Top 10 Product Manager Skills
.In a previous post I discussed what it takes to be a product manager skills and qualities are positive traits for shoulder-to-shoulder combat with the development and design teams.
After reading that article many people asked me about what can be done to improve their own skill set and what are the latest product management best practices.
This follow up post is meant as guidance on how you, as an individual product manager, can become better at your job.
Top 10 Product Manager Skills:
Strong Communication Skills:
The ability to communicate effectively with all stakeholders involved in the development process (team, management, customers) is critical for success.
Everyone knows you have great ideas but if you cannot convey them clearly and passionately then they will never see the light of day.
I would say that it is just as important to be a good listener and not just a great talker – the only way to truly understand customer needs and market conditions is to ask questions and actively listen.
By understanding, at least on some level, how things work you will be better able to communicate with your development team about what can be done and what cannot.
For example, if you don’t know how long something might take or if there are technical limitations then projects start slipping through the cracks or worse yet never get off the ground in the first place.
That said, too much technical know-how can backfire also – if you are an engineer trying to manage a product then everyone knows that you are not the best person to do so.
You really need to know what you are trying to accomplish and why in order to communicate goals and strategies.
Many times it is not enough just to ask others what they want, you really need to dig deep and discover their true motivations and thus define the business strategy that plays into those motivations.
This is both a science and an art form, because you will still have people working at cross purposes with no one knowing the reason why – this is perhaps even more dangerous than having everyone on different pages.
Because now there are two groups who don’t know how they fit together which means more miscommunication.
This can be boiled down to more of self-management versus management of others specifically. However, to be able to make things happen in a large corporation you can’t be doing all the work yourself.
You need to know which tasks are most important and manage your time well enough to get them done or delegate them out.
You will need to know how to hire people for these roles as well, thus putting your interviewing skills into play.
This is the science part of knowing what you want in terms of products or services that you provide and then understanding how much customer demand.
There will be for that product/service so that it makes sense financially. There are many scientific formulas involve with making sure you have an idea vetted by numbers. Before going through full scale production, not only because it will represent your company. But because it will take time and money to develop this product or service.
You have to be able to communicate with all sorts of people. Whether they are investors, the press, potential customers, partners…etc.
The ability to listen well and ask questions is critical in everyone you interact with so that you can find opportunities for collaboration. The improvements or even new ideas that may not have ever occurred to anyone.
This skill includes creating a brand identity for yourself/company as well as understanding. How branding works in terms of getting attention for what you do thus generating interest in your product/service by consumers.
It also involves an education about how works through various media channels including social media, websites and other online tools.
Competency in Social Media:
Your entire marketing campaign may have to be rework if you haven’t been using social media yet. The connections you’ve made through this medium are not up to par with your competition.
You should also learn about the privacy settings on different social media sites. So that you don’t expose customer information before they’re ready for it.
If you intend to do a lot of networking then learning how to sell yourself is critical. Since a lot of people who attend networking events would rather talk about themselves. Instead of listening to what everyone else has going on.
This skill set includes being able to network, speak well in public and present information. In a concise manner and sell yourself and your organization.
When you’re working alone, it’s easy to stay organized. But when you have a team that’s what separates the good from the great.
The ability to manage people and projects will also prove invaluable as well. So even if someone doesn’t want to work with others.
They should still learn organization skills for their own personal use. As well as how to delegate tasks appropriately so multiple projects can be work on simultaneously.