Product Management has blown up in popularity in recent years. Companies ranging from startups to the Top global realize the importance that a product manager can bring. As a result, more companies are choosing to take a job as product managers.
If you want to become a Product Manager or currently working as a product manager, this article is for you. We will tell you some critical points an ideal product manager must-have.
Product managers must constantly improve their product management skills to be competitive when applying for the job or moving up in their organization.
As a result of the rapid development of new technological products, the role of product managers is constantly evolving.
These professionals must supervise teams of engineers and developers and guide a product’s development from design to construction.
These responsibilities require both hard and soft skills, which are analytical, technical, and communication abilities.
Let’s look at the top skills that product managers need to be successful and effective in their roles. But before this, let me tell you what the job of the product manager is?
Responsibility of a Product Manager
A product manager is a professional in charge of managing the development of products for a company or a brand. To lead a cross-functional team in creating, developing, and implementing a product is their responsibility.
The term “product” most commonly refers to a service or item sold to consumers, and it can be virtual, physical, or both.
The fact is that the product manager’s role varies depending on several factors, for example, the organization and industry’s size and maturity.
A product manager’s typical responsibilities include the following:
- Researching to determine customer requirements.
- Developing and communicating a market development strategy.
- Creating a product vision and development plan.
- Supervising the product team as it works on product development.
- Setting sales objectives that are in line with consumer demand to meet sales targets.
- Creating and implementing product-related marketing campaigns.
Product Managers’ Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
Before we tend to get into the highest skills for product managers in 2021, it is worth noting the distinction between hard and soft skills, as well as for every type of role of product manager.
Hard skills, also known as technical skills, are learned abilities such as:
- creating a product roadmap or strategy,
- writing technical specs, or
- programming skills.
Soft Skills mainly categorised as:
- Prioritization, and
- Interpersonal skills
A successful product manager will have a combination of both skill sets. Technical skills are necessary for developing and designing products. In comparison, soft skills are required to lead the product team and efficiently move products through the product lifecycle.
Top Skills Product Managers must have
Product managers must be able to perform a variety of tasks to be successful. These include both soft and hard skills, and they make a contribution to the product manager’s ability to lead, make a decision, and be more successful in their job. Product managers are expected to have the following top skills:
Proper written and spoken communication skills ensure that the product manager can effectively communicate with and lead their team to launch successful products on time and within budget.
Employees’ communication styles have changed drastically. The main focus is on video calls and group chats rather than one-on-one conversations and in-person meetings. Some people prefer to communicate in person or by phone.
The transfer to group messaging platforms may be complex in this case. Other team members prefer to communicate about projects through these group messaging platforms. Video calls may be limiting for them.
Meetings five days a week may be discomforting for some. It is your responsibility as a product manager to find and maintain a good balance. That is where skills in clear documentation come in useful.
Documentation allows team members to gain access to the information they require. It enables them to perform their duties with ease. The team may be using project boards, each with its descriptions and notes.
Product managers must know how to communicate clearly and concisely. They must keep everything organized and up to date. So, use project management software to keep your team members up to date. If something needs to discuss further, don’t be afraid to use a video call.
Use bullet points and try to be as brief and concise as possible when writing an email. The key is to communicate with intention and authority. You will make your point while maintaining your team members’ respect.
As stated earlier, product managers are constantly dividing their time between different products and projects and adjusting to shifting priorities.
Product managers benefit from time management skills because they can handle everything on their plate while still completing tasks efficiently and pushing products to launch. You can continually refine your time management skills according to the work that’s best for you.
Human Resource Management Skills
Experiencing the right person with the right skill set on your project team is critical to the success of your project.
Human resource management is always about helping to keep your team happy and productive while also ensuring that there is always a backup of available resources.
However, if your project is overworked and underpaid, it may find itself in a sticky situation, affecting both productivity and budget.
As a project manager, you are also responsible for training and associating your team members with the project management techniques that appear to be the best fit for your project.
Product managers must have excellent organizational skills and strong communication skills to influence and unite the party they work with efficiently.
Product managers constantly strive to get others on board with their product concept, from customers to stakeholders to team members. Presentation, emotional intelligence, effective listening, cooperation, and team coordination are essential interpersonal skills for product managers.
Knowledge of Web Development
Writing code or program is not a product manager’s responsibility, but understanding the process is beneficial. Knowing the product lifecycle is one thing, but being a good product manager also means caring about the perspective in which you work.
This understanding can help product managers better understand timelines, project scopes, and the ease of growing up or down a product. Furthermore, product managers with development knowledge will communicate more effectively with their engineering and development teams.
Product management priorities shift daily. One day, a specific product is a priority, and the next, something else. Product managers must adapt to changes and remain adaptable to ensure that product area units are developed and launched quickly and economically.
Adaptability should be embedded deeply in team culture. You are a valuable asset if you are willing to jump in and take charge of any project or situation that requires your assistance.
Team members should be prepared to change plans and adjust workloads quickly.
Seeking the Truth
This skill is not only beneficial for project managers. Most of us are reacting rather than thinking, and we continue to follow a series of responses that we have either been told or got to learn.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing. You can be on automatic mode at times, but you should know how to turn it off. Critical thinking is essentially being as accurate as possible when analyzing and evaluating an event or situation to make an unbiased decision.
It takes you away from acting on emotions or received knowledge, and isn’t that what a project manager is supposed to do? When you’re working on a project, you’re confronted with problems daily, and you want your decision-making to be unbiased. Your judgment must be guided solely by what is best for the project.
Making Good Decisions
Product managers must be able to make intelligent decisions at all stages of a product’s development. Many product management roles and responsibilities, from understanding the market to deciding how to launch a new product, require creative planning to be carried out successfully.
Product managers must be well-versed in the production process, viewership distribution, project management, and sales forecasting.
Problem-solving abilities, mind-mapping software, risk management, and achievement goals are examples of external development thinking skills.
Understanding of User Experience
While product teams frequently include UX and UI professionals, product managers should have some technical knowledge in user experience agile methodologies.
It will allow the product manager to communicate with the product team in the same language and ensure mutual understanding of how quick or tricky a task may be.
Product managers must be able to qualitatively impose priorities to accomplish tasks and meet goals and objectives.
Good prioritization skills ensure that all team members are constantly collaborating on what is most important, keeping the project progressing as smoothly as possible and on time.
Competence in Business
Many product managers need to understand basic business skills and knowledge to do their jobs efficiently.
A product manager, for example, should understand how profit margins, financial planning, cash flow, and profit-and-loss all play a role in the product development project when working to develop a product strategy.
Furthermore, product managers may be expected to communicate with clients about current and future earnings.
Any good product manager should also have experience and knowledge in market research. When developing a new product, market research is essential for determining whether there is a market or audience for the development and how the product can best serve that market. It includes the determination of the needs of the customer and receiving feedback from the customer.
From analyzing all the above data, it is concluded that a product manager’s critical skills include communicating to solving technical issues. He must be highly professional and efficient enough to deal with any situation, whether product development or team issues. He must be kind in behaviour and adaptable sufficient to evolve continuously.