What It Takes to Become a Great Product Manager.
Product management is becoming an increasingly popular career choice, and many people are exploring options which will allow them to take the plunge into product. But the truth of the matter is – there are various skills and knowledge that you need to succeed in this industry.
So…. what does it take to become a successful Product Manager (PM)?
There will be many different opinions on what makes a ‘great’ product manager, but for those wishing to embark on this career path, I personally believe you should adopt or take note of the following factors to become a success:
1) Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
An important consideration for product managers – and all other tech careers for that matter! Whilst a good product manager may understand all the do’s and don’ts of a customer interview, a good PM is the one which can sympathise with an interviewee, tune into his or her body language and grasp the key points that a product will address.
Emotional intelligence is often one of the most underestimated skills we possess!
2) Company-Product Fit
Company-Product fit involves a number of aspects, but the most important ones in my opinion are the relevant skills to deeply understand an organisation and its product. This means the ability to understand the product function, the business objectives and the customers. Many companies often require product managers to take and pass a core skills test, irrespective of the type of product they are going to work on but follow up with company and customer knowledge.
3) Relationship Management
By fostering a trustworthy and authentic connection with both external and internal stakeholders, a good PM encourages people to reach their full potential. I never say no to an office game of ping pong, and it really can make all the difference in the workplace to foster those personal relations!
In order to stay objective and avoid projecting their own preferences or ideas onto those using their products, PM’s need to stay ‘self-aware’. Self-management and social awareness, managing tight deadlines, market demands, resource constraints, prioritisation conflicts, amongst others, can be stressful for any person. If a PM is not able to manage their emotions, then it can be easy for others to lose confidence in you.
5) Core Competencies
And then finally, there are certain competencies that all PMs must possess, and most of these are gained with time and often through mentorships. Examples include: running design prints, user testing and conducting interviews, the art of resource allocation, road map planning and feature prioritisation, revenue modelling and pricing and conducting market assessments; these core skill-sets are what define product managers.
As a PM, (or an aspiring PM) you need to hone these skills until they become second nature.
It requires dedication and persistence to be able to get to a place where you can comfortably and confidently carry out your duties as a PM.