Rohit Malekar

March 12, 2021

The Title Trap in Transitioning into Product Roles

I was recently asked this question:

"I have 5 years of experience; however, transitioning to product implies taking up a job as an associate product manager. Should I pursue this?".

My 2 cents - if the role is right for you, ignore the title, at least for the first couple of gigs as part of the transition.

What's the difference between the role and title?

The utility of a title begins with the offer letter and ceases to mean much beyond the amount on the monthly pay check. If transitioning into a product role is important for you, I suggest overriding the title with the opportunity to make an impact with the role.

So what should you look for in the role?

The span of control, autonomy, and mentorship to scale your mental muscles to meet the "MVP" of a product manager. You don't need to have the title of a product manager to apply product thinking.

Lastly, all titles are made up, and especially in the product roles, there is a tremendous amount of title inflation. In this post, I share one approach I use to ratify the title against the role on the ground.