3 Years as a PM and Counting: Reflections and Gratitude

A Journey of Grace, Resilience, and Consistency

Princess Akari
4 min readMay 26, 2023

Three years — a seemingly short yet significant span of time. It’s been quite a ride — an incredible journey indeed, filled with invaluable lessons and some remarkable achievements. I’m still learning every chance I get — from my own experiences and from the stories and experiences shared by others.

As is my custom, I write my PM anniversary reflections annually, and it has become a fun tradition for me. If you’re curious, you can check out my previous musings from Year 1 and Year 2.


Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

I often find myself contemplating if I still identify as a junior PM or if I have transitioned into a mid-level PM.😂

These questions always come up: by whose standards should you evaluate your PM level? Should you rely on global benchmarks, the criteria set by your current company, or the standards within the Nigerian product management ecosystem?

Just to be safe, I will go with mid-level PM for myself, even though some people swear that the “shege” (shege = intense stress and challenges) I have seen in these few years qualifies me to be a senior PM. I worked as a freelancer for 1 year, and I have been fully employed for the other 2 years. All my work experiences have been in startups. Working with startups as a PM is not a walk in the park; if you know, you know.

I would say I am in a good place right now; I have mastered certain processes, and my confidence and skill level have incredibly grown. With each project/product completion and launch, I have become a better PM.

Compared to when I started in 2020 and now, my responsibilities have grown by multiple folds. I have been able to constantly give my best to every single task assigned to me and to personal projects I embark on. So far, I have handled all these things and more because of God’s grace and strength in my life and also because I take full advantage of my network of peers, colleagues, mentors, and a solid support system.

In the same vein, I also rely on the ever-helpful people in the PeopleInProduct (PIP) community. Within the PIP community, I consistently witness genuine acts of kindness. It is heartwarming to see the support and assistance that product managers extend to their peers. A big shout-out to all my PIP peeps. (“PIP peeps” may sound cringe, I know🤣).

So many times in the last 3 years, I toyed with the idea of transitioning out of product management and moving to business management and operations full-time, especially when I started business school early last year. I even did a Twitter poll on this topic and was willing to talk to people who transitioned from product management to other fields.

However, I decided to continue on the product management career path and still be open-minded about what the future holds for me.

A few lessons I have learned so far;

  • Effective communication, collaboration, and empathy are important for fostering strong connections and building trust among your team members and stakeholders. Don’t take them lightly.
  • Be adaptable and open to change because we are in an ever-evolving tech landscape. Be willing to embrace new tools, processes, and frameworks to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself; everyone is merely trying their best.
  • Maximize all the opportunities you get; everything is an opportunity; it’s your perspective that matters.
  • Nobody thrives in isolation; your ability to network and build relationships is a pivotal element in propelling your career forward.


Photo by Ann on Unsplash

As I look back on the past three years, I am immensely grateful for the unwavering support I have received from my colleagues, family, and friends. Their guidance, encouragement during challenging times, and belief in my abilities have been invaluable and a driving force behind my success. I am grateful for the countless opportunities to collaborate with brilliant minds on several teams and projects. All these opportunities have shaped and broadened my knowledge.

I am also grateful for the numerous awards and recognitions presented to me in the past 3 years, recognizing my incredible growth and contribution to the African tech ecosystem. Earlier this year, I received an endorsement from Tech Nation as a global talent, which subsequently led to my getting the UK Global Talent Visa. All these recognitions not only reaffirm my skills and expertise but also open doors to more possibilities. They serve as a testament to the hard work, dedication, and passion I have poured into my role as a product manager and also as a founder.

To the core team of volunteers at PIP that I have had the privilege to work closely with over the past 2 years, thank you for your dedication and relentless pursuit of excellence. Together, we have achieved remarkable feats and created a strong community that has made a huge impact.

Looking ahead, I am filled with excitement for what the future holds. I’m ready to embrace new challenges and opportunities.

Cheers to the next productive year! 🚀