Product Management is a versatile role that sits at the intersection of many functions. At its core, a Product Manager’s job is to build the product, take it to market, and follow it through to success. It takes a wide set of hard skills and soft skills to master the art of Product Management. Hard skills, or technical skills, are directly related to your job and the work you’re doing. Meanwhile, soft skills are required for most jobs, like communication, team management, and collaboration. Let’s look at a few key skills that every Product Manager is expected to be good at.
There are no specific educational prerequisites to enter Product Management, but you’ll be expected to know the business fundamentals. You must understand budgeting, cash flow, how to read a balance sheet, and so on. When you build a product, the process is bound to be affected by other factors such as finance and logistics. You must know how to navigate through these departments and push for timely development. Moreover, you will be present at revenue discussions, profit forecast discussions and all things business.
Product Management Competencies
As a Product Manager, you will be conducting extensive research, building strategies, road-maps, coordinating development, marketing and improvising based on feedback and analysis. There are multiple ways to approach this, so it’s expected that Product Managers are know various frameworks and methodologies. Take some time to learn about the various product management frameworks, strategies to innovate, acquire new customers, penetrate new markets, satisfy existing customers and a million more!
Research and Analysis
We’re living in a data-driven market today. Product Managers rely on data-based decisions to influence their plan. Data can help you determine new opportunities as well as alert you against new threats in the market. It all comes down to how good you are at conducting market research, how well versed are you with using different tools to compile and analyze data, and how you derive actionable insights from such data. It might seem technical to begin with, but every Product Manager must aspire to be proficient in research, metrics and analytics skills.
Learn to Talk
Meeting notes, release notes, wikis, presentations, training materials—sometimes it might appear as if Product Managers only handle communication tasks. They act as a repository of knowledge and a decision maker who is required to communicate and influence stakeholders, management, developers and marketers, all at the same time! Needless to say, he must have a way with words. Product Managers also speak to consumers from time to time to tap the pulse of the market.
Business and technical skills are important, but in order to be a successful product manager, you’ll need people skills. With the number of responsibilities at hand, the first thing to learn is how to delegate. Do what you do best, and delegate the rest. But it’s not just about being a taskmaster. A product manager must be able to support and influence his team members by understanding their strengths and weaknesses, empathizing with them, and inspiring them to bring out the best.
Being a Product Manager is no less than being a superhero, but the journey is a long and rewarding one. Get started with the basics and stay tuned for more useful tips!