How do I transition to a VP of product role from a Software Engineering role in the least amount of time?

@Rakesh Wagh wrote a very thorough answer to this topic.  I would suggest reading that fist.  My answer will be additive to his.

I have managed both Engineering and Product Management teams and I love when my engineers take a greater interest in the Product side of software development.  It shows to me a greater level of interest and engagement about the “why” and not just the “how.”

A number of companies actually prefer hiring Product Managers that have technical / software engineering experience as well (Google, etc.).

Here is what I have done to help some of my engineers who have expressed interest in moving to product management:

1. Start attending Sprint Planning meetings.

2. Start reading everything you can about Product Management, Agile SDLC.  There are a lot of good resources available: Blog posts, Books, Podcasts, etc. (see links below).

3. Find a Product Manager mentor.  This can be in your company or outside.  Learn everything you can from them.

4. Attend a Product Management Course.  In you live in San Francisco or another city where General Assembly is located they have good part-time Product Management courses: Product Management There are also online courses you can take as well.

5.  Gayle Laakmann Mcdowell (of Engineering Interview fame) also has a book for Product Manager Interviews.  It is worth a read: Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology (9780984782819): Gayle Laakmann McDowell, Jackie Bavaro: Books

6. Split your time between engineering & Engineering.  This can only happen with the blessing of both your Engineering Head and Product Management Head.  Take on a smaller feature and “own” that.  This will give you a feel for the role and if it really is for you.

In your specific case have a conversation with your current boss and/or the current Head of Product at your company to let them know your aspirations.  Hopefully they are supportive and can help you get started on your transition.

You are going to have to do a lot of this on your own time.  If you really want to switch it is going to be a lot of work for a time, but it can be done and it is worth it.

Here are some additional links:

Agile software development

Learn How to Build Great Products from Silicon Valley Veterans

@What are some good podcasts for product managers?

The Best Blogs for Product Managers

User Story Mapping

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