The list of product management skills is shockingly long. Is that really all it takes to be a good product manager? Not necessarily.
Nowadays, to get your dream job as a product manager, you might think that you need to be able to walk on water and perform other miracles when the situation requires. A great product manager also has a problem-solving magic wand. But how can you develop these miraculous product management skills?
Let’s dive in!
What is a product manager?
A product manager is a professional who is responsible for developing the products of a company or brand. They manage a cross-functional product development team to create, develop and launch a product. The product refers to the service, physical or digital product being sold. Its customers and users may be individuals or companies, institutions, resellers, etc.
The role of product managers is constantly changing as a direct result of the emergence of new technologies. Product managers need to be able to supervise teams of engineers and developers, manage product development from start to finish, and provide leadership. They need to be able to collaborate on an ongoing basis not only with customer representatives, but also with stakeholders in related business units, such as marketing, finance, or top decision-makers.
These roles require both soft and hard skills, some of which include analytical skills, technical knowledge, and communication skills. Above all, product managers need to keep the needs and interests of product users in mind and follow them closely throughout the product development process and the entire product lifecycle.
In this article, we look at the key product management skills needed to be effective and successful in their positions.
- Proficiency in communication and collaboration
As we have written before product management is all about collaboration and alignment. Product managers need to understand what customers want, not just what they say they want. They also need to collaborate with their team on daily basis to ensure that all stakeholders get what they need. Product managers should always be looking at the big picture, thinking about how the product will fit into the company strategy and how it will help the company achieve its goals.
All of these require excellent interpersonal and communication skills, and great experience in dealing with disputes and conducting meetings. All of these require excellent interpersonal skills, strong leadership abilities, and the ability to work well under pressure. You must also have a passion for your job and enjoy working with others.
2. Technical product management skills
Required product management skills may be different: working with software and applications needs broad, if not in-depth, technical knowledge. It is useful if they have an innate interest in the various methodologies, tools, and frameworks of agile product development, as they need to be able to plan and manage the work of the developers, testers, and designers in their teams. They also need a comprehensive knowledge of technology to ensure that the product or service meets the desired requirements in terms of functionality, design, and user experience.
3. Product manager’s time management skills
Time is money, time is power. We’ve all heard these expressions so many times before. We think that time is much more important than respect. As a skilled product manager, it is tough to deliver a project on time, especially if you are working with a software development team. This is why, when you do you do deliver on time, it shows a great deal of respect and care for your clients, which always helps to build a healthy working relationship. To be able to deliver you also need to have a willing team. To motivate them and lead by example, you can train them by being on time. Always.
4. Research and analytic skills
Research and analytical skills and expertise are key for product managers. With basic market research skills, they can determine what types of products their consumers need and what similar products and services are offered by competitors. They also need to understand what comparative product advantages can give them an edge in the marketplace. Once market research has been commissioned or conducted, product managers need to be able to analyze the results and apply and use this data to make informed decisions in product development.
Good product managers know how to look for USPs and how to use research to find them. Only then can they decide on effective product features and solutions that not only prevent product failure but ultimately lead to a successful product.
Good research skills and data analysis will ensure that product managers are always aware of marketing threats and opportunities and provide them with a solid foundation for creating a product that will lead to market success.
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5. Strategic thinking skills
Product managers need to apply strategic thinking at all stages of product development. From understanding the market to deciding how, when, etc. to launch a new product, the successful execution of many product management tasks requires careful planning, informed and considered decisions, and ultimately strategic thinking.
Product management skills also need a boost to have a thorough understanding of the products:
- Strengths and weaknesses
- Expected life cycle
- Target audience, segmentation, and possible changes
- Marketing strategy
- Sales forecasts
Other strategic thinking product management skills include quick and effective problem-solving, risk management, good stress management, and goal orientation.
6. Practice over theory
You can be familiar with expressions such as agile product management, but without using the right tools, it is likely to just stay in theory. With StoriesOnBoard you can put your planning hat on, expand your product management skills, and start preparing for your first magic trick.
After seeing the big picture on a story map or a product roadmap, you’ve got a better understanding of the product management processes. You can import and export your tasks back and forth to your backlog, whether it’s in JIRA, Azure DevOps, or Trello from StoriesOnBoard! Do you want to learn more about how you can use your system to ease your workflow? Then check out our tutorials.
7. Business skills
Most product managers need to understand basic business concepts and how a company or market works to do their job effectively. For example, when developing a product strategy, a product manager needs to know what pricing strategy to use, and how different discounts, revenues, and expenses affect the business. Product managers need to consult customers on current and expected revenues and plan product development budgets.
8. Marketing skills
Marketing is one of the essential product management skills. They need to plan exactly who the customers and users will be and how best to sell the product. This includes the ability to develop a pricing strategy and to carry out research and analysis. Marketing product management skills include the ability to successfully launch, market, and sell products and services.
9. Prioritization skills
One of the most difficult tasks for product managers is to prioritize product features and other development goals. They have to consider what is important, what is urgent, what will generate more revenue, and what users or business customers want. They need to make decisions without compromising the product’s purpose and the basic design and even meet deadlines in the process. Good prioritization skills and good, informed decisions can ensure the success of the product.
9. Leadership skills
Know your crew as much as you need to know the tools that you are using. You also have to gain great insight into your team as a whole and individually. Explore their talents, don’t be afraid of asking them to do new tasks, and allow them the freedom to express themselves. The worst thing that can happen is that you find out one of their weaknesses so that you can better manage them in the future.
On the other hand, what if you find out that one of your existing team members has the necessary skill to do a certain task that you’ve been crying out for? Knowing your team is also about knowing when it is the right time to make them do the extra mile and when they need to rest.
The following skills are also important for a good product manager:
- Delegation skills
- Coaching skills
- Be a great listener
The product manager’s responsibility and rewards
Being a product manager is all about making decisions while you are stressed out Every project has its ups and downs. Product management skills are no different than making decisions while under stress and still having to put on a motivating face. It’s important to remember that if your team is underperforming, it’s not always their fault. You may not have cut those processes into small enough pieces, or you may have underestimated the time needed. This problem can be prevented, for example, by working with your team at the planning stage.
With StoriesOnBoard you can easily share the plan with them and let them contribute too!
Remember, a good product manager always delivers in the end. Take time to show your appreciation for your team and celebrate! Champagne!