Carve simplifies the search for professionals who have made a successful career switch, offering users relatable success stories as guidance for their own career aspirations.
Early-stage aspiring product managers need a streamlined approach to navigate their journey because the path to becoming a product manager is not well-defined.
The rising popularity of product management has created a high demand for professionals in this field. However, the lack of a clear and established path to becoming a product manager makes it hard for aspiring PMs to know where to start. Many face challenges in identifying the gaps in their knowledge, accessing helpful resources and finding relevant opportunities.
User Pain Points
Our research, conducted through LinkedIn, Co.Lab SPRINT17 participants, and personal contacts, involved interviewing eight prospective users without technical software backgrounds in software. The interviews uncovered major themes and pain points, including:
- Low confidence in knowing what they need to do as their next step
- Want the ability to lean on their network for learning and opportunities, but not feeling like their network is able to provide tangible support in their career switch.
- 0% of users had a technical software background
- 100% expressed some level of difficulty navigating the transition due to a lack of clarity
- 38% felt confident in their next step, despite the abundance of resources available online
- 88% feel their network is inadequate in providing them with tangible support for their journey
Preliminary user research has revealed that aspiring product managers from non-tech/software backgrounds face a significant challenge in navigating the transition to the role. This is due to a high degree of confusion and a lack of specific guidance from career advice sources. Our research highlights the need for more targeted and actionable advice for these career switchers.
Landing on the Solution
Based on the uncovered pain points, we want to build a solution which encompasses the following:
Explanation of Solution
A Chrome extension with the purpose of identifying LinkedIn profiles of anyone who has transitioned from a user’s current career (point A) to their desired career (point B). This can include the following steps:
- A user inputs keywords and/or job titles to describe their current job function or job title (point A), and in a separate box, their desired career (point B). E.g. describe sales with job title and keywords (point A), then describe product management with job title and keywords (point B).
- Carve identifies LinkedIn profiles of individuals who have already carved the path from the user’s specified current career (point A) to their desired career (point B).
- User leaves Carve open or exports the list of matches, then opens LinkedIn, and reaches out to profiles of interest.
To ensure simplicity, this will remain a 1-sided application. i.e. Carve does not have an additional interface for the individuals in the identified profiles.
- Before investing any further resources into this solution, how Carve will obtain the LinkedIn profile data must be determined. While LinkedIn does offer an API, it is not free, and so Carve’s current proposed solution may not be feasible as a Co.Lab bootcamp product.
Potential solution to be explored: https://www.google.com/url?q=https://evaboot.com/blog/search-linkedin-profiles-google&sa=D&source=docs&ust=1675803265902096&usg=AOvVaw0XnJvcsj3ZX2F0J0i3Taeb
- Define a narrow user segment to focus on for MVP. While the original problem space was specific to aspiring product managers, Carve can be used by all aspiring career switchers. Need to determine if this is too broad a segment for the MVP, and if so, how to narrow it down.
Product Manager Learnings:
- How big of a mistake it is to be mostly solution-oriented as a PM. I used to think about the problem at hand for half a second, then brainstorm solutions for days, get attached to those solutions to then realize they weren’t relevant to the problem. Now I understand that I need to have the opposite approach → focus on understanding the root problem entirely before you even think about looking at solutions.
- User interviews are not the only way to gather meaningful data. Surveys can be short and still get you valuable demographic data/context.
- The Mom Test is critical - don’t tell anyone about your idea. Don’t even tell them you are thinking of solving a problem. Just have genuine conversations with your potential users to understand their experiences and problems.
- The MVP is a functioning product; value must start at Day 1 so that you can gather users from the start.
- The MVP requires vertical slicing, not horizontal. Focus on one feature until it’s done. Eat the cake in a vertical slice.