Takeaways from Shreyas’s 15 years of journey as PM in Silicon Valley

The Product Folks organized one of the major events in June 2020 by inviting Shreyas Doshi as a speaker to share his wisdom and 15 years of his journey in Product Management in Stripe, Yahoo, Google & Twitter

The event was focused to guide all the aspiring, budding product managers on how to become a great PM but before directly getting into the crux of the topic, Shreyas made us aware about the 3 fundamental parts into the journey of a PM.

Being suitable for the job

  • It's not about building skill sets every time, do the role before you get the job, practice it even if you don't hold that designation because it is much harder to transition into product management and switching companies at the same time. It is always best to build the skills and prove yourself before you prove yourself in a PM interview.
  • The best place to practice product management is your current company where you can volunteer for multiple projects which requires brainstorming or managing a team along with you
  • Do side projects! This tests you for real, whether you are capable or not, you build your own stuff and work with engineers in your circle and to coordinate with them according to their timelines is going to show you how much this becomes 10 times challenging in the corporate world
  • Now before you think of becoming a successful PM, he discussed what qualities you as a PM must possess:The willingness to solve a problem - Problems occurs at any situation whether you are a PM or not if you are willing to invest your time and energy to solve that problem you are already on the right path towards successHigh Agency - This is all about finding a way to get what you want without waiting for situations to be perfect.

To cultivate High Agency, you should have the following

Being great at it

PM should focus on 3 most important senses i.e

To meet the gap between the high competency requirements within this fast-paced world, there is a two-way contract of one’s commitment to self-growth and other’s commitment to the growth of each other in general

Along with the commitment, a PM should follow this framework to assess their hold over their senses.

Simplified strategy for early PM growth

  1. Eliminate liabilities
  2. Bring below-median skills up to the median
  3. Turn strength into a superpower

The goal should be to bring all the senses above the median.

Picking the right places

Shreyas helped us identify the organizations on their primary driven factor.

A product-driven organization helps you become a great PM because it thinks about the product with a collaborative brainstorming of all the people in the organization whereas PM driven companies can harm your growth where there is a say of just PM only.

“You should be aware of what is healthy is for your growth, IT'S ALL ABOUT PEOPLE THAT YOU WORK WITH”

Lastly, he added which is very important for not just a PM but in general for everybody

“Take 20% time out of your full-time career for learning on a weekly basis, Work is important but productivity is more important.”

Also, a great PM should keep building on his/her strengths and not care about any labels such as data-driven PM or design-focused PM etc.

Challenge is once you label yourself publicly, you are forced to be consistent in the same which you are telling yourself and others, it's good for a good PM but not for a great PM because great PM needs to be versatile in all the skills

To be versatile, PM needs to follow a framework which identifies the areas you need to cover for being a great PM and also there's a debate on product management being an art or a science,if you want to be really great, you should be great at all points shown on that green line.

Being versatile, gives you more options on what company to work for.Great PMs are informed by data and they masterfully blend qualitative and quantitative inputs to make product decisions


Cultivate HIGH AGENCY - Need the motivation to cultivate High Agency - Read “The 7 habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey” one more time.

Love the PM CRAFT

Work with GREAT PEOPLE who make you learn

The docs are the product which require thoughts, iterations and collaboration

More information on - Shreyas Linkedin Post


Q: What are some of the latest addition to the PM frameworks

A: Assess and improve your skills using career skills map, it's an evolution of senses assessment

Influential Communication and critical thinking act as pillars, if they don't exist the whole map fall downs, the foundation must be strong

Break each of the skills/sense into component skills and work on each of these components one by one. More information on Tweet link

Q: How did you approach toward decision of working in stripe and also it would be great if you could tell us about your journey from yahoo to google and then stripe

A: I would like to share one framework , I joined stripe at stage 1 of PMThere are 4 stages in Product management

  1. Where there is no PM, the organization is at an early stage, everybody/founders does the PM job so an official PM is not needed.
  2. When the organization has grown enough, heard about PMs and want to try to have one but don't want to mess up all ongoing processes by bringing PM. The goal was to move it to next stage.
  3. Where organization understands that product management has significant leverage but all other functions are equally involved in building the product (Google was at stage back then in 2008)
  4. Where PMs are taking over the show and that's when company becomes PM driven and quality of the product suffers

Q: What are some of the PM skills which are kind of deal breaker for cracking interviews?

A: High Agency

   Product sense is really important

   Trait- Major Ego, if the candidate are going to put their own agenda/growth     before the company -Red flag for candidate

Q: Do we need any credentials required for getting into product management?

A: Any credential will get you to the door but it does not guarantee the journey after that,enroll yourself in those credentials which helps you getting great at the domain/job

Q: What are your thoughts on future of product management

A: I believe there is a positive evolution in product management over the years and for an organization to be successful needs to be good at :

  1. What products to build
  2. How to build it
  3. How to get adoption for it

Product Management is the only domain which is deeply involved in each of the above three points.Therefore , Product Management can be highly impactful for organization

Prediction (Might be 50% not true)- In Silicon Valley, as the growth in Product Management is reaching its ceiling, there is going to be a shift towards complete ownership/GM Model. Pure Senior Product Management role are going to go away and going to be replaced with General Manager or Chief Product Officer roles where the individual is managing both engineering teams and product teams

Q: What are go to books for product management which you like to recommend to aspiring PM out there?

A: Some of the books recommended are

  1. Inspired by Marty Kagan- That will help you understand the product management craft
  2. 7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen R. Covey- Read it twice and thrice, it helps you understand your own traits and will let you understand and is identical to 7 highly effective PMs
  3. Superthinking by Lauren McCann, Gabriel Weinberg  - Helps you with Rigorous thinking and critical thinking

Additional reads from Shreyas:

PM career management

The Firehorse effect

Book readsMicro essay on B2B product management

To know more about growth paths for early PMs to Product Leaders,frameworks & key career insights, watch it on Youtube

Kindly let us (Srishti Gupta’s LinkedIn, Twitter & Ajay Kumar Sunnapu’s LinkedIn, Twitter) know if you have used any other frameworks to excel in your career as a Great Product Manager or a budding Product Manager.

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