The Product Management Success Guide by Shutterfly PM

What is the Product Manager success guide? Find out in this overview of our recent event hosted by Shutterfly’s former Director of Product. Mike Goos delivered a talk on how to get started with his Product Management tips for success.

According to him, the three top elements important to Product Managers are functional skills, domain expertise and taking ownership. 



Former Senior Director of Product Management at Shutterfly

Mike Goos has 20 years of consumer internet product experience. He is the former senior director of product management for Shutterfly and a former advisor to Box during their early (pre-IPO) days. Some of the products he has released include for desktop and mobile, Westfield Retail Solutions APIs, Line2 mobile apps and AOL Calendar.

For more than half of his career, Mike has built and mentored high-performance product management teams. Mike holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics.


Product Manager Success Guide

During our recent event, Mike Goos shed light on what product management is and what product managers do. He also shared important aspects people that want to transition into product management need to take into consideration. Mike talked about how to define your role on the product team and perform a personal gap analysis.

He discussed how you can take ownership while not stepping on toes and the four pillars of product management, which are marketing, business, technical and communication style. He also gave recommendations for helpful tools and supplemental training.

 The Product Management Success Guide by Shutterfly PM


Bullet points:

  • Mike talked about the role of a product manager, what functional skills and domain expertise product managers need, and discussed product managers’ ability to take ownership and gave some tools.
  • The 3 Q’s of product management are
    1. What is the product?
    2. Who is it for?
    3. Why is it valuable?
  • Everyone in the company has a different opinion about this, but the product manager needs to know the company’s “real policy.”
  • Another important question is “who do you want the product to be for in 4-6 months?”
  • The functional skills that product managers need are gathering requirements, listening to feedback, prioritizing features, understanding your target market and influencing team members.
  • Domain expertise: If a person has no experience in product management, any previous knowledge from the technology field, marketing, finance, customer support, gaming, etc., is valuable, even target market knowledge.
  • Taking ownership doesn’t come naturally for everyone, and therefore it may be difficult to learn, but it’s a must skill for product managers.
  • A product manager owns one part of the product but not the whole thing. (Even though he/she might want to own the whole thing, he can’t.)
  • The D’s of ownership are the abilities to discover, discuss, define, demonstrate and make decisions.
  • Gap analysis: The features that are not yet in the product that you know will have value.
  • The four pillars that product management stands on are marketing, technology skills, business and communication style.


Some skills you might already have but the ones you don’t, you just have to learn. Practice is the best teacher and learning by doing. The truth is that you won’t be able to master all of them but knowing enough about all the different aspects and perhaps mastering in one is not that impossible to do. Figuring out your superpower and being the best at that can take you far. 

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