Product management career

And then?

  • expand engineers, divide and hire PM and PD: we can divide the team of engineers into 2 teams, each with a focus, and temporarily keep the product manager and product designer in these two teams until we are able to hire a second product manager and a second product designer. This model is used when the scope of work of the second team is very clear.
  • hire PM and PD to do discovery, expand engineers and divide: in this case we bring first a PM and an additional PD to work on the discovery of what we want to do with this second team. Meanwhile, more engineers are being hired to expand the first team. At a certain point in the discovery, already having some clarity of what this second team is going to do, then do the team division. This model can be useful when there is still no clarity as to what this second team will work on and it is necessary to do a work of discovery that does not fit in the day-to-day of the original PM and PD.

Group Product Manager

Interim leadership

CPO or Product VP




Y career

  • Help connect the work of GPMs: as the company grows and we have more than one product development team, each with their own GPM and often focused on the day-to-day life of that team, without looking a lot for what the other teams are doing. It is usually the role of the CPO to maintain the connection between the work of the different teams and their GPMs, but in some structures, it may make sense to have some very senior PM playing this role.
  • Ensuring synchrony and consistency between product teams: regardless of whether we try to structure product teams, there will always be situations in which a team will depend on the work of another team. An example in Gympass are the product teams for the gym and for the end user. The gym team makes a feature that allows the gym manager to create the class schedule, and the team focused on the end user needs to make that class schedule available in the app so that users can view and schedule classes. This coordination is usually done by the PMs of these two teams, but they can benefit from having a third person helping in this coordination. That third person can be a GPM, CPO or even a more senior PM, in this role of Principal Product Manager.

Summing up

  • The product career has progressed from Associate Product Manager (APM) to Product Manager (PM) to Group Product Manager (GPM) to Chief Product Officer (CPO). There are some variations of nomeclature depending on the company and the country, but in general this progression follows. The important thing is that this structure and career progression is clear for the entire company.
  • When talking about the most senior product leadership in a company, there are two options with their pros and cons. One option is the ** unique leadership ** of the entire product development team (PM, UX and engineering) which works well for larger teams but can be overwhelming when teams of more than 100 people. The advantage is having the entire team aligned with a single leadership. The other option is ** shared leadership ** with CPO and CTO. It avoids overload in large teams but can cause a decrease in collaboration if there is not a good harmony between these two or more leaders.
  • For PMs who do not want to pursue a management career, it is important to give the Y career option, with the role of Principal Product Manager which helps in the integration and synchronization of the work of the different teams.

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Joca Torres

Joca Torres

Digital product development advisor, mentor, board member. And open water swimmer!

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