There once was a time when it was difficult to locate people with similar interests to engage in thoughtful debate and the sharing of ideas. That time is long gone for the product management community. In this living post, I share some of the different avenues to engage in or lurk in on all types of product management and product marketing conversations.
“Educated people are not those who know everything, but rather those who know where to find, at a moment’s notice, the information they desire.”1914-1915, The Expositor and Current Anecdotes, Volume 16, Indexing and Filing, Page XX
I cover Slack, Quora, and LinkedIn discussion communities. You may also find some relevant discussions on StackExchange, Reddit, and Twitter.
The hot general-purpose internal communication platform of the day is Slack. However, there seems to be a rapidly growing adoption of the tool beyond internal teams to external communities. The Product community has apparently jumped in with both feet to use this to its fullest.
Mind The Product – Over 20,000 users, moderated by the same people that bring us ProductTank network meetups in 185 cities globally since it got started in 2010 London. Co-Founded by Janna Bestow who also more recently co-founded ProdPad.com, a product management tool focused on roadmapping.
Product Collective – From the people behind INDUSTRY: The Product Conference, this is part of the overall community numbering 20,000 people. Does not seem as active as others but definitely some interesting channels, like one specific to product consulting. Just need to get more activity on it.
Product Management HQ ($25) – Claims to be the largest active PM community at 7,000 users. The big highlight is their live Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions with well-known product people that run every couple of weeks. Unfortunately, while it costs money to use, the slack domain is still using the free version so it does not overcome the expected free search limits.
Product Marketing Alliance – The slack community for over 4,000 product marketing pros managed by the PMA. This is where you want to head for topics like competitive analysis, pricing, positioning, launch, and market validation.
Product School – More than 40,000 users are on this slack domain. While there are many topics covered, this community may me best with helping newer and aspiring product managers. So their AMA channel will tilt towards more fundamentals of product management.
Product Stack – A slack community run by a few software companies focused on the ‘product management stack’ – Jama Software, Pivotal Labs, and ProductPlan. Not super active, but it is likely to keep growing with support from these commercial software shops.
The Product Group – From the very activity community responsible for great meetups in NYC and London, a robust global mentoring program (TheProductMentor.com), The Product Guy blog (tpgblog.com), and the Product Management Awards.
Keep in mind that all of these public communities are using the free version. So, while sponsored by some commercial training, industry association, or related group they are frequently limited to 10K searchable messages.
For communities with hundreds or thousands of active users, this can mean they maintain very limited accessible history. Still, I strongly recommend checking them out and not relying solely on the announced user numbers. User numbers are not perfectly correlated with slack activity.
Not everyone is in love with the functionality of slack. Some may even actively dislike the UX that drives some very inconsistent user behaviors. If you fit one of these personas or just want another community option that maintains a searchable repository beyond 10K posts, the next few options may be for you.
The place to ask questions and get lot’s of extremely lengthy answers. This is my kind of place, when I have lots of time. There are discussions all over Quora tied to product development, design, marketing, startups, organizational design, and more. Here are two specific places for product managers.
Product Management topic – A topic that is followed by 335K people! Lot’s answered questions dating back years that can be searched. The great thing about quora is you get to see answers from many people that may contradict each other. Unfortunately, most of our best questions do not have a single perfect answer. Vote up the ones you like best.
Ask a Product Manager space – 3,600 followers and a few dozen named contributors that are pretty well known within the general product community.
Finally, LinkedIn is another great community discussion resource. Here you will find a different discussion flow than on slack. Whereas slack tends to generate unpolished questions and answers, requests for feedback, and an ad-hoc feel — LinkedIn tends to start most discussions on a Post or Article Publication sharing someone’s perspective.
This creates a starting point that may feel like a high barrier for many to start on their own but works great when getting Though Leadership out for discussion.
Product Management – With over 112,471 members, this is the largest LinkedIn group for product management professionals.
PDMA Product Development and Management Association – This is the LinkedIn group managed by the PDMA. The group is huge and active. PDMA itself historically tended towards more academic research papers and articles. Join their association for that content and you will have access to their public and close community discussion groups. The LinkedIn group is less academic covering a variety of product-related topics from events, to podcast recaps, to best practice articles.
Creative Product Managers – The last product management related community to highlight on LinkedIn has over 70K users. Similar discussions as the other LinkedIn groups.