Life of PM: Shyvee Shi, Product Manager at LinkedIn, Shares Her Experience & Advice for Aspiring PMs
Life of PM

Life of PM: Shyvee Shi, Product Manager at LinkedIn, Shares Her Experience & Advice for Aspiring PMs

Amritsawan Bhanja
4
 min read
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Shyvee is a Product Manager at LinkedIn, an instructor at LinkedIn Learning, and host of the "Product Management Learning Series". Shyvee is also a speaker and coach. She has taught workshops and spoken at leading Universities like Harvard, Columbia, Northwestern, Washington, UC Riverside, and Fortune 1000 companies like LinkedIn, Deloitte, Cloudflare, Snowflake, and Coupang. Shyvee is also a prolific content creator on LinkedIn, where she shares product management and career tips daily since September 2021. In the past year, she has built an engaged global following of 60K and her content has had 15M views!

Outside of work, Shyvee loves reading books, riding her Peloton bike, traveling, cooking, and doing craft projects.

When did you first become passionate about product management?

It took me a while to get a conviction for product management. I had limited exposure to what product management was. There were very few PM role models around me during college. 

I started working as a management consultant in Hong Kong as a starting point to explore different career options. I did a few digital transformation projects, designing apps and crafting digital strategies for over 12 clients in 6 different industries. When I relocated from Hong Kong to the US to pursue my Master’s degree at Northwestern University with Kellogg School management and McCormick School of Engineering, I got more interested in product management.

But I didn’t think I would be qualified to be a PM. I doubted my ability because I didn't have a computer science background. Imposter syndrome showed up and I talked myself down. After graduation, instead of pursuing PM, I continued to operate in a strategist role with a different consulting firm. Gradually and steadily, I realized I love talking to the users, digging deep to uncover user needs, and coming up with solutions. I transitioned from Consulting to Tech and found a role at LinkedIn where I got to work with engineers and designers. This built up my confidence to pursue a career in product. I love building products that can impact millions of people!

How did you evolve as a PM at LinkedIn?

I joined LinkedIn back in 2018. I first started as a PM for internal tools. My focus was to build tools to help streamline our sales processes and help our sales reps sell better to our customers. In two years, I transitioned internally into LinkedIn Learning. 

I love that I could help millions of people up-skill and upscale with our learning products. My role evolved three times within LinkedIn Learning: started with a platform-focused role to one that focused on search and discovery, working with AI/ML technology. Most recently, I transitioned into a strategy-focused role helping more experts to share learning content on LinkedIn.

What are some key skills required when transitioning from non-PM roles to PM?

First, learning how to work with engineers and designers. Learn how to gain their trust fast: dive deep into learning the technology and really listen to their perspectives. Seek to understand before you try to influence them with your opinions. 

Second, learn to adopt an experimental mindset to iterate ideas quickly and continuously. It’s important to define assumptions upfront and validate if an idea is worth pursuing, often before the product is built. Get familiar with A/B testing to measure and communicate product impact. 

Third, be a fast learner and operate at a high capacity. Whether it’s learning new technical concepts (like me learning AI/ML), project managing large cross-functional teams, or diving deep into an ocean of data, interviewing end users, defining product strategy, and doing vision shaping work, successful PMing requires you to be a fast learner who can juggle multiple tasks at once.

Could you walk us through your daily routine?

I start my day around 7:30 am. I like to listen to podcasts or audiobooks as I'm getting ready. I start my work by posting daily content on LinkedIn. 

I spend about 10-20% of my time checking in with the various team leads for status updates. About 30 to 40% of my time is spent working with engineers to resolve their questions and help them prioritize their work. 20% of my time goes into design and user research, meeting with UX researchers, reviewing their design, or sitting in a user research session to listen to what our users say about our product.  Another 10-20% is working with data science on reviewing experiment results and reviewing results for data analysis. I try to carve out dedicated time for strategy work and writing vision docs. Then, I get off work usually around 5-6 pm. I usually read and work on creative projects after work. See another example of Shyvee’s weekly calendar here.

What are a few hacks you use to remain productive?

I try different things to keep myself productive and organized. For example, I try to carve out deep work on Wednesdays where I can do strategy work. I also try to schedule meetings of similar nature on the same day to avoid context switches and stay “in the flow” to increase productivity. Back-to-backs with small buffers work better than too many 30-min “dead times” in between meetings. This way, you can plan for “light meeting days” to focus on deep work.

I try to manage my day based on my energy: I am most productive in the mid-morning. Hence, I usually do challenging tasks in the morning. And then I'm least productive at 4 or 5 pm. I often check Slack or emails or go for a walk during that time of the day. Learn more about Shyvee’s productivity tips in this post.

What should an aspirant do to find a good PM job?

I would suggest talking with a lot of PMs who are 1-2 steps ahead of you and who have managed to get the job you are eyeing. Keep preparing and do a lot of interview preparation. Be ready to tell your story in a way that you can position your skills as an asset to an organization. Getting hands-on experience working with PMs and engineers can be really helpful, not just having a theoretical understanding of product management. You can volunteer to do a side project or create your own product. Check out this PM Career Roadmap to chart your path and learn more details on how to transition to Product Management here.

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