The type of product managers varies depending on the strategy of the company, which is a subject that changes over time. Notwithstanding, these professionals amorphously bridge the gaps between existing functional areas working toward a product’s success. The congruence is between the areas of UI, business and tech.
A product manager acts like the CEO of the product and is viewed so by others. The reason for this is due to the fact that CEO’s drive vision and are ultimately responsible for their company’s success or failure. If you are a product manager, you already know that the same is true when it comes to being a product manager in relation to your product. Product managers have a realistic vision of what success of their product means and they ensure that this vision becomes reality. A product manager is viewed as the leader of the product. On the other hand, a bad product manager is derived by excuses: the engineering manager didn’t understand my PRD, I’m overworked, Google has 10 times as many engineers working on new features, we don’t have enough funding, I don’t get enough direction and the list goes on. A product manager should not make these kinds of excuses.
What are the skills one must posses in order to gap the misfitting attributes in the never ending changing environment of the modern world?
The short version is that product managers take all important factors into consideration and are very detail oriented. As the highest authority, the product manager must understand and balance a wide variety of factors that affect product strategy and execution in the best possible.
The primary factors to balance include:
Product managers understand (or seek guidance on) overall company goals and set strategy in that context. Additionally, they understand the capabilities and limitations of their overall company. A product manager will know if the company wants to maximize customer acquisition with an easy-to-use produce for hundreds of thousands of customers through and will use diverse channels to do so OR if the company wants to maximize the ROI via a high-end direct sale to a few hundred of highly paying customers. A product manager also knows approximately how much and what are the resources the company will spend on these commodities. Product managers don’t always know the answer to these questions, but they know enough to ask when they don’t.
Product managers listen to customers and prove deep using data in order to understand problems to get at the compelling value proposition for the customer. If you had a noisy motorcycle you might ask for a sound proof helmet, but you would probably be a lot happier with a quieter motorcycle. A product manager understands this difference and the know exactly what customers can and will pay for by doing quantitative research. Product managers are certain that if they build a certain produce, customers will buy it due to the extra mile they take to make sure they get their data right.
Product managers understand the architectural and business capabilities of the competition. They know where the competitors can go easily and can’t go at all. They must be better or different or nothing at all.
A product manager understands the difference between assumptions, opinions, hunches and objective facts. They always aware of what they know and why they know it, as well as what they don’t know and why they don’t. A product manager knows that their job is to fill in their knowledge gaps in any way possible and not to defend or obfuscate them. A product manager doesn’t ruin their credibility by over-stating their knowledge.
Note that all of these factors need to be considered both now and over the lifetime of the produce. That is related to the short SCRUM feature sprints of 2-4 weeks, your Kanban workflow and for the overall product lifetime which is usually 1-2 years and more. Product managers also know what their important assumptions are and they monitor them from time to time to make sure they are still relevant and not obsolete. For instance, if your outcome’s success assumed dominating domestic client market share, the plan should be re-evaluated as soon that assumption is threatened. Product managers will actively confirm their understanding with their managers and others on their team.
Bad product managers miss the big picture or don’t understand the meaning of the phrase “the devil is in the small details”. Bad product managers in a nutshell:
And the list goes on of course…
As a final note, product management is a demanding and high profile job. Individuals should make sure that they are up to the challenge before entering this position as it is not meant for everyone. In the end, being a good in this flied of expertise is not only about using data, getting your team on your side or always including the customer’s perspective. There are more complex attributes to this job.