Product managers are amongst the highest-rated, most well-respected careers in the world today, even though they are among the most for granted.
In business schools worldwide, MBA students have set their eyes on product management as their dream job. Colleges are beginning to create new majors and programs focused exclusively on product management due to high demand.
Before further explanation, let’s find out who a product manager is?
Who is a Product Manager?
A Product Manager stands at the intersection between business and technology, and servers as the middle person between the two. Their purpose is to interpret business goals to the engineering teams, and to report on product development progress to superiors.
That makes The job sounds easy, but standing at the intersection affects many tasks, tools, relationships, and strategies. And meetings. Always a lot of meetings!
Product Managers are often perplexed with Project Managers, but that is not very true. The main discrepancy lies in the number of responsibility and accountability these two roles entail. If someone goes seriously unfair during product development, the buck usually stops with the Product Manager.
A common analogy for a Product Manager is that they are the CEO of the product, but that is not entirely true either. People use this analogy mostly because both CEOs and Product Managers have a wide overview of their company/product. They both operate with cross-functional teams, hold the company/product vision, and are ultimately liable for the company/product.
But calling a Product Manager a CEO gives them power that they just do not have. If an engineer disagrees with the Product Manager, the Product Manager has to use their influence and not their authority to diversify their mind.
Around here, we prefer to believe of a Product Manager as the conductor of an orchestra. They may understand how to play a few instruments, but they can’t play them all! Instead, they guide the musicians to make the melody.
Product Manager Skills
To successfully complete their responsibilities, product managers must contain several skills. These include both soft and hard skills and contribute to the product manager’s ability to lead, make decisions and be more successful in their job role. The following are the top skills that product managers are expected to have:
1. Communication skills
Product managers spend much of their days communicating in one form or another. From product meetings to presentations to discussing with clients on their objectives and expectations, these professionals are regularly having to speak or write in a way that expresses their goals and priorities in an easy-to-understand manner. Product managers must also continually communicate with their teams to give direction and guidance and confirm product development is on the right track. Without excellent communication skills, product managers will not be able to effectively do many of their duties.
2. Technical expertise
Product managers who work with virtual products, such as software and apps, often require basic if not extensive technical knowledge. They must be able to work with the engineers on their team to recognize performance bugs and assure the product is up to par in terms of function, design and user experience.
3. Business skills
Many product managers require to understand basic business skills to effectively do their jobs. For instance, when creating a product strategy, a product manager should know how earnings, budgeting, cash flow and profit-and-loss all play a role in the product development project. Additionally, product managers may need to communicate with customers on current and projected revenues as well as make a case for a product development budget.
4. Research skills
These professionals regularly perform extensive market research to determine what type of products their consumers need as well as where the competition stands in relation to your organization. Good research skills and data analysis can keep product managers in the know about marketing opportunities and threats and give them a solid foundation for creating a successful product.
5. Analytical skills
Analytical skills and research skills go hand-in-hand for product managers. After completing marketing research, product managers must then analyze and use this data to make educated product decisions. Good product managers know how to use the data they have found to address issues and develop solutions that will ultimately lead to a successful product.
6. Interpersonal skills
In addition to strong communication skills, product managers must also have excellent interpersonal skills to effectively impact and lead the people they work with. From customers to stakeholders to team members, product managers are regularly striving to get others on board with their product vision. Good interpersonal skills for product managers to have include presentation, emotional intelligence, active listening, collaboration and negotiating skills.
What Does a Product Manager Do?
While there is no such thing as a typical day-to-day in product management, the role of Product Manager will usually include the following:
Product Managers dominate the strategic side of a product from the development to deployment. They cooperate with leaders in business from sales to marketing to operations to development. This is the key thing people answer when they are asked the question:
Tactical / Execution Work:
Product Managers facilitate the product life cycle from beginning to release and they evaluate the results to measure success.
Product Managers delegate work, give quick outlines on how on track the team is, present the final product, share key insights, and more through meetings. This just goes to show how significant communication is as a Product Manager.
A Product Manager keeps the whole team on track. They must make sure that the engineers, designers, and sales & marketers are all working in unison with each other.
Communicating with Seniors:
Product Managers regularly give progress updates to their superiors. A good Product Manager is able to take a roadblock and turn it into an insight or an opportunity.
Talking to Customers:
A good Product Manager knows the market and its customers and will always have the users in mind. A good PM will always look for feedback from users to know how hot or not the new product or feature is.
Working with Consultants & Vendors:
When working with a new dealer or a consultant, Product Managers must be in the loop on what the dealers want to change or what new system they are implementing.
Product Manager Job Description:
The Product Manager is accountable for the product planning and performance throughout the Product Lifecycle, including gathering and prioritizing product and customer requirements, defining the product vision, and working closely with engineering, sales, marketing and support to ensure revenue and customer satisfaction goals are met. The Product Manager also ensures that the product supports the company’s overall strategy and goals.