Product management is a thriving sector that can constitute a great career path. First things first, who is a product manager? A product manager identifies larger business objectives, and the customer needs that a feature or a product will fulfill. A product manager also articulates what a successful product launch looks like and leads a team to turn the vision into a reality. From the generation of a product idea to when the product is active in the market, the product manager takes care of the entire product life cycle management. To do this, product manager skills are essential.
What are Product Manager Skills?
Generally, successful product managers possess a very diversified skill set. From interpersonal to technical, managerial to working in a team – these highly skilled individuals have most of it under their cap. Besides being masters of all trades, product managers are also expected to update themselves with all the happenings in the market. Whether it is about the new tools or the latest technological trends – generally efficient product managers keep their thinking caps on and eyes open at most times.
A product manager is like a constant (c) in an indefinite integral. You try to eliminate it, and you will fail all the laws of Mathematics, or maybe, productive business. As we mentioned earlier, product managers are a very active part of product management throughout the pipeline – from ideation, designing, and development to launching it in the market; product managers are responsible for monitoring and ensuring proper execution of all the activities. Therefore, it is essential to have the right product management skills.
Though the job titles and work descriptions differ across scenarios and organizations for a product manager, the thing that stays the same is the success of a product. All of them are required to deliver a great product, but things do not turn out to be that way every time, as some struggle, some fail, and some survive.
Product Manager’s Job Description
In this section, we’ll be broadly talking about two types of product manager job descriptions:
Product Manager Job Description – Primarily Inbound
In this, the role of a product manager involves – collating and prioritizing customer and product requirements, defining the product’s vision, and working closely with the marketing, sales, engineering, and support team to ensure customer satisfaction and achievement of revenue goals. They should also ensure that the product supports the overall goals and strategy of the company. It further includes:
- Defining the product roadmap and strategy
- Delivering PRDs and MRDs with the prioritized and impressive features and corresponding justification
- Working with external third parties to assess licensing and partnership opportunities
- Running beta and pilot programs for early-stage samples and products
- Studying and assessing the competition extensively
- Taking ownership and acting as a leader while considering team members’ opinions
Product Manager Job Description – Inbound and Outbound
The product manager is responsible for product planning and marketing in this role. This also involves managing the product throughout its lifecycle, collating, and prioritizing the requirements of the product and customers, defining the product’s vision, and working with the engineering team closely to deliver winning products. It also includes working with the sales and marketing team and ensuring that the marketing efforts support the overall goals and strategy of the company. For this role, it is essential to have the required product manager skills such as – communication, oratory, and negotiation skills.
In addition to the roles and responsibilities of a product manager mentioned in the previous section, they are also responsible for the following:
- Developing messaging and core positioning for the product
- Performing product demonstrations to customers
- Setting pricing to meet profitability and revenue goals
- Creating a monthly revenue forecast
- Developing sales collateral and tools
- Proposing an overall budget to ensure success
- Brief and train the sales team at sales meetings
- Short analysts and press and go on press tours
Skills Required to Become a Product Manager
1. Noting Technical Requirements and Specs
Developing product optimizations and new product ideas are integral to a product manager’s role. They must write down the products’ technical requirements and specs for efficient product management. Otherwise, product development may get stalled and stuck in pre-production.
Therefore, you should be able to create technical product specs, features, and detailed requirements for new products to provide your designers and engineering team with a specific direction.
2. Conducting Market Research
To become a good product manager, it is essential to have experience in conducting extensive market research. While conceptualizing a new product, market research is crucial to determine whether there is an audience or market for the product, besides analyzing how the product can serve the market best. This includes assessing the customers’ needs, gathering and evaluating customer feedback, conducting user surveys and interviews, or working with a research team.
3. Strategic Thinking
After setting a product’s key initiatives and goals, the product managers must realize and recognize the product’s and organization’s higher-level vision. This begins with asking people the right questions and understanding the competition and the market. Herein, the product managers need to build a product roadmap to establish what they want to achieve and how they would reach there.
4. Excellent Oratory and Communication Skills
Product managers need to communicate and coordinate with internal and external stakeholders throughout a product’s lifecycle. This requires the right product management skills and a high level of expertise in various fields. For example, even if you are not an engineer, you should have the proper knowledge to understand the products’ design, applications, and composition. You would also have to work with the marketing specialist to extract valuable insights from the detailed market data and predict the costs of the product.
Therefore, to make the product a huge success, it is essential to have practical and lucid skills to make every discussion with every team fruitful.
5. Excellent Negotiation Skills
Whether hiring the cheapest freelancer/agency to get the work done or finding the most affordable solution to a problem – a product manager is expected to handle all of it seamlessly.
Product managers will face numerous challenges and roadblocks along their journey without knowing the right and proper way of dealing with things and getting the work done. As a product manager, it’ll be easier to manage everything if you know how to negotiate through potholes.
Soft Skills Required for Product Managers
- Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills
- Leadership Skills
- Practising Empathy
- Problem-solving Skills
- Time Management Skills
- Effective Communication skills
Technical Skills Required for Product Managers
- A/B testing
- Knowledge of Microsoft Excel
- Data Analysis Skills
- Product Roadmap Development
- Software Development Skills
- Market Research Skills
- Basic Knowledge of Agile Methodology
What is Average Product Manager Salary?
The aspect of remuneration is critical in any career choice. So, the natural question for aspiring product manager skills would be what is the average salary they are expected to draw? In India, the average salary of entry-level product managers is ₹17,00,000. This figure varies depending on skills and experience. In essence, product management is a skill-centric profession, and a professional’s skills matter when determining their salary or scope of work. You can get a detailed view of a product manager’s salary here.
How to Gain the Relevant Product Manager Skills?
Regardless of whether you have already begun your career in product development or are planning to begin the same, it takes enhancing product manager skills and refreshing and widening your knowledge base to reach the top of the hierarchy.
It is understandable that previously it seemed pretty challenging to upskill yourself while working. Still, in the present day and age, with the opportunities galore to undertake courses online from reputable universities, it has become seamless. You need to meet the essential eligibility criteria to enroll in the program.
Emeritus offers various product management programs collaborating with top universities like ISB Executive Education, MIT Management Executive Education, and others. As these are short-term online programs, you can quickly complete the program along with your job. Upon completion of the product management program, you can stay assured about gaining extensive knowledge, adding new skills, honing current skills, and opening doors to lucrative job opportunities, besides moving a few steps closer to achieving your goal of becoming a successful product manager.