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  • 15 skills Product managers need to have

    Here are a list 15 of skills PMs(Product managers) and aspiring PMs need to have.

    Product managers

    1. Communication 

    You will spend 80% of your time talking about strategy, plans, status updates, changes and more. You cannot allow your shyness or lack of people skills overwhelm you. Put all that in a bag and focus on communicating clearly and often 

    For more about improving your communications skills, have a look at @NikkiElizDemere's article: 5 product management communication hacks to streamline your crazy job. Also read "Mastering Effective Communication as a Product Manager" by @sachinrekhi.

    2. Collaboration

     You will work with a wide range of people - and won't like most of them. You need the ability to work with people from different areas of the business who have their own agenda but unite them to deliver the product .You also need to master the art of arriving at a decision without achieving consensus.

    Product Management by consensus is a recipe for failure. @romanpichler has written 8 tips for collaborating with dev(development) teams here: 8 TIPS FOR COLLABORATING WITH DEVELOPMENT TEAMS.

    3. Research & Analysis

     Conducting customer/ user and market research and analyzing the results to make informed decisions about the product that will drive profit. 

    4. Marketing

     As products become more complex, you'll always be promoting your product to all parties - developers, users, stakeholders and critics. Create time to continuously learn and improve your marketing skills

    5. Strategy

     Take the time to learn how to spot patterns easily and not get bogged down in day to day activities. @RadhikaDutt has written more details on how to become a strategic PM here: Becoming a Strategic Product Manager

    6. Resilience

     The ability to keep going despite setbacks. There will be a lot of those - products not working properly when released despite the numerous testing, ever changing requirements the list is endless. One way to build this skill is to take up a sport or anything physical.I find that engaging in physical activities (boxing, rock climbing, running or any endurance sport) helps improve my mental ability to stay resilient. 

    This article by @tannerc provides more insight: 4 Proven Ways to Develop More Grit

    7. Prioritization

     Knowing when to balance the needs of the customer with those of the stakeholders. Many times, neither know what is best for them/ what they want. It is your responsibility to work collaboratively with the Dev and UX/UI teams to make sure features of the product are effectively prioritized.

    There are many techniques to guide this and @RMBanfield has written about them here: How to Prioritize Product Features and Improvements.

    8. Decision making skills

     Well thought out decisions that are evidence based and not on just gut feeling. @ellengott wrote a really good article about this here :How to Make Product Decisions With Transparency and Trust.

    9. Curiosity

     Based on the patterns you've identified and experience you have, curiosity plays a role in understanding things in a different way. It also helps you find unrelated links to your product and alternatives to how certain things work.

    @ediggs has written more about this here: Product managers and curiosity 

    10. Big Picture

     You can't afford to be so bogged down in the details that you can't see the forest for the trees. Trust that your team has the expertise, delegate effectively and always think steps ahead in favor of the big picture.

    @arpitrai shares how he improved his big picture thinking here: How I Improve My Product Management Skills.

    11. Organization

     Your ability to create structures to optimize productivity and ensure actions are taken and decisions made at the right time. @Mind_Tools has this article to help you learn how ot be more organized: How to Be More Organize (Declutter, Take Control, and Achieve More at Work)

    12. Understanding

    Understanding everyone’s job and setting realistic expectations with the Business and stakeholders. There is nothing more irritating than estimating tasks for developers and setting laughable deadlines. And no, “throwing more money or hiring more developers” does not help.

    As an example; if you want a baby delivered in September, you make sure the woman is pregnant by December. Does you no good to get 9 women pregnant in July to meet the September deadline. It just won’t work 🙅‍♀️ 

    13. Translation skills

     This is more about understanding how to simplify details from developers to stakeholders and vice versa.Tech speak to business speak to customer speak and round way again.There are no brownie points for speaking in vague terms.

    14. Self awareness

    To know when your personal bias is in play and express it. We all have our bias against certain things and it’s foolish not to acknowledge them. Also know how to keep yourself primed for productivity.

    There is a humorous quote by @jaltucher: “Don't have dating problems and software development problems at the same time. VCs(Venture capital) will smell this all over you.” This also applies to Product Management. THE 100 RULES FOR BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR

    15. Transparency

    Especially about:

    -how items are prioritized on your roadmap
    -basis for each decision
    -challenges
    -unknowns

    You will be answering a lot of questions about why certain decisions were made or why certain features were excluded.

    Author

    Updated on 2:38-am May 5,2020


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