Q: I'm a software engineer. How can I transition into a product management role?

Here's what I would have done differently when I was a developer at Techlogix years ago.

At the time, I was pushing . NET code for a US-based airline ticket aggregator similar to Kayak. I would often jump in a call with the client to discuss progress.

I would have:

1. Asked the client what business & technical metric he was hoping to optimize this quarter e.g. tickets sold.

2. Crafted a custom dash to show transactions over time, abandonment rates, volume of zero-searches etc. I know he would have loved this.

3. I'd do a little competitive research & share with him ideas/user flows that could help boost numbers.

4. I'd sketch those ideas out using some basic tool & prepare development timelines.

5. I'd add Google Analytics to attempt to mine & share insights.

That's how I'd partner with the client to "work the product".

On the side,

6. I was already building a desktop application to manage DVD collections. I'd take that online & distribute it beyond the one friend who was using it.

7. I'd read up about product design.

8. Build a resume + portfolio documenting the above.

9. Connect with other PMs to learn from them & apply to junior PM roles.