Five Qualities All Great Product Managers Share
There are a lot of good product managers, but great product managers are few and far between. To get to the very top, you need to have the right qualities.
Here are five skills that distinguish the top product managers from the rest:
The top product managers are natural analysts. They can look at a problem and see the solution straight away. They make decisions based on market data, but aren’t afraid to listen to their instincts. They use numbers to help them understand how their products are performing and keep a close eye their KPIs. They know their one metric that matters inside out and do everything they can to maximise it.
The top product managers have vision. They can take customer feedback, industry trends and other data and transform them into a clear strategy for their product. They can distinguish its market fit, what sets it apart from competitors and which satisfiers and delighters will keep their users coming back for more. They understand their customer personas and can effectively map their product strategy onto their wants and needs.
The top product managers are effective communicators. They can effortlessly translate their analysis and vision into requirements and feature ideas everyone in the business can understand. They’re just as comfortable talking about product benefits with their head of marketing as they are working through user stories with their lead developer. They keep everyone on the same page with clear communication at all stages of the product delivery lifecycle.
The top product managers prioritise with skill. They combine their analysis, vision and communication skills to ensure their team is building the right features at the right time and understand what it takes to stay on track. They use roadmaps, product specs, daily standups, and regular planning meetings to ensure everyone in their business knows what must, should and could be built (and when) to satisfy their customers’ needs.
The top product managers don’t just plan, they do. They’re happy to get their hands dirty and will do everything in their power to make sure their products stay on target. They lead from the front and understand the challenges faced by their developers. They are realistic with their timescales, but they aren’t afraid to push their team to its limits. They understand that the biggest responsibility of any product manager is shipping product and they make sure it happens.