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Speaker Syed Ahmed gave us a few of his thoughts on Product Management in Start-ups. Read on to find out what the key skill is for a Product Manager in a startup.


When should you hire a PM in your startup?

That’s a difficult question to answer because ideally you would want to do it right at the start. However, given that most start-ups are boot-strapped and can’t afford to have people focussed on a single job, the founders and some of the early stage employees (sometimes including the engineers) share Product Management responsibilities. Generally, the next best time to hire a PM is when the organisation begins to scale and there is a need for someone to provide dedicated focus on the product.

What PM skills to look for when hiring for a startup?

Adaptability. Product management in a start-up is very different to that in a corporate / enterprise environment, and for someone to be able to succeed in the fast-paced, constantly changing and ambiguous world of start-ups they need to be able to “fit” into the role at that point in time. It’s also important to remember that start-ups themselves go through a life-cycle, and the role of the PM most certainly changes as the organisation matures and evolves.

How do you know you have Product Market Fit etc?

I think there are some great resources that explain this much better than I could (e.g. from Steve Blank, Marc Andreessen, Sam Altman, etc.), but the basic principle is that your product can profitably solve a customer problem at scale.