encounter or the possible problems that the product might run into.

This is an excellent opportunity for you to learn the inner technical workings. It will give you the necessary tools and knowledge to work with the engineering team to deliver and enhance the product at a lower level.

The second expectation is researching the product. While some might believe that research is more of a Product Lead task, your knowledge about the product should always be on point, since you are the second set of eyes on the product.

Research doesn’t have to be only external and customer-facing. Many internal scenarios require an in-depth thought procedure. This is where you come in as an Associate Product Manager since you will be expected to know the nitty-gritty of the product.

Examples of your research items might include how many more queries would be added to the product to incorporate a new feature or how many more users would be acquired with a given modification.

Research is an excellent opportunity for you to work your critical thinking muscles. Your inquiry will focus on how a particular feature might impact the way customers interact with it.

This leads to the third item on your list, which is questioning. Because you are the second set of eyes on the product, your team will look up to you as the person who knows the product inside out.

Being the subject matter expert on the product is an excellent opportunity for you to shine, especially among the senior leadership. They will turn to you when they need to assess the success of the product. Your questions will determine the product roadmap and lead the building process.

Your questioning process will lead to internal resources creation, which will be the primary material for sales and marketing. Creating these resources in a clear and concise way is critical because you want the whole team to understand the product thoroughly.

You should also be able to pinpoint your audience and have a clear understanding of the how and why of the product. This way, the resources you create will be for the target market.

As a resource creator and subject matter expert, you should expect to be in very close contact with your product head. This last expectation is common to Product Managers as well. As an Associate Product Manager, this brief amount of time you spend with the seniors is precious.

Not only will you be asked for your research, observations, and suggestions, you will also have the opportunity to ask questions and receive mentorship from them.

This is the golden opportunity to get feedback, and so the main activity you should be doing here is listening! Your seniors will assess your product management practices and suggest improvements.

Starting a job with knowing what to expect is essential, and it will put you ahead of your colleagues. Ensure your role entails these items as they set you up for success and more responsibility in the future.

If these expectations sound like what you want to do in your next job, make sure you learn more about Associate Product Manager programs.

Chris has done a series of videos on this subject. Here’s the video version of this article, and you can find more about how to get into APM programs by watching the videos on the same playlist!

Still, have questions about APM programs? Schedule a free consultation with us today to learn more and find out how we can help you.


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