2017 has brought change – big change. Not only in politics, but also in mobile technology from up and coming VR to chatbots. It seems that the mobile industry will never stop growing, if I do say so. Mobile devices are becoming smarter and faster, meaning apps need to keep up to speed. So if you’re a product manager for a mobile app, you better know what the latest trends for 2017 are because if you don’t you’ll quickly fall behind.

As a product manager, you probably hold one of the most important roles (if not themost important) for the success of an app. We know PMs and how hard your job is. You are the conductor orchestrating the show, so it’s imperative that of all people, you remain the most up to date and continue to advance yourself in the industry and personally as a product manager. Whether you’re gunning for the VP position or taking one step up to a managerial spot, professional development is key to your success in 2017.

Product managers all have their own, unique path to their PM careers. The official roadmap for a PM career is still being created as we speak and is constantly evolving. This also means that any professional development is at every PMs discretion. There’s no ‘right or wrong’ way, yet there are a massive variety of PM resources – sometimes too many. To help you separate the wheat from the chaff, I’ve selected these 5 resources, that  have the most potential to enhance a mobile product manager’s success.

On the job training

mobile product manager
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Most product managers learn on the go. They’re quick thinkers, always ready to solve a problem. This is one of the strongest ways to develop as a product manager because you’re actively teaching yourself a new skill.

For example, you need to set up a chat feature in your app, but you’ve never done that! You have a minor panic attack, pull yourself together and apply all your product management knowledge to your chat task. You will most likely rely on other resources, but for the most part you’re teaching yourself a new skill.

Online Courses

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So you’re working long, crazy hours and you don’t have time for an in-person course. But you know you need to keep developing your skills. One way is with online courses. They allow you flexibility with your schedule and there are a huge amount to choose from! You have your usual places you can look at for online courses such as Udemy and Coursera, but the ones that I really like for product managers are:

  1. Product Manager HQ – One Week PM (good introduction to being a product manager)
  2. Product School – Product Management
  3. The Agile PM Laboratory – Great for honing your agile skills
  4. Product Management Course Bundle by PM Loop
  5. Qualitative Analytics 101– great introduction to the most noteworthy analytics trend of 2017

While there are a variety of courses to choose from, these specifically stand out for a few reasons. They’re extremely comprehensive, that cover the most basic PM topics to more advanced. Also, you can do all of them in your own time, which is nice for the working PM 🙂

Blogs

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Most of you already have your daily routine down, which probably consists of checking your emails, daily work tasks, and reading various industry related blogs. Blogs are one of the best ways to stay up to date and in the know. If you’ve found the right ones, then you’re following the leading influencers in the industry. However, it can be hard to find those blogs because of all the fluff out there! But once you’ve found your go-to blogs you’re set and you take in the most reliable information.

These are the top 5 blogs I really enjoy to follow:

  1. UX Planet
  2. The Art of Product Management
  3. Product Mavens
  4. Mind the Product
  5. Andrew Chen’s Blog

Conferences

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Conferences are a great way to grow and network!  For product managers, it’s crucial to find the best and most relevant conferences so that they’re worth the investment. Part of this process is identifying the good from the bad. Your time is precious and you don’t want to waste it at some “bad” conference so make sure you consider: who’s talking and attending, what topics will be covered (just mobile, only web, etc), and where it’s located. You’ve got to be savvy and find the right ones that are most suitable for you.

In the list below, I’ve found a lot of value in these conferences for a few reasons. First, they’re in great locations and allow for ample networking opportunities with the leading product managers in the industry. Also, they’re covering the most advanced and forward thinking topics in the industry. If you’re looking for the best conferences for a PM this year make sure to check these conferences out:

  1. Mind the Product
  2. Mobile World Congress
  3. UX London (first day is tailored specifically to PMs)
  4. UX + Dev Summit

Your Own Community

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Every year seems to bring new ways to stay connected with your colleagues and peers – and 2017 is no different. From Slack groups to various online forums – community is key. And for product managers it’s no different. Finding the right community is imperative to really grow and hone your skills. While Slack clearly took the cake for 2016, 2017 is WhatsApps. WhatsApp is specifically powerful for product managers for a slew of reasons such as:

  1. Real time updates directly to your phone
  2. Personal/friendly feel
  3. Connected with a hyper relevant group of people
  4. Can ask your “real” questions without any judgement
  5. Connect with the international PM community

If you’re not familiar with WhatsApp groups there are a few things you should be made aware of such as screening processes. The groups that are just open to any and everyone tend to be less focused and become spammy quickly. But the quality groups, will usually have some sort of screening process either with a small application or the Admin will message you privately with a few questions. This process is important because it enables these WhatsApp groups to be highly focused. Any deviation from the actual target audience/topic can completely derail the entire group. To get started, join the latest WhatsApp group for professional, mobile product managers here.

Growth in 2017

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To wrap up, 2017 is the year of growth professionally and personally. For product managers there are a variety of tools to help you achieve this from Slack groups to online courses. It takes a mixture of all of them to achieve your goals. Be connected with your fellow local and international PM community by joining communities. Take these first steps and you’ll learn and develop as a product manager.

Comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

John

This post was originally a LinkedIn Pulse article by Yanay (John) Sela.

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