A visionary with a deep rooted interest in building better products is what makes a top product manager.
From product roadmapping to developing detailed product features, a product manager is involved in the lengths and breadths of product development.
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A product manager is a cross-functional leader who involves themselves in all aspects of the product — from operations, analytics, engineering and design, to legal and other departments of the company.
The role requires one to make data-driven decisions, user-behavior driven decisions, as well as marketing-driven decisions
A product manager should have a varying skill set encompassing both soft & hard skills. Further, the role of a product manager varies constantly with the organizations that they are attached to.
The most important hard skills you need as a PM are:
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User Experience Design: The ability to visualize a unique and usable product holds a high value in any product manager’s toolkit. Tailoring that to user expectations can make or break for any business.
Technical Aptitude: AI/ML should not be merely buzzwords for you, a solid technical understanding of your product can help you leverage technology to overcome all related issues.
Data Driven Decisions: If you have been living under a rock, then let me tell you something, “the world runs on data”. So, you need to instill a data-driven culture at your company. It is crucial in understanding various aspects of your product performance as well as validate any instinct a product manager might have.
Business Sensibility: It is essential to decide where to invest your team’s time and resources. Thereby building an effective product roadmap that leads to success and profitability.
Top Soft-skills for a PM:
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Leading Without Authority: Since a product manager’s role is highly cross-functional, the product manager needs to build credibility and earn the respect and confidence of the internal stakeholders, without being domineering.
Effective Communication: Clarity of thought enables one to communicate effectively with different stakeholders be it internal departments or senior management or the end-users of the product.
Negotiation: Balancing the needs of the product with the schedules and priorities of different teams requires carefully honed negotiation skills. The PM must keep in mind that the success of the product is shared with all, while you alone need to accept its downfall.
Prioritization: Developing a product means prioritizing certain ideas and tasks above others — that means saying no to a lot of good ideas that may not fit into your vision. There needs to be an established framework to ensure that time and resources are spent on building a product that users actually want.
A good balance of these skills will empower any product manager to develop top quality products and accelerate business growth.
Build Better Products with the PM