Advice from seasoned Product Managers to our earlier selves

From talking to customers to learning to pace yourself. We can all continue to work on these things, regardless of where you are in your career.

Steedan Crowe
4 min readFeb 13, 2024

When I started my career in Product Management, I didn’t even know it was a thing. I was just some guy building a product, reviewing metrics, getting customer feedback, planning a roadmap and making incremental improvements. That was 14 years ago, and there are many things I wish I had known about Product Management then that I eventually learned by consuming a lot of content and by trial and error.

A woman from the future meeting with her younger self in the past to give advice. Old timey, rustic looking scene with wood panel walls and old style wooden dining chairs.

This post was originally published in my Substack Newsletter, Roadmap Weekly.

In preparation for writing this piece, I reached out to my LinkedIn community of Product Managers, and they had some great advice to share. The thread turned into a goldmine of advice from some real seasoned pros.

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Screenshot of the original LinkedIn Post
Be sure to check out the original thread in the LinkedIn post.

Be sure to check out the original thread in the LinkedIn post.

Collectively, there’s got to be 100 years or more of experience here. I’ve included most of the replies of what they wished to tell their earlier PM selves (I’ve re-formatted and added detail where needed). I’ve also added a few points of my own.

Here are 12 pieces of advice that Product Managers wish they could give their younger selves:

  1. There will always be more work to do: Ruthlessly prioritize and delegate what doesn’t need your attention personally. Burnout is a real risk in Product Management, especially when it can be hard to articulate your value; it can feel like you’ve never done enough.
  2. Talk to customers more: Customers are a goldmine of information; they use your product daily and vote with clicks and dollars. Talking directly with customers will give you incredible insight into their use of your product, their pain points, and what they truly value.
  3. Eat your own dog food: When did you last go through your onboarding flow or use your product? You can’t build the best product if you’ve never used it.
  4. Think big, start small: The end goal might be a 12-month integration to bring feature X to your customers, but in most industries, thinking about how you can deliver value much earlier is critical. Early value = early feedback.
  5. Don’t believe everything you hear and half of what you see: Everyone is trying to have the loudest voice to get your attention. Sales, Marketing, Success. There’s always some competitor that just launched a competing product or a new potential customer with a feature demand. Do your own research and deal with facts. People are often very overreactive. Take time to investigate these concerns and come to your own conclusions.
  6. Don’t underestimate the power of building connections to get buy-in: Product Managers lead without authority. If we can’t demand what gets done, then we need to ensure others are along for the ride and aligned with the vision we’ve created.
  7. Learn to ask open-ended questions: You don’t know everything, and everything you think you know is likely wrong. Don’t ask yes or no questions; aim to learn more about your users and stakeholders. What do they do? What are their expectations?
  8. Don’t take things personally: When you’ve done this enough, you’ll eventually lose sleep over something a customer or stakeholder said about the product. Sometimes, we get attached to our ideas, products, or roles. It’s important to remember that customer and stakeholder feedback is not an attack on us personally.
  9. Find a way to talk to customers: Even if the organization isn’t built to allow you to talk to users/customers/clients, it’s the most important part of your job, and you need to figure out how to make it happen.
  10. Talk to non-users more: Sure, many people use our product, but what about all those users who abandon the signup page or never even give your product a chance? They have valuable insights as well.
  11. Seek early market feedback: Early feedback about what you have built is more important than building. By getting early feedback, you can reduce the effects of course corrections and avoid wasting time on reworking or scrapping projects.
  12. Involve others in the process: It’s a lot easier to get buy-in from someone who’s been part of the process from day one. Solicit feedback from stakeholders and share with them where things are leading. It should almost be a formality when you finally present your roadmap or solution. This can help you deal with objections early and avoid conflict.

Some of this advice might seem obvious, but are you taking action? This week, I challenge you to pick one thing from the above list to improve on. For me, it’s got to be that there’s always more work. I will give myself some credit for what I’ve already done and pace myself. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Whether you’re a new PdM or a seasoned professional, there will always be more to do and more to learn. That’s the great thing (and curse) about this role. It’s such a vast role; there’s no limit to what you can learn or do next.

This post was originally published in my Substack Newsletter, Roadmap Weekly.



Steedan Crowe

I’m Steedan, writer of, a newsletter for people doing Product Management