The State of Blockchain PM as 2020 Begins.

If I remember correctly, I've written these "State of" posts for the past 2-3 years. It feels like a beneficial way to summarize my observations from the previous year. I hope you find it beneficial!

Among crypto projects, project and product management seems to be establishing itself, albeit slowly, as necessary skill sets. The recognition is strongest on the enterprise blockchain side. Since I'm not interested in enterprise blockchain, the rest of this issue will focus on the "other" side of crypto.

The number of jobs I've found for this newsletter has stayed roughly consistent throughout the year. I think that number's hovered in the high-teens to low twenties. Remember, this excludes enterprise and only focuses on what I consider true crypto projects.

Working with projects via Chainflow, it feels like I'm encountering an increasing number of product managers. This is especially true with the staking projects I advise. There does seem to be a growing number of project managers in the space, yet fewer than product managers.

Projects with traditional investors, e.g. VCs, hire PMs more often that those who have self-raised their funding. Even so, a growing number of product managers are emerging in non-VC backed projects.

VC backed projects usually have founders who have lived the startup cycle before. Their new crypto project isn't their first. As a result, many of them also recognize the benefit product and project managers bring to a project.

So if you're looking for a job in crypto, your best bet is looking at VC-funded projects with an experienced founding team. If you don't want to go that route, volunteer to do some light PM structuring for one of your favorite crypto projects. The latter's how I broke into the space.

I'd say there's still a healthy dose of skepticism among developers toward PMs. It feels like many have been burned by bad PMs in the past. So I get where they're coming from on this.

To work within this bias, I'm still seeing that taking as light an approach as possible to be the most beneficial way to establish successful PM coordination among these teams.

In 2020, my sense is the acceptance of PMs in crypto will continue growing on an incremental basis. The growth should track the urgency projects feel to ship real projects and products that real people will use.

As Ethereum faces more competition for Dapp developers and users, this urgency may increase. I don't see it increasing exponentially. A slow and steady increase is more likely.

So what can we do as PMs? We can work with projects to help them ship, then onboard real developers and real users. Taking as light an approach as possible, while willing to take on more of the PM burden than you may be used to taking on, will help overcome a team's skepticism.

Also. as mentioned before, volunteering with your favorite crypto project is another good place to start. Many of these projects, especially those that aren't heavily VC-funded, can find significant benefit in even the slightest amount of coordination. I'll write more about this in a future post. Let me know in the Blockchain PM Telegram Group if you'd like to discuss specific examples in the meantime.

Getting more effective PMs in the space and demonstrating our value is the key here 🔑.


P.S. - This was first published in my Blockchain PM newsletter here. Subscribe for free to receive posts like this and PM jobs listings about once a week.

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