The first online course on Code for Gender, Code for Growth Gender Hacksong, invites Sharleene Yuan, Product Manager for Google Android Accessibility, to share her career experiences and challenges in the workplace.
In the first lesson of this women's fan x Google Hacksong CFG, the last session shared the contents of Kevin Fu's three-year tenure as a product manager at Google, and this one came to the second speaker, Sharleene Yuan, to share her career experience with the students of the online course.
Women's problems in the position of product manager
Sharlene, who works as a product manager for Google Android Accessibility, has extensive experience at home and abroad, having worked at Microsoft, Startup and AI Labs, and as a consultant herself.
Exposed to different corporate cultures and different longer-term Sharleene, this time to CFG's first line of class, answer the often asked workplace questions, to provide participants with reference:
- What are the conditions and characteristics that a product manager (PM) needs to have?
- If you want to take up the PM job, should you start with a business or a startup? What's the difference?
- In the role of PM, women will encounter challenges and how to overcome them?
What conditions and characteristics do product managers need?
Sharlene joked that people had ever heard that Product Manager was CEO of product? The title sounds shiny, but it takes a lot of effort behind it. She believes that being a Product Manager (PM) doesn't have to be a professional in a particular field, but to have a wide range of skills, you need to have the following qualities in a nutshack:
- Good analytical ability, data is not excluded
- Have a certain sensitivity to product design
- Be able to make strategic thinking and decisions
- Have good communication skills because you need to be able to communicate with a variety of different roles
How to be a good product manager?
What abilities and behaviors can help you become a "good product manager," Sharlene says in a comprehensive four-point statement:
The ability to analyze problems
The first is the ability that both Sharleene and Kevin, the previous speaker, emphasized: analytical.
When you're a product manager, the first step is usually to clarify and ask the "right question" if you want to see the full picture of the problem. Then again, to judge the indicators of success, such as our goal for the current quarter is revenue, or the number of users, or the frequency of interaction increased? Using the "right metric" is an important job of evaluating a product's process objectives and pm.
2. Product design capabilities
After analyzing the problem, then the product design ability.
Sharlene is not about getting you to be a designer (UI) yourself, it's about having to have a certain acumen in product design. To do this, the most critical thing is to be able to "change the position of thinking" and treat yourself as a user.
Sharlene cites the interfaces of several websites to share with the participants, and if you look at the pros and cons of these designs from a "user" perspective. Many of the details that are not easy to notice on a daily basis, at the point of her familiarity with the road, suddenly open and cheerful, showing in front.
3. Strategic thinking
The third need to have the ability is strategic thinking, can collect data, integration, analysis, and finally make the most beneficial to the company's product decisions, to help the company spend their efforts on the right things.
4. Communication skills
This is the same as what Kevin, the speaker, emphasized: communication, communication, and then communication.
Sharlene sees product managers as a bridge between departments that "translate" each other's areas of expertise so that everyone can understand them. Product managers don't need to know the answers to all the questions, but they need to be able to motivate people to come up with the best and most ideas. Finally, help to converge, convince people who disagree, and move the team toward the same goal.
As a product manager, you have to ask a lot of questions, a lot of questions, see the full picture of the problem, rather than just jump down to solve.
Which one do you want to choose for a big V.S. startup?
Many people ask Sharleen: As a product manager, does the job start with a start-up or a big company? How are the roles of product management different in different environments?
Sharlene laughs that each company's culture is very different, for example, Microsoft, where she's been for 10 years, is very different from Google she's been in. But if you simply classify it differently, it is that compared to large companies, the resources of start-ups, such as people and money, are usually much limited, so their strategic objectives will not be three or five years, but a year or even six months.
She uses a metaphor to vividly describe: "It's like touching a stone across a river. " The term "small step run" is given, and the relationship between the CEO and employees in a start-up company is also described. Participants seemed to be in a state of dismay at the content, as the text bar had many clapping symbols to agree with or like.
The challenges women face in the product manager field
At the end of the sharing, given that most of the participants in this online activity course are women, Sharlene also wants to ask, in particular, from experience: What can we do about the difficulties she has encountered as a woman and the challenges she has faced?
1. Life-work balance
Sharlene cites her experience of taking care of sick dogs at home during extremely busy periods at work. Women, especially when they have families and children, often have to take care of their families off-duty, so she thinks finding a company that is friendly is a long-term solution to learn more about its culture during interviews or in private.
Knowing the difficulties of life-work balance, Sharleen is confident enough to tell the story, and the energy the student receives is abundant. She also let the students understand: the first thing to find a job is to know themselves, find the right environment, understand each other's needs and boundaries, dynamic communication, so that life and work Libra tend to balance.
2. Self-confidence is often inadequate
Women in the technology industry are already in the minority, more passive and less visible than men. Sherlene recommends asking yourself honestly if you feel sexually harassed or inappropriately joked about in the workplace, and if you feel uncomfortable, be sure to speak out - even if you're different from others.
"Women's promotions are usually slower and lower than men's, but if they can speak out about their needs, communicate well with their bosses, and have their own unique skills and knowledge, it should not be difficult to get promoted and get a raise." - Sharleen Yuan, product manager for Google Android Accessibility
As a brilliant female product manager, Sharlene actually has a promise that she'll be here as Facebook's chief executive. Sheryl Sanberg's words are:
“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”
Sharlene hopes that one day people will stop emphasizing her status as a woman in technology or discuss the dilemmas of women's life and work balance.
Sharlene also moved the participants after sharing with Kevin, the previous speaker, as the text bar was filled with applause.
The course comes to the third paragraph, which is the last part of the first online course at CFG 2021: Panel, where two speakers interact and talk to the participants online.