Qualities You Need to Succeed in a Product Manager Role


Qualities You Need to Succeed in a Product Manager Role

Qualities You Need to Succeed in a Product Manager Role

Product Manager Role

Qualities You Need to Succeed in a Product Manager Role

Becoming a product manager isn't for everyone. Learn what qualities you need to naturally have in order to succeed in a product manager role.

Keyword(s): product manager role

According to a survey, one out of five products doesn’t meet customer needs.

In a crowded market, such a slip up can spell a firm's death. How well a product satisfies your client base is a direct responsibility of the product manager (PM). Thus you need to understand the qualities that make for a strong PM if you are to excel in your organization.

Here are five do-or-die skills you must possess to shine in a product manager role.

What Is a Product Manager?

A product manager is charged with discovering a valuable and useful product for users in a viable manner.

PMs stand at the intersection of technology, business, and user experience.

As a business executive, a PM needs to uncover ways to extricate value from a product to maximize the return on investment (ROI). From a technology perspective, a PM needs deep insight into how the product gets built.

Sure, as a PM, you don’t necessarily need to know how to code (it’s useful but not a must).

However, you do need to understand the technology stack in play and the effort it will take to put a viable product together.

As a PM utilizing agile project management methodologies, it’s even more critical that you have a firm grasp on the technology in play. A majority of your time will be spent with the development team.

User experience is another critical core role you’ll handle as a PM. Essentially, you are meant to be the user’s voice within the business.

You champion the things that matter to users for the product to have sustainable customer value. While a reliable PM doesn’t need to be deeply conversant in all three, they need an in-depth domain experience in at least one of these areas.

On top of that, a good PM must be passionate about all three areas while being familiar with professionals who opera in these three areas.

What Qualities Can Help You Excel in a Product Manager Role?

A PM’s day-to-day job features many moving pieces. Thus, you need several skills that can help you balance everything optimally.

Let’s look at some of these vital skills.

1. Relationship Management

Being adept at positively managing relationships is arguably the most critical skill a PM can't do without.

Internally, relationship management is vital in gaining the team's buy-in to deliver compelling results. If you don't know how to rally a team behind a project or problem successfully, your productivity will tank.

A PM is continually walking the fine line between clients, hitting the firm’s revenue targets, and having limited resources on the engineering team.

To maintain this delicate balance, you need to excel at forming and nurturing relationships.

Externally, relationship management helps you navigate customer-facing problems. If you need a stealth test, you can galvanize users to try out your product while in beta.

2. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (popularly denoted as EQ) is vital in today’s organizational landscape. Statistics show that over 70% of hiring managers value EQ or intellect.

Why is EQ so valuable to you as a PM?

It can help you excel in one of the most crucial roles: customer relations.

When you are talking to customers to get more insight, for example, EQ helps you empathize with them. You can listen to what is being said and also pay attention to the unsaid.

Body language and indirectly expressed emotions are mission-critical in accurately identifying pain points customers face.

The better you can relate to users and draw their thoughts out, the more effectively your solutions can meet their needs.

Aside from that, EQ also helps you relate better with your coworkers and leaders. That is useful as there are many internal hurdles to jump over when you want to ship a product.

3. Intrinsic Motivation

A PM’s job is full of stress. Your team will have demands you need to meet, the CEO will lean on you to achieve set targets, and customers have issues they ended you to solve.

Without the ability to intrinsically motivate yourself, it’s easy to fall behind crucial deadlines. You need to have the grit to push hard on what you know is urgent without making others panic.

Learning how to switch contexts quickly is also critical as that helps you move from one task to another seamlessly.

4. Strategic Thinking

At a macro level, a PM’s job mirrors that of a CEO to a degree. You need to understand your product strategy and tie it to the overarching company strategy.

When it comes to product vision, you need to figure out ways to give users value. But that’s not all.

Your product vision needs to generate value for customers in a differentiated manner from the competition. A strategic understanding of this convergence is essential as it helps galvanize your team behind a product.

Once the product team can draw an arc between what they are making, how it fulfills customer desires and helps the firm win, they will be motivated to deliver.

Once you ship a successful product as the PM, you need to factor in long term survival.

That calls for strategic thinking in terms of how user behavior may change, dynamic technology trends, and how the competition will respond.

5. Effective Problem Solving

A PM will always face two categories of problems when building and shipping a product.

The first type of problem is figuring out your customers’ pain points. If you get this wrong, you commit the firm’s precious resources to a product that won't meet user needs and, therefore, flop.

The second category of problems PMs anticipate is barriers that make it hard for the team to build the solution you need to ship.

You need to be adept at continually solving these two problems, time and again.

Remember that you can't get too caught up in either one. If you focus too much on customer pain points, you may miss out on feasible ways to meet these needs with your product.

On the other hand, if you focus too much on what you’re building, you lose sight of the ‘why’ behind the building and therefore ship a dud.

Do You Have What It Takes to Excel in a Product Manager Role?

Being a PM is rewarding as well as stressful. As a critical component that shapes how well the product performs, you will need to juggle several balls. Thus, as you eye a product manager role, you need to identify the traits that can help you execute your job and deliver stellar results.

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