As a Product Manager, the ultimate responsibility for the product’s launch and success rests on your shoulders. You need to collaborate with various departments, such as design and engineering, to get the job done. For this, you need to inculcate a number of skills that will help you understand your product better and manage it in an efficient manner.
“You are kind of the mini-CEO – with all of the responsibility…but without any of the authority.”
– Josh Elman, Partner at Greylock, former Product Manager at Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Here are the most important Hard Skills you need as a Product Manager:
1. User experience design
A knowledge of user experience design (UX), ensures you to visualise a unique and usable product that fulfills expectations of a user. While designing this product a Product Manager must specifically set user context and understand user expectations.
An understanding of the technical aspects of your product will enable you to leverage technology to solve any problem that may arise. In short, while leveraging technology to solve problems as a Product Manager, you must also build technical expertise along the way. This will ensure clarity of communication with the engineers working on the product, which infuses synergies with them and also helps you earn their respect.
If you come from a tech background already, just remember that you are now a Product Manager and too much interference in the tech team’s work may not go down well.
“As a Product Manager, if you don’t understand tech, you won’t be able to relate to a path that can take you forward. You will have to rely on secondary knowledge only.”
– Akshay Rajwade, Chief Product Officer, Nearbuy.
3. Data understanding
If your company doesn’t rely on data, you need to introduce a data-driven culture. Data can help you understand many aspects of your product’s performance as well as validate any instincts you may have in this regard.
A coherent understanding of data can help you to monitor:
(i) Metrics around product usage by consumers.
(ii) Hits and misses.
(iii) Stages where consumers tend to fall off or drop-off points, during the usage of the product.
(iv) Your instincts as a Product Manager.
“If you want to be a Data Analytics Product Manager for instance, and then if you don’t have domain knowledge, it can get very difficult.”
– Ashwin Venkatraman, Chief Product Officer, Furlenco.
4. Business sense
You need to mainly decide where to invest two things – your team’s time and resources. Accordingly, you need to build a product roadmap thereafter that leads to success and profitability.
Product Managers are multi-skilled animals. They need to master skills related to data, technology, business, design, etc. But how can one individual know so many things? Well, who said it was easy to make a career out of Product Management? But you can always start somewhere.
Along with the hard skills, you will also need to work very hard to foster in yourself a number of soft skills.
These hard skills will help you manage all the teams well and work on forming logical, consistent frameworks for building your product.