The 5 Different Types of Product Managers

Alex Mitchell
8 min readMar 10, 2019

Which one are you (or do you want to be)?

Almost every time I do an AMA, speak at a conference or teach a class to aspiring Product Managers, I get a form of this question:

What skill sets do you think are mandatory for Product Managers in technology?

The question is a good one, but is far too broad for a tweet-length reply. For that reason, I’m dedicating this post to starting the conversation.

First, we’re going to take a step back and look at the different types of Product Managers I’ve seen in my career before sharing the skills (while not quite mandatory) that I see as incredibly important and correlated with success as a Product Manager.

Keep an eye out too for an upcoming talk at Product School’s DC launch on the topic and a webinar that goes into even more depth!

Finally, I’ve borrowed parts of this blog post from my book, Building Digital Products (2nd Edition). If you’re an aspiring, a new or even an experienced Product Manager looking to level-up, I’d suggest grabbing a copy!

What Does a Typical Product Manager Look Like?

One of the most interesting aspects of the Product Manager role is that people with very different backgrounds can succeed in very different ways.

However, there are some more common Product Manager archetypes that I have observed and would like to share to illustrate the breadth of personalities and skillsets in this career.

This is by no means an exhaustive list and Product Managers come in many, many, forms. Some may not even have the title Product Manager.

The 5 Different Types of Product Managers

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Alex Mitchell

Product @Kinsured | 5x Product Leader/Founder | Syndicate: bit.ly/mitchell-ventures | Author: @producthandbook @disruptbook