The Top 5 Secrets of the World’s Best Product Managers
You might think a great product manager would have an idea for a revolutionary product and then relentlessly pursue that vision. Or perhaps it’s the ability to execute on a product vision, rallying an organization around that vision and delivering on time. Or maybe it’s the ability to build relationships with customers, understand their needs inside and out, and bring those insights to bear in creating innovative products. All of these are great traits of a good product manager, but they are not what separates the best product managers from everyone else.
The best product managers are great at building products people love because they have mastered five key skills:
1. They know how to make meaning
2. They know how to design interactions
3. They know how to run experiments
4. They know how to tell stories
5. They know how to look for patterns
We all know that a company is only as good as its product, but how do you ensure the product is effective and attractive to users? The answer is simple: Product Management.
So what is it? And how can you be a good one? Here are 5 qualities of the world’s best product managers.
Product managers are responsible for defining the “why,” “what,” and “how” behind every product that a company creates. In essence, they are key decision makers in an organization who work to create and improve products for their customers.
A great product manager can make or break a company by their ability to effectively identify problems, find solutions and create products that consumers want and need.
Great product managers are important to the success of every company. They help create products that customers truly want and need. While it may seem that great product managers are born, not made, there are a number of qualities that the world’s best product managers share.
1. Great Product Managers are detail oriented – When building your digital product you can’t skip over the little things. Don’t forget to focus on usability, performance and accessibility while you build your product.
2. Great Product Managers know when to be flexible – You should always have a plan when heading into any project but as you get further into development remember that it’s okay to stray from this plan if something better comes along.
3. Great Product Managers have a vision – It’s important that you know what kind of product you want to build before you start building it, otherwise how will you know when you’re done?
4. Great Product Managers communicate effectively – A good product manager has clear communication internally with their team and externally with their stakeholders and users alike. Effective communication is an essential quality of every great product manager.
5. Great Product Managers understand their users – There is no point in creating a digital product
Product Managers are some of the most well-rounded people you know. They can wear many hats and have a diverse set of skills that makes them valuable to any organization. Ever wonder what qualities make a great product manager? Check out these top 5 secrets:
1. They are great communicators
2. They understand their customers
3. They are data-driven
4. They manage up, down, and across
5. They carry their product’s vision
As the software product manager, your job is to make sure that the team builds a product that customers love and want to buy. You are responsible for understanding the problem that you are trying to solve for your customers and coming up with a solution that solves their problem better than anything else available in the market today.
The best product managers I’ve met have these 5 qualities:
1. Curiosity – they ask why, they seek out the pain points of their customers, they work hard to understand their target demographic
2. Empathy – they put themselves in their customer’s shoes, they feel what it would be like if they were the one using their product
3. Organized – they know what has to be done and by when, they set goals and meet milestones on time
4. Communication skills – they have excellent writing skills which helps them write great specs which engineers can understand, they have excellent presentation skills which helps them present new features to senior management or marketing teams or sales teams
5. Technical Acumen – this may not apply to all product managers but for any PM who is working at a tech company with engineers, it is important that he/she has some level of understanding of how technology works so that he can effectively convey his ideas
There are a lot of qualities that make a great product manager. Some folks devote their entire career to the topic, and thousands of resources exist to help you become better. I’m not going to try and boil all those ideas down into one blog post.
Instead, I’m going to focus on the 5 qualities that have made the biggest impact on my own growth as a product manager. These are the qualities that helped me develop my intuition and improve my skills so that every day I can learn more and get better at helping my team ship great products.
1. Be able to hold the whole in your head
Maybe you heard this quote from Henry Ford, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Product managers know that sometimes users don’t know they need something new until they see it. It takes vision and intuition to really understand what people want and need, even before they do. This is why we spend so much time talking with customers and understanding their problems. But there is only so much you can learn by listening, you also have to be able to hold all the information in your head and make connections between different insights that might not seem related at first glance.
As a product manager, your day-to-day will vary. You’ll likely be the one to gather and organize customer feedback, collaborate with engineers and designers, and prioritize projects. But no matter what you do, you still need to keep these five things in mind in order to succeed:
1) Be a Storyteller
A great product manager can explain a product idea clearly and simply. To do this, they have to be able to tell a story. The best stories have a clear beginning, middle, and end; they also have characters, plots and subplots.
When you are trying to rally people around an idea, you need to spin a yarn that is both creative and compelling. Even if you’re not pitching an idea to an investor or presenting a new app concept at a conference, your colleagues need the ability to understand your vision quickly. And if people don’t get what you’re working on right away, then it doesn’t matter how good the idea is – it won’t go anywhere.
2) Communicate as Much as Possible
Communicating effectively is important for all product managers. The best product managers communicate with everyone involved in the process: customers, developers, designers