5 Skills a Modern Product Manager Must Have

There are essentially three ways on how product managers work:

  1. They escalate every issue and decision up to the CEO, and in this model he is just an administrator. The majority of companies are in this category.
  2. The product manager calls in a meeting with all the stakeholders, gives them a couple of ideas and let’s them fight between each other. In this case, the PM is just a roadmap administrator.
  3. The product manager gets shit done. In this case, the PM is a winner.

My intention is to convince you that the 3rd way is the right one.

You know your customer better than anyone else

You know your business like the back of your hand

You are the go-to guy to learn about your industry and everything that’s happening in it

You know everything about all the trends, technologies, customer behaviours and expectations. You are so good at it that you could write a book about the job you are doing.

Competitors? You know everything about all of them, but you never let that distract you.

If I ask you how many people left or subscribed today, you know the answer

Today some companies and startups expect PMs to be comfortable with data and analytics. He should have both qualitative and quantitative skills. A big part of the data you need to know is — “What your customers are doing with your product?”

Most PM’s start their day with 30 minutes or so of studying the data of what happened in the past 24 hours. They are looking at: sales, usage and customer satisfaction analytics, results of A/B tests. And this is an important point that you must not delegate to the analytics department or an assistant. Why? Because you don’t want to miss important details of your customers. You must know everything to draw a bigger picture.

You are a risk taker and inventor

There are trends in our industry, such as machine learning, AI, VR, AR, voice. These are not just fads, but they are here to stay. So you have to be able to adapt, experiment, take risks and not be afraid to fail when trying something new.

If you are not excited about learning these new technologies and exploring with your team, then you need to reconsider if this a career for you. That’s why having a passion for products is essential. It is something you can’t teach. You just have it.

Are you sure this not the description of a CEO’s job?

And that is true. A product manager is like a CEO but for the product.

Where is empathy and communication in all of this?

I have touched on this topic a little bit in the beginning but did not include it in the list because I consider this as something that should come by default. You should remember that having peoples skills is something crucial with all the technology that is happening.

Communication and empathy skills will define the success of a PM that in no way it will come without the help of their teams. This way it is essential to establish strong work relationships with your key stakeholders and business partners. You have to convince them of two things:

  • You understand their constraints
  • You will bring them solutions that will work within those constraints

.. Work very hard to build and nurture the strong collaborative relationship with your product team. Because, as your family, they will be your support along the journey.

.. With Internet access, you can get these courses online at: Skillshare, Coursera, Udemy, Udacity, EDX and Khan Academy.