Best skills for product management

skills for product management

There are certain skills for product management that will ensure a product’s success. Product managers are responsible for making sure that products meet customer needs while also meeting company’s goals. And not only that, they need to be in charge of several teams that are involved in product development.
Product managers (PMs) are in charge of directing teams of engineers, marketers, designers, and other professionals to create new products and services. If this process is not well carried out, there could be flaws in one of the teams’ performance.

Why is a product manager important for a company?


A product manager cares deeply about a specific product assigned by the company. Once the project is in his hands, there is the need to envision this product in its best possible version. It’s like receiving the first walkman and visualizing from there that it would transform into something like an advanced mp3 player.

This vision can’t be achieved immediately, since it’s necessary to define and implement different strategies for the product’s success. Innovation is necessary, but there are limitations in technological requirements for product development, production costs, marketing, and sales.

Elon Musk said, “Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time. Sometimes it will be ahead, other times it will be behind. But a brand is simply a collective impression some have about a product.” The product manager is an important piece for the company, because the skills this person has will keep the product in the market for a long time.

Responsibilities of a product manager


This role is responsible for creating products that meet customer needs while also being profitable. A PM could have the greatest innovation idea in his mind to upgrade an existing product of the company. However, if by doing so the company will have to sacrifice a lot of the revenue or increase the prices by a great margin, probably the market won’t react properly to those changes.

The product manager has to identify and measure what additional needs can be satisfied with the product, if the market is demanding them, and if there can be new developments to satisfy those needs.

Among other responsibilities, it is also important to create a communication plan for the product development. Create the product vision and roadmap. Establish the sales goals, design and develop marketing campaigns, and supervise all teams involved in the development of the product.

Skills needed for product management


“The only way to win is to learn faster than everyone else”. – Eric Ries.

Nowadays, companies that are more successful are the ones that are in constant development and innovation processes. In the same way, the product manager needs to fulfill special skills for product management.

A good product manager has to be able to communicate effectively with customers, employees, and stakeholders. They need to understand how to work within an organization and how to collaborate with others. They should be able to think strategically and creatively, as well as being able to execute on those ideas.

Product management skills list


If you are planning to hire a PM, or you need to make sure your project will be well handled, the following list will provide you with some insight on important skills for product managers:

  • Interpersonal.
  • Communication.
  • Emotional intelligence.
  • Research.
  • Analytical.
  • Leadership.
  • Marketing.
  • Strategic thinking.
  • Business.
  • Time management.
  • Social awareness.
  • Technical.
  • Proactive.
  • Flexible.
  • Problem solving.

One way to confirm these skills is trying to check the product manager’s resume. There you can analyze the different projects he was involved in, obstacles, and results.

We will go deeper only in some of the previous mentioned skills for product managers:

Interpersonal skills


A product manager needs to interact with many teams and members involved in the development of a product, and even with customers. If a PM doesn’t generate empathy with the other team members or causes a lot of problems among the team, the product development process won’t work out.

Communication


A good product development process can be destroyed because of lack of communication. A product manager needs to have the necessary skills to send the correct message to every member of the team at the right time. Imagine the chaos if the PM confuses the engineering team about their deadlines and then talks to marketing and mentions features of the product that won’t really be included in the first version.

Research


A PM must have the ability to investigate the market, know the needs of the potential clients and analyze the competition. Doing good research guarantees that the product will be developed taking into account the different threats, obstacles and opportunities identified in the market.

Analytical


Data plays an important role in the development process of the product. One of the most important skills for product management is the ability to analyze all data related to the market, trends, products, customers, and competitors. The product manager must be able to take this information and use it in favor of the decision making and development of the product.

Leadership


Successful teams deliver results because they are led by a great leader. That’s why it is important to have a PM that can lead and inspire every member of the team to give their best for the product.

Marketing


A product manager must know how to make a product marketable. The PM must create marketing strategies that impact positively on the customers, create good campaigns, and set the prices of the product.

Time management


Usually the company that reaches the market first is the one that succeeds more in branding, results, and market share. If there is a product that needs to be developed and launched, the product manager must know when is the best time to introduce it in the market. This means all teams involved in the development need to fulfill specific deadlines to launch the product on time.

Proactive


Another important skill for product managers is being proactive. This person must anticipate every possible situation that may affect the product’s development or performance in the market. If the product manager is being surprised every day by different obstacles or threats, it means that he isn’t a proactive person. Therefore, the product development process may have bad results.

Problem solving


Product management requires the capacity to solve any problem that may arise. Whether it is a technical problem, design, logistics, manufacturing, or marketing. The PM must be ready to propose solutions instead of being pessimistic about the obstacles presented in the process.

Besides the skills mentioned above, a product manager must use several tools to guide and measure correctly the product development process. For instance, the PM must use survey apps to interview the customers, tracking and analysis tools, software for roadmapping, messaging apps to maintain communication with the team members, project management tools, among others.

We hope this article helps you to understand why a product manager needs specific skills for product management. Take into consideration the importance of this role for a product’s success in the market. If you are going to hire a PM to be in charge of your product, you would like this person to fulfill almost all of the skills listed above.

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