How can I be a great product manager?
This is a question I hear frequently from mainly fresh graduates or those are willing to get into Product Management profession.
Before starting to expressing my opinions, I'd like to remind everyone who is interested in this area that:
Product Management is the only way for a man to have same feeling of a mother.
Well actually there is no recipe or formula for being a “great” product manager. As Ben Horowitz says that “Hard things are hard because there are no easy answers or recipes.” You can count Product Management as one of top ones.
Here are the main requirements:
1- Communication: Well, daily life of a Product Manager (should) has so many communication with stakeholders continously. Stakeholders differ from daily needs and requirements. You must be talking with Engineering team to be alligned on the execution of your roadmap and always be there to clear their mind out of product questions. Similar to development, a Product Manager always must be alligned with business requirements and needs to satisfy output of your work is valuable. I can list many with Marketing, Sales, Top Management, etc…
2- Product Understanding & Vision: I may tell this one is totally based on the talent instead of experience. Absolutely you will have a better understanding on product and vision as you started to fail or become successful with Product Management. A good Product Manager must understand a product and it’s value and touchpoints to the users. Otherwise all the decisions will be made out of knowledge and vision. In other words, a great Product Manager should know how to make a product decision meanwhile considering all aspects.
3- Analytical Thinking & Decisive Mind: Never and ever make a decision with your gut feeling if you have very small chance of an analysis. It’s better to have reference points while making a trustworthy decisions and eliminate the question marks.
4- Transparency: What you are doing is not a top secret thing. You are building a value for the users and the output of it will be clear soon. A Product Manager must always be transparent about her / his decisions and actions. What she/he expects from the output, what the requirements are, why you are building it, …In this way, you will both enlighten development team’s mind out of question and let everyone know how and why you built the product in that way.
5- Understanding of both Technology and Market together: If you are a product manager who wants to save the product and say no to market requirements, you will be loved by engineers but not the business side. It’s opposite in case you do business requirements without paying attention to the technical requirements. Long story short, a Product Manager must understand and evaluate Market requirements and Technological roadblocks together at the same time. You need to balance them in order to both save the product for the future and satisfy the market.
6- Eagerness on building a product to impact lives of people in positive way: This profession cannot be done without passion. Only the ones who love building something worthy are real product managers. A great Product Manager should see the effects of product release and learn more from the users and expand it.
7- Experience: A great Product Manager is like a wine. Every experience adds more skills and judgment capabilities to her / him. But it doesn’t mean that every wine is good! :)
Yes there are many, but none of these are related about your previous job title, degree, seniority on false product management, etc.
There are many skills you need to be a successful product manager. An every experience you had or going to have either it’s successful or not, it will make these skills great.
I have shared same thoughts here at Quora. You can see others' opinion too!