Uncommon Tips For Product Management Interns

I’ve interned in Product Management before (@Intralinks) and am doing it again this summer (@Shipt). I’m about halfway through my current internship so I thought I would share some things I’ve learned the second time around.

1. Don’t care about the tech stack. Even if you return to the company you interned with, the tech stack will likely have changed by the time you get back or you’ll be working on a completely different project with a different tech stack. Don’t waste your time.

2. Understand Leading vs. Lagging Metrics. Most interns really only get one big project they work on per summer. It’s important to work on something where the success metrics are leading metrics (where you can see the results after two weeks) and not lagging metrics (where you can see the results after two months). You’ll want to be able to talk about the success of your test or what you learned at the end of the internship presentation, not say “Lmk what happens in two months” to your boss on your last day.

3. Don’t micromanage scrum teams. Writing and assigning tickets is the job of the engineering manager/team. Describe what you want from the customer’s perspective and let the engineers figure out which elements and components they need to play with. Don’t get stuck in the technical weeds, it just slows everyone down.

4. Do your own data work. Data resources are always stretched very thin. When deciding which project you want to work on, deciding to work on something that will actually have an impact is super important. Learning more about the relevant data should help you pick the right project. Also, you won’t have to only rely on the data team to analyze how your project went; you’ll be able to get a bit of feel for yourself.

5. Work on multiple small projects. Don’t feel like you have to do one BIG project. In the interest of agile, sometimes it is better to work on a couple of smaller things. That way if one small issue pops up, it’s not that big of a deal.

Written on June 11, 2020