The development of nearly every tech product requires collaboration between various teams under one organization: IT, designing, marketing, etc., and all of these interdepartmental groups are driven by product managers. They are every now and then alluded to as “CEO of the product,” yet that title isn’t exactly precise because they have minimal direct authority over these groups. They do, nonetheless, use relationship-building abilities like emotional intelligence or EQ to adjust various partners around their vision of the current projects, which could be anything from a cloud storage service to a handheld device.
The product manager job role demands an exceptional persona because it requires a good vision, administrative skills, having a solid feeling of why the product matters, and continually being motivated to enhance products for keeping up with the ever-changing market. If you also want to become a product manager, then there are several things that you must know, which have been discussed in this article.
Important Skills to Become a Product Manager
1. Emotional intelligence
A successful product manager would always be aware of the emotions of their customers and it helps them to plan proper strategies. An individual with good EQ will make solid connections inside their association and a sharp feeling of how to use various factors to build an incredible product.
2. Relationship management
One of the main skills of an incredible product manager is their good relationship management ability. By shaping credible and reliable associations with both inner and outer partners, a PM would be able to motivate individuals and help them reach their maximum capacity.
Managing relationships is additionally fundamental in effective exchange, settling clashes, and working with others toward a common objective, which is particularly difficult when a PM is entrusted with adjusting the necessities of clients, employees, and the organization’s income objectives.
Every product manager goes through a lot of cycles full of stress and urgency. Situations might occur at times in which the CEO needs something else, the developers are doing something else, and clients are asking for something different. Taking care of tight cutoff times, income targets, market requests, prioritization clashes, and asset limitations at the same time can’t be managed by someone who isn’t self-managed.
On the off chance that a PM can’t keep up their feelings and keep it cool under tension, they can rapidly lose the certainty of keep going. The best ones know how to prioritize things in such times as per the needs with criticalness yet without passing on a feeling of frenzy or stress.
4. Social awareness
According to various experts, the capabilities found in the persons who are socially mindful are sympathy and structured mindfulness along with matching an ever-changing audience. PMs should comprehend clients’ feelings and worries about the products along with comprehending the worries of the marketing or sales team to help them the best way possible.
It is important for product managers to understand how the company works and should fabricate social capital to impact the achievement of their product, from deciding budget and staffing to tying down a top engineer to work on the product.
How to Become a Product Manager?
There’s no shortcut way to become a product manager and no specific background will ensure that you become a successful product manager. Anyone coming from backgrounds like communication, marketing, and engineering, etc. is eligible to get placed as a product manager if they have what’s required in this field. They should acquire all the essential hard and soft skills such as the ability to do customer research and perform market analysis, distinguish markets, and create roadmaps. In addition, it is a better idea to have strategic thinking, leadership quality, and good communication and collaboration skills.
To get started, you can opt for a marketing or technical role for working on a product and understanding it deeply. Product managers are also considered CEOs of particular products who join their efforts with various divisions inside an organization. Some of the most fundamental duties of product managers are:
- Planning and structuring the roadmaps along with deadlines.
- Taking care of the appearance and features of the products.
- Explaining and discussing the audience with the marketing teams along with figuring out the marketing strategies for more traction.
- Taking care of customer support and ensuring that their problems are being addressed.
- Having regular touch with the executive team for figuring out future plans and updates and carving out strategies for the same.
- Coordinating with various other departments as well who are working on the product and resolving their issues.
That being said, it is worth mentioning that hard skills are fairly easy to acquire, however, they require dedication. Soft skills, on the other hand, are the ones that set best product managers apart from others and these skills generally require more time to sharpen.
Here are some steps that you need to follow for becoming a product manager:
1. Learn the fundamentals
To turn into a product manager, first, you need to understand how things work along with learning about the technologies, organizations, and audience. A product manager is responsible for lots of crucial things such as managing complete product life cycles, from ideation to release and beyond. Consequently, it’s a job role that requires both technical and social skills.
For some, the best method of learning the technical aspects of product management is to opt for various online courses or getting assistance from developers directly. By opting for organized learning with online courses, you’ll be certain that you’re covering every one of the nuts and bolts while getting persistent input from an instructor.
2. Familiarity with the product management process
The next step is to develop the ability to track down issues that are both inside the organization and within the product. As a product manager, you need to keep yourself updated with the product development process and learn what the potential customers of the product are looking for. Also, you need to figure out how to ideate and test the product to guarantee that it will address the client’s issues.
3. Study the industry
Managing products definitely demands you to know more than just how the product is made or works. It is important for products to fit in a specific industry, and to find that product managers should be aware of their market in a personal and nitty-gritty way. Similar to administration and interpersonal abilities, information on the advanced environment is something you can procure some time before you start your career.
Experience in a wide spectrum of technologies can be of great value for a product manager. Since a product manager needs to address the dynamics of technology, business, and user experience, a background in software development, UI or UX, sales and marketing, or business development can work well for you to get the role of a product manager.
4. Building and honing product skills
Right after learning the basic skills needed to manage products and their life cycle from beginning to end, you can start working on real-life projects. While you will be unable to finish a whole product cycle yourself, you ought to have the option to exhibit your capacities by working on some areas such as structuring scenarios, or building models, or performing client testing and investigation.
Albeit chipping away at singular strides of the cycle in separation may not add up to a finished product, but it will, in any case, offer you the chance to develop strategic thinking. Managing products is all about making associations between individuals or teams handling various assignments, successfully uniting them on the side of a similar goal. It’s a job of incredible duty, yet it’s eventually about supporting a group, not lecturing them.
5. Create a Portfolio to Showcase Your Work
Since product managers’ work incredibly relies upon the sort of product or organization they’re working for, there’s no single format for how to assemble a portfolio. All things being equal, adhere to the following two standards:
- First, utilize your portfolio to feature your qualities as a product manager, whatever they might be, instead of attempting to incorporate everything. This increases your chances of getting selected as you’ll be able to show your best work instead of just filling in the gap.
- Always ensure that the portfolio presents each piece in a reasonable manner – how can it convey the commitments you made, what hindrances you confronted, and the arrangements you made to overcome them.
The next step for you should be sharing your finalized portfolio with the potential companies and recruiters. Indeed, you’ll be able to discover the jobs on various online platforms, yet many experienced product managers say networking inside or outside their current organization helps in landing high-paying jobs over applying to various jobs.
Responsibilities Based on Company Stages
The roles and responsibilities of product managers vary a lot in startups as compared to mature companies. In startups, an individual gets exposed to nearly every responsibility associated with the role and in most cases, a single person manages everything. This comes with lots of learning along with lots of responsibilities and stress as well. However, in mature companies, the role is specifically defined and one has to look out for selected areas only. So, you have to work restrictively and with comparatively lesser stress.
Apart from ideation, managing product lifecycle, and teams, product managers are also responsible for the pricing, marketing, support, and even the sales of the product. Therefore, individuals who are looking for a dynamic work experience of learnings along and are comfortable with ambiguity and frequent direction changes should go with startups.
- Pro: More involvement in structuring the strategies, getting more exposure and handing senior positions, managing risks, and improving time management skills. Working with startups also provides more influence and authority over the resources and their management.
- Con: Individuals have to learn everything by themselves and there will be less or no mentorship or best practices within the organization at all. The workload is higher and every plan or strategy will usually face a tight budget. Also, it is likely that product managers would have to step in the work that is out of their league.
2. Mature company
Product managers here may have a restricted scope, but one thing for sure is reduced burden and mental stress. There will be co-workers that will look after pricing, go-to-market strategies, and other stuff and you are most likely to be a part of the team of product managers.
- Pro: Product managers will have the assistance of mentors along with a proper training period for them to learn everything successfully. They also get informed regarding all the development standards and best practices for working efficiently and not waste time figuring out everything by themselves.
- Con: An individual will have lesser exposure and will be restricted to a certain area only.
Product development is not an overnight process. It requires lots of teams and individuals to work and collaborate together for achieving a similar goal. All of these groups require one individual who overlooks all the operations, who is known as the product manager. This job profile is extremely dynamic and requires an individual to have a few of the most crucial hard and soft skills for working successfully. Few skills such as emotional intelligence, relationship management, and leadership qualities are considered to be the most important for working on various aspects of product management.