How to become a successful mobile product manager?

Recently Facebook posted their Q2, 2015 earnings call and main driver of their business growth came out of a mighty mobile solider but powerful in connected world. They saw a phenomenal 23% growth in usage of their arsenal of apps (Instagram, Facebook, messenger, groups and WhatsApp).

With Big Boys like Flipkart, Myntra, Ola cabs leading to app-only strategy and more players like Snapdeal, Uber pushing their mobile-app first, we are entering into a world of app war where one or other mobile app will become need of an hour and fight to gain No. 1 spot.

BTW, do you know who is main architect behind every successful mobile app, A Spartan warrior known as Product Manager. He is one who lay down the foundation of business, product (mobile app) and thrive continuously to make it successful. Product managers must live and breathe their product. They must assume the identity of the product, be invested emotionally, file more bugs than anyone else, and forget about the concept of vacation months prior to any launch.

But question of the hour is, who can become a successful mobile product manager, let’s discover what all abilities one need for it:

  • Ability to detail out: First step in ladder is to identify business problem accurate and understanding of domain with which it is related, can be (Entertainment, Travel, Business, Leisure, Gaming, Lifestyle etc.). Each domain has its own unique challenge of problem solving and user expectation. After that start detailing business problem into smaller modules further to requirement level which a technical person can understand.
  • Ability of precognition: Laying down strategic product roadmap is important as a lifeline of a product. One should visualize product feature matrix and arrange them in releases based on priority of features.
  • Ability to see through hawk’s eye: One should keep feelers on customers, competitors, and the market to see where the product should be going.
  • Ability to liaison: Socializing and bringing consensus about upcoming product features with Leadership, UI/UX and developers, QA, testing, support, maintenance and commercialization.
  • Ability to educate: Product manager should possess strong educating power, in order to make customer understand about product, handle support escalations etc.
  • Ability to analyze: Mobile product manager should possess highly data-driven, ability to work on tools like Flurry, Localytics, Admob, Countly, Amplitude, Google Analytics etc. Mobile app comes with its own tracking metrics which are important for success of it. One should be well-versed about DAU/MAU, Retention, Session Length, Avg. session per day per user, ARPU etc but actual metrics will depend on nature of your mobile app. For example a taxi ride app, it can be total kms done in a month or total rides done in a month but same for social-media sharing app will be DAU/MAU/Average session per day etc.
  • Ability to be agile: Success is not only meeting the milestones mapped for product but it is understanding how product fares in market, being able to adjust properly, pivot, and quickly make decisions based on consumer/customer feedback and general performance.
  • Ability to learn technology: Today market is flooded with lot of paid, open-source technologies and variety of operating systems. PM should be able to judge right technology stack for mobile app development and to choose whether it should be a native or web mobile app.
  • Ability to monetize: If you have a look at google play store, even top grossers app are free to use but still they are charting high revenues and this is all possible if you figure out correct revenue model for your app. Keeping it free doesn’t make sense as it will exhaust your or investor’s money soon. Mobile PM should develop figure out revenue model of app, ways which will make customers to pay money for use, whether it is an in-app purchases or in-app advertising revenue.

First user interaction of mobile app should be the aha moment which makes customer keep using it frequently.

Remember a mobile product manager is more like mini-CEO/Janitor of company who can make or break brand.

Please spare your thoughts if anything is incorrect or missing.

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