INTRODUCTION

 

THE ACCIDENTAL PROFESSION

I teach Product Management workshops all over the world. At the start of every session, I ask if anyone has a degree in Product Management. Virtually all the time, there is no response. In the classroom, students represent a wide variety of backgrounds and college majors: marketing, finance, physics, engineering, computer science, English, philosophy, psychology, graphic arts—but no diplomas in Product Management. However, when asked how many have product manager as their job title, most participants raise a hand.

So the obvious question is, “If you’re all product managers, but you can’t get a degree in it, how did you get the job?” The answers often sound something like this:

     “My boss asked me if ...

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