Product manager |Freelance writer| Introvert
Product management is a specialized role with an intelligent blend of business, tech and user experience. A product manager is mostly tasked with the duty of successfully managing the development of a product from start to launch, above other tasks.
The career path for product managers vary. One can delve into product management from a field like customer service, business, marketing, and operations e.t.c. But mostly from engineering and design.
Can a non-techie become a product manager? This question will be answered in the course of this article. Recommended skills for product managers will be discussed too.
Let's say the management of a company has a product on paper that they would like to build and push to the market, but there is a need for someone who can set the roadmap and direct the entire production life cycle of this product. That person, is the product manager.
A product manager must understand the product market, the customers he is building the product for, and should be knowledgeable enough to lead the cross-functional teams that would directly work on the project.
Requisite skills and passion for the job are very important for anyone that signs up to become a product manager. This is because product management is an inter-disciplinary role that places you in a team of experts who look up to you to call the shot. Does this mean you have to constantly up-skill? Absolutely!
Skills you need to become a product manager
1. User Experience: The end goal of a product is for the customers to be satisfied and for this satisfaction to transmute to an increase in ROI. So, it matters that the customers have an enjoyable experience with the product all the way.
You would need to know how to dive deep into your customers' mindset to understand their pain point and practical needs in order to be able to design the best experience for them.
"My role involves discovering customer problems, prioritizing them and working with the team to find the right solutions. It’s also vital to work with stakeholders and manage their expectations." - Niall Kiernan, product manager at Atlassian.
2. Market knowledge of the Product
This is about the product manager knowing all there is to know about the viability of the product, market analysis, threats and opportunities, the Unique selling point of the product and what the company's competitors have to offer.
You can conduct market research using available information on the internet, actually conduct a field survey yourself or outsource the research to an agency.
“The goal is to transform data into information, and information into insight.” - Carly Fiorina, former CEO at HP
3. Technical expertise
More products today than ever rely on technology, so it will really be a big advantage if a product manager has technical knowledge. Soft skills are great, but having the requisite technical expertise will help a product manager better manage the developers who are the experts.
"The question of tech skills for product managers is a hard one to answer. I recognize there have been many situations in my career where my background has helped me. For a product manager a tech background means:
You find it easier to define what is needed in terms that a dev team can easily understand.You can discuss scope knowing what may have a bigger impact on effortYou can build relationships faster with teams. It’s easier to speak the same language and understand how to transmit ideas in a way that will compel engineers." - Head of product development, Almundo.
Product management is an interesting field to delve into. I have always been a product management enthusiast and would love to go beyond just reading project management books to actually signing up for a course come 2020.
As a former product trainer at Transsnet Financial and now Product trainer at Opay, I have come to love products beyond its functionalities to wanting to be part of the development process.
Guess what I stumbled on while writing this article? A rich resource on product management. You might want to check it out.
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