Working in Startup vs Big company

I am currently actively interviewing. I hope I will have several options soon. Which include a healthcare startup (Ai, ML, etc) and a large (2000+ employees) B2B platform solution.

I understand that there is a difference in a working style between this two. Does anybody have any specific experience to compare the PM work in small and big companies?

This is a common and not easy question. From my experience, these two environments are completely different.

In a startup, you usually work directly with CEO, CFO, COO. The PM team is small and your resources are very limited. On the other hand, you can impact the product by prioritizing and owning the roadmap, which is a good feeling. Also in a small company, you are more flexible. In most cases, you are responsible for the entire product.
The growth path is risky. If a startup is not growing fast, you are not growing too.

In a big company, you have very narrow responsibilities. I know examples of PMs who are responsible only for one page (e.g. PM of checkout experience). But for in this narrow area, you can do a lot of researched and experiments. Usually, you have a better development team and some resources are dedicated to your product.
The growth path is clear and predictable.

The bottom line is there is no better way, it all depends on your career goals.

@saurabhdayama, @Chika, guys what do you think?

Another lens to think about is what product you’ll be working on and where that is in the product lifecycle. Many smaller and early stage companies are still looking for product market fit so as a pm, you’re focused on finding the early adopters and early majority market. As a pm at this stage of company and product, you’re leaning into a lot of the other functions of the business that might not be filled… you’re doing some marketing, maybe some tech, and a whole lot of customer development and user research. As @NikitaSkitev mentioned, your’e doing this all with limited resources, most of the time.

With larger more established companies, as @NikitaSkitev mentioned, pms tend to have specific responsibilities but there’s a lot more stakeholder management involved in executing. More established companies have bigger risk exposure so pms have to work well with stakeholders to mitigate risk more effectively. So while you’re managing one particular area of a product, you’ll most likely have to go through more red tape (talking to legal, marketing, ops, etc depending on organization) to get new features implemented.

To add more complexity, you experience as a pm also depends on where the product falls in strategic priorities for the company. If you’re at a mature company that has a portfolio of products that are in a mature market, there’s a different set of skills needed to be a pm there vs a pm who is working for a product that is deemed a cash cow for the company.

All things being equal, go for the position that will give you access to a very experienced product management leader. This is the number one multiplier for a career, based on my experiences. Excellent product leaders give you a solid foundation on how to level up as a pm. I’d go to which ever position that would give you access to that type of boss.

That’s awesome advice! Thank you!

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