Top tip to be an effective product manager is all about relationships
July 27, 2018
July 27, 2018
As a product manager, you rely on others to be successful which means one of the top skills a successful product manager needs to have is the ability to build meaningful relationship with others. As there is no direct career path into product management, many times people move into this role from a variety of backgrounds and often ask what are the skills needed to be a good product manager. While the role requires a wide range of skills, the number one skill and top talent needed to be an effective product manager is to learn how to grow relationships and build upon them to accomplish buy in on what you are doing, confidence in you as a leader and trust in the relationship is two ways.
Building relationships with users
Product managers need to create feedback loops with end users to hear how things are going within the product to find out what is working and what is not in order to make sure their product roadmap aligns with the needs of the users. In order to get customers to volunteer their time to help you build a great product, you need to invest in the relationship. You need to become a human and remember the customer is a human and start at that level of understanding that your customer has a need and you are there to solve that need. This would be no different than meeting a stranger and striking up a conversation. Treat your customers friendly, personally, and build a relationship with them. Learn about their use of your product and their business or life in general. Find out how you can help them more with your product. Invest in the relationship and the customer will be willing to invest back into you and therefore your product.
In order to be a successful product manager your customers need to see that when they talk with you it does not go into a black hole in which they never hear back or see results. Be responsive with sending emails with meeting minutes to show you heard what was said. Provide an action plan if they provided feedback on what the next steps are and when you will be implementing their changes or if not, why you will not be. Treat your customer with appreciation for the time they gave you and the insight provided so that they would be willing to do so again and grow the relationship.
Building relationships with your team
Product managers do not typically manage resources directly but instead coordinate the deliverables across teams. As a result, product managers need to develop a product roadmap and work with all areas of the business from support, sales, development and marketing to achieve buy in on the vision and make sure everyone understands why the roadmap is what it is and be open to feedback and suggestions from the team. As a result, product managers need to invest in building personal relationships with the team around them. To do this, product managers need to be open to listening to each member of their team to hear their feedback on opportunities for the product or what they see as the biggest weakness of the product. Like customers, each team member should see an action plan and see that you heard what they told you and that you are taking actions upon them.
In order to implement the product roadmap, product managers need their development team on board. If you do not get their buy in on the vision to understand what you are building and why, what is their motivation to put in the extra effort or ensure the deliverables are met with high quality with each release of the product building the product plan. The more your team understands and has bought into the vision and trusts in you as the product manager the more likely you are to be successful in your role. Product managers are leaders and decision makers and to be effective they require trust and buy in from the team to follow their lead. This requires dropping egos and being more humble in the approach of building relationships with all parts of the business team.
Vision requires everyone to execute
Product managers can have great vision on where they feel the product should go. Without personal relationships with their end users and team members that vision will never be executed. The top tip to be an effective product manager always starts with focuses on the relationships of all you work with internally and externally to ensure you have the support you need to see your product roadmap vision become a reality.