What makes a great product manager?
August 21, 2018
August 21, 2018
In many careers there are clear paths starting from college, to entry level all the way to leadership roles where a young professional can see the steps they need to take to make it in a career that interests them. This is not the case with product management. There is no clear path, background, study, training or certification that defines what a product manager resume must look like. As a result, you will see the question what makes a great product manager pop up often as there is not a lot of great visibility into what the role entails. From our experience, here are the top traits we see to define what makes a great product manager.
What Makes A Great Product Manager?
Sales Person: If you think as a product manager you lay out a vision for a product and everyone follows your lead, this is not the case. The reality is that as a product manager, you complete a lot of research to define what you believe will be best for product and business and then need to sell your vision and strategy to your team, users and stakeholders to gain their confidence in your vision.
Communication: Product teams have a lot of moving parts. Customer teams work with users and they are looking for updates on when changes will be ready or if they are planned for the future. Product development teams need to know what the scope of a release includes and plan for future releases. Marketing needs to know what is coming so they can be prepared as does sales, so they know what new is coming that can be pushed out to the market. Product Managers need to keep everyone in the loop with the product roadmap to make it all work.
Organized: Product managers need to keep track of user feedback, product features, planned releases and ensure that all of the moving parts are data driven and customer centric. This requires a good amount of organization to ensure you do not loose track of information and constantly working to move the ball forward across the organization.
Customer Focused: A big part of product management is being willing to listen to the voice of the customer and hear the pain points they are experiencing. This could be with your product or in the industry as a whole and focusing on how to resolve the pain points with your product.
Data Centric: Great product managers don’t use gut feelings. They use customer feedback and data points to drive product features. They can back up why they are laying out the product roadmap to include certain features and once released, looking at additional data on adoption to drive further changes.
They Care: Product managers control the Destiney of a product driven business. They need to care about the business success and understand the key metrics that drives the business and the touch points that matter. Conversions, churn, on boarding, and other touch points about the product that lead to increase revenue and adoption need to be fully understand and the product manager honestly has to be interested in seeing the business grow.
What makes a great product manager is a combination of the above where the focus is more on the soft skills more than the technical or industry knowledge. Product managers need to be collaborators to come up with a product roadmap that focuses on solving real customer pain points and driving business growth. Once the roadmap is prepared, they need to be willing to sell the roadmap to their users and team to motivate everyone to deliver the vision.