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Leading our Product recruitment service in Germany, Tom Shingler speaks to Jörg Malang, whose experience in the Product Management market in Germany gives us great insight into how to tackle common Product Management challenges.

Jörg Malang is the Founder and Initiator of the Senior Product Leadership Group (SPLSG). The group offers Product Leadership knowledge and insights to its members, focusing on General Management Skills & Leadership Ability, helping to build Product Managers' personal brands and offer networking opportunities.

Having worked previously as Chief Product Officer in several companies (e.g. at XING AG & HOTEL DE) and Director of Product (e.g. at Nokia), we wanted to hear what Jörg had to say about his experiences: How to hire product management teams; his product management strategies and how he would approach the situation if trying to grow a product management team.

We asked: How would you go about building a team and recruiting product managers from scratch?

“Building a new product function is all about obtaining and developing high-quality product managers. These may be your existing staff or assessing new quality talent that comes through the doors early on. You have different types of frameworks that you can use for this assessment. My favourite generic framework for what a good product manager should be, is written about by Marty Cagan, Partner at Silicon Valley Product Group.

Jörg speaks about what he feels that the key is to retain great talent: 

“I always treat existing staff the same way as new recruits and make sure from an early stage that everyone knows the structure and the way that people work together. You need to ensure you are exploring new ideas and constantly push technology and user experience in order to be attractive for good product managers. Last, but not least, it is vital to empower them.”

What would you say is the best way of developing and coaching a Junior Product Manager?

“I always set Junior Product Manager’s goals early on and ask them to picture where they want to be and break it down the steps and objectives. This can be done for any product management discipline. You need to spend enough, regular 1:1 time with all your product managers.

We asked him for his advice for aspiring Product Manager looking to become a Head of Product:

“You need to go beyond the Product Management basics and think about how you would step up to a broader product leadership role. You need to think about how you can influence stakeholders and how you can have an impact on the strategic direction of your organisation whilst, at the same time, managing your product(s) daily.”

What is the best piece of advice you would give to your younger self?

“I would say don’t be too worried about not being overly technical. I have a lot of respect for senior people in technology. But I must remind myself that as a Product Owner, I was sometimes a little bit too humble in front of IT and Chief Experience Officers. I forgot the value we actually bring to organisations as product managers and that we don’t need to be afraid of working together with tech teams and CXOs.”

We’d like to thank Jörg for taking the time to speak to us about his experiences and frameworks that he recommends when structuring a good product management team.

Consortia are specialist Product Management recruiters across Germany, sourcing Product Management jobs in Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg etc. We know our markets inside out, offering product management consultancy, so if you are currently looking for an expert recruitment agency to support your hiring efforts, get in touch to see the talent that we can bring into your organisation. We hire a range a roles from Digital Product Owners to Product Directors.

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