Key Product Manager Skills that are Required for Great PM Career
A successful product manager is the first representative of a product. It requires being a strong ambassador for connection the product with the outside world.
All product managers care about the product success from its conception through production and final launch. They should totally understand the market they are targeting and work on the global strategy, product positioning and the future it will face.
Young specialists at the very beginning of their product manager career path may feel pressure from HR managers who want to discover the potential and all professional skills of new talents. They have their own virtual checklists that are aimed to define professional and personal skills of future product managers. They often include this checklist into the interview questions.
This list can be simple but sometimes very stressful for the applicant. In general, the product owners and HRs compile the portrait of the ideal product manager, determining a very similar list of skills and characteristics. This is excellent if this virtual list matches what the potential manager can offer.
Let’s check how you fit this list or not. Do you have enough skills to be a great product manager?
What skills should be required for a good product manager?
Let’s say that the role of product manager is fairly new for large companies and small startups. The responsibilities are shifted from a company to company and the PM discipline is often misunderstood. That’s why it’s an important thing to understand the role of this responsible person and motivate him or her to reveal the crucial skills.
You can find many options for classifying the abilities and skills of product managers but we divide them into 6 main categories: the most important professional skills and abilities, personal and interpersonal skills, analytical abilities, cross-functionality and special skills in working with PM services and tools.
Professional Product Management Skills
- Creating and driving product strategy. Do you remember one of our latest articles about how to avoid mistakes in determining product strategy at start?
- Prioritizing tasks, objectives and all product issues
- Design skills
- Developing cases for new product features
- Developing the global strategy for a product launch
- Product feature definition
- Product implementation and potential improvements
- Developing value propositions
- Working with documents
- Evaluating advertising proposals
- Managing risks
Personal Product Manager Skills
- Deadlines accordance and punctuality
- Time management
- Ability to work with details
- Coordination skills
- Problem solving
- Critical thinking
- Ability to motivate other team members
- Negotiating and communication skills
- Organizational skills
- Working Independently
- Ability to be customer-oriented
Interpersonal Product Manager Skills
- Team collaboration skills
- Ability to be a team player
- Facilitating meetings, standups and presentations
- Influencing others
- Interviewing skills
- Ability to collaborate with cross-functional teams
- Managing partner relationships
- Verbal communication skills
- Writing and written communication
- Customer analysis
- Defining objectives and requirements
- Financial analysis
- Sales forecasting
- Measuring effectiveness
- Measuring product functionality
- Working with different metrics
- Researching market trends and rivals’ insights
- Ability to track progress
- Managing customer feedback
Cross-functional and other skills for product managers
- Developing pricing
- Project management skills
- Marketing and promotion skills
- Creating and managing budgets
- Managing social media
Product Manager Software Skills
Here I’d like to single out a separate skill that contains the ability to apply modern tools and services for product management. Such tools help product managers to connect all their knowledge and skills with smart technologies and thereby optimize and structure their work and team collaboration.
Professional tools for PM’s work include the basic and common set of services, such as Microsoft Office, Excel, PowerPoint, Microsoft Project, Visio, etc., as well as special platforms.
A separate PM functionality requires working with separate features and options. For example, maintaining a Product Backlog is an important part of product manager work.
It is like a storage for ideas, requests from customers and requirements for the product. It helps to prioritize and order all ideas and plan iterations easily.
Hygger.io assists to set up Value and Efforts parameters for each product manager’s idea.
- Value shows which business value the feature can bring to your product or your business.
- Efforts measure the resources needed to complete the task.
It’s visualized with a Backlog Priority Chart – the tool that helps to optimize product priorities by defining important and less important tasks.
In Hygger, chart you may find 4 segments. Each of them represents a specific priority block:
- Time Sinks are the tasks that are not worth working on at the moment.
- Maybes – the tasks that do not bring a lot of value but are easy to implement.
- Big Bets – the tasks that can bring a lot of value but are as well hard to implement.
- Quick Wins – the tasks that are valuable and quite easy to implement.
Another area where product managers need a professional tool is the creation and management of a Product Roadmap.
This document is aimed to share direction and progress to internal teams and external stakeholders. Product roadmaps include high-level initiatives, requirements and planned ideas.
Hygger Roadmap can be easily shared.
These are just two examples describing the need for professional tools in the product manager’s work. A real PM master with the help of such services also manage time tracking, delegates tasks, prepare timesheet reports, systemizes tasks and much more.
It seems that this is all that needed to be mentioned about the basic product manager’s skills. If something was forgotten, please add it in the comments.
I hope this set of skills was useful.