Product Management brings to mind a variety of skills and necessary qualifications, and they cross a large spectrum. What is a Product Manager? What skills do you need to succeed as a Product Manager? In this article, I will cover three areas of skills and knowledge that are needed to succeed as a Product Manager.
If you do a job search on a Product Manager, there will be a variety of descriptions and requirements. That is because the role can take on so many responsibilities. Depending on the size and the structure of the company, you could be expected to perform a large amount of duties, or a very specialized role. Product managers can be either heavy on the marketing side, sometimes called a Product Marketing Manager, or heavy on the technical side, which is sometimes referred to as a Technical Product Manager. Regardless, the basic idea is one who manages or overseas a product or line of products. According to http://www.businessdictionary.com it is defined as “Person responsible for overseeing all activities and functions associated with a particular product or product family.”
Marketing skills are almost a requirement for Product Managers, at least a complete understanding of what is required of the Product Manager. You need to be able to take complex technical documents, and create content with them. You need to understand social media, the buyers journey, web searches, and trade shows. You may never have to create any content, or do anything more than shift information to the marketing team. However, depending on the size of the company and available resources, you may need to do all of the above. At the very least, you need to be well versed in the marketing concepts required of you.
Engineering or technical skills are handy to have as well. Some Product Managers are based in a marketing background, others a business, and still others an engineering or technical role. An ideal Product Manager will have the ability and knowledge to comprehend and communicate effectively with the engineering team, and also convey that knowledge to sales, customers, marketing, and management. Usually when starting as a Product Manager, you may have industry background, or some relevant knowledge of the product, but unless you rise in the ranks in the company, you will not have relevant product knowledge. Having a technical background helps you get up to speed on the product line.
Finally, business skills are a necessary skill for you to have as well. Having the ability to create business cases, value based pricing strategy, SWOT analysis, competitor analysis, and market research will give you greater value to your company. In addition, having the ability to do so will enable you to understand the rapidly changing marketplace, allowing for you to move ideas forward faster without relying on anybody else. A large portion of your time will be dedicated to researching new ideas, verifying existing ideas, exploring customer request, and writing business plans for new product development.
These are a few of the skills necessary to move forward in product management. In my next post, I will be going over customer related skills, support related skills, and other soft skills that are necessary. Be sure to follow my blog, connect with me on LinkedIn, and subscribe to my YouTube channel, which will be giving a weekly video series concerning product management.