Product Management

What are the Skills of a Product Manager?

Content Writer

Athira V S

Created on:

May 30, 2024

Updated on:

May 30, 2024

10 mins read

What are the Skills of a Product Manager?

Product managers play a critical role in driving the product team toward success. They are in charge of a product's development, launch, and ongoing management. Due to the pivotal role that a product manager plays in a business, it is imperative that they possess certain essential product manager skills. 

Developing and refining soft skills are essential skills for you to succeed in any niche. Besides soft skills, a product manager should acquire certain product manager skills that would make them stand out from the rest and excel in their domain. By the end of the article, you should have an idea about the skills it takes to be a product manager.

TL;DR

Product managers ought to possess some core competencies, some cardinal hard skills, and soft skills to be one step ahead of others and be successful in their endeavors. 

Core Competencies

  • Research skills enable product managers to acquire extensive knowledge of the market, customers, and business
  • A product manager should be able to run Design Sprints and empower teams to put their best foot forward. 
  • Roadmap planning allows PMs to keep all the stakeholders aligned toward a shared product vision. 
  • Product managers should have prioritization skills and the competency to strategically allocate resources based on bandwidth and feasibility.

Hard Skills

  • Data analysis skills: A product manager should learn to analyze data effectively in order to define success metrics.
  • Technical knowledge: One of the key product manager skills that enables product managers to collaborate more effectively with the product engineering team. 
  • Business Expertise: Business expertise, a crucial product manager skills, allows product managers to make informed business decisions and achieve business goals.  
  • Product Sense: Product sense helps product managers to curate products in a way that caters to the needs of the target market.

Soft Skills

  • Communication Skills: Communication skills is one of the critical product management skills that enable a product manager to work well with the product development team and develop a connection with their customers.
  • Leadership Skills: It allows product managers to guide and manage the product management team to develop technically feasible products that meet customer needs. 
  • People Skills: Product managers interact with people from inside and outside the organization to build the best products. Hence, people skills is one of the key product manager skills
  • Strategic Thinking: Strategic thinking aids them in planning ahead and seamlessly surpassing any roadblock that may arise.
  • Empathy: It allows product managers to connect better with their teams and customers by understanding their ideas, concerns, and challenges.
  • Adaptability: Product managers should gain adaptability to evolve with the changes and stay ahead of the curve.

Read on to learn how these core competencies and product manager skills help product managers to enhance their product management journey.

Core Competencies of a Product Manager

Research Skills

Research skill is the ability to identify, evaluate, analyze, and interpret information that is relevant to your usage and purpose. 

Researching is one of the core product manager skills that product managers should master. In order to be a successful product manager, one will have to do extensive research on the market, business, and customers. This knowledge enables them to craft products that are market fit, ensure customer satisfaction and drive revenue to the business.

It is imperative for a product manager to conduct customer interviews and user testing. These processes can give you a wider perspective on customer requirements and how you can solve their problems through your product. 

Researching the latest market and industry trends, and competitors will help you to be on top of your game. In this way, you will be able to spot possible threats and opportunities, modify your product strategy as required, and ultimately acquire a competitive edge.

Running Design Sprints

A design sprint is a planned procedure that assists teams in finding novel solutions to complex challenges in a short amount of time, usually five days. 

Cross-functional teams (including sales team, marketing team, engineering team, designers, etc.) collaborate extensively during design sprints, and product managers oversee this teamwork. They work together on problem definition, ideation, prototyping, and testing, all within a compressed timeframe. 

The product manager makes trade-offs between different ideas, features, and requirements as the design sprint progresses. As soon as the team has created a prototype, the product manager validates it by conducting a customer or stakeholder test and using it for continuous product refinement and solving business challenges. 

Roadmap Planning

Product roadmaps are visual tools for communicating the product vision and development status to multiple stakeholders. 

Effective data collection and analysis is an essential tool for product managers. It aids product managers in developing a robust product roadmap, that serves as the guiding light for the product team. By utilizing data-driven insights, product managers can align the team's efforts and achieve a shared product vision, resulting in successful deployment and continuous refinement of the product.  

A PM keeps updating the product roadmap based on the business and customer requirements. Roadmap creation is an important product management skills that keep all the stakeholders informed about the product development process and its progress. 

Building and maintaining a comprehensive product roadmap can be a time-intensive process. However, with Zeda.io's user-friendly road mapping tools, you can create a roadmap that efficiently guides your product management team toward success. But that's just the beginning - Zeda.io provides an entire suite of tools designed to enhance your product management game and empower your own product management team members. Learn more about this all-encompassing product management platform here- Zeda.io

Prioritization and Resource Allocation

Prioritization skill is one of the critical product manager skills that a PM has to be proficient in. A PM has a lot of factors to consider before he prioritizes a particular feature or product from the backlog and starts working on it. 

By defining goals and building roadmaps, it becomes easier for product managers to prioritize product features and allocate resources. In addition to efficiently managing resources, they must give top priority to those product features that will have the biggest impact on the product's success. One of the vital product manager skills is prioritization skills. This product manager skills helps them to tactically prioritize product features and allocate resources in an efficient manner. Flexibility is crucial since priorities and resource allocation may alter in response to new findings or market changes.

In addition to the competencies mentioned above, product managers ought to acquire certain hard skills to optimize product management process and broaden their horizons. Let us look at some of the key product management skills now. 

Core Competencies of a Product Manager

Hard Skills of a Product Manager

Data Analysis

A PM sifts through a large quantity of data on a day-to-day basis. This data serves as a facilitator for all their decisions and framing of the business strategy and product strategy for the product development process.

Data analysis is one of the major product manager skills that assists product managers in defining the success metrics and also tracing out the key performance indicators (KPIs). With the help of these, product managers will be able to make data-driven decisions that improve the performance of the product and can also enhance the satisfaction of customers. 

Moreover, data collected through feedback are thoroughly analyzed to understand the pain points and concerns of the customers. This is why data analysis is important, as it aids product managers in making informed decisions that foster the growth of the product.

Technical Knowledge

It is not mandatory for product managers to have a technical background, but having basic technical knowledge can make their jobs easier. Technical knowledge, as one of the core product manager skills, and management skill, will enable them to communicate effectively with the developers and make informed decisions about the product's features and development.

Knowledge about the technical aspects enables product managers to communicate effectively with technical teams and to understand technical challenges that may arise during the product development process. Basic data modeling and database knowledge aid product managers in understanding data architecture and ensuring that their product aligns with the system's technical requirements. 

In order to integrate external data into their products, product managers often use third-party APIs. The ability to understand REST APIs and how to work with JSON and XML data can help product managers evaluate which APIs will work best for their products. Learning basic coding languages like SQL, Python, HTML, and CSS can also help them work better with developers. 

Business Expertise

Business skill is a major product manager skills as a PM is in the position to oversee the development and success of a product within a company. they need To be able to do so effectively, they must first grasp the business environment in which their product operates, which includes market trends, customer needs, and competition.

Business expertise assists product managers in making informed decisions about product development, pricing, marketing, and distribution. Moreover, having business acumen would enable them to build products that customers will be satisfied with and generates revenue by aligning with the larger goals and vision of the company. 

Product Sense

A manager should have an in-depth understanding of the product. A successful product or manager must know the target customers to build a product that serves as a solution to their concerns and problems. Product sense is one of the key product manager skills that helps product managers to create products in a way that caters to the needs of the target market.

In order to acquire product sense, the PM should indulge in market research. Also, they should thoroughly learn about the competitors, businesses, and customers in an extensive manner. This will be crucial in developing a product sense which leads to product development that considers customer requirements every step of the way. 

Product Manager Skills

Soft Skills of Product Manager

Communication Skills

Communication skill is one of a product manager's most important soft skills. As a part of their job, a PM has to collaborate with multiple internal and external stakeholders. In addition to conveying technical requirements to the development team, strong communication skills help you clearly articulate the product's value proposition, features, and benefits to customers. Furthermore, they communicate with customers to collect customer feedback for the betterment of the product. 

Leadership Skills

The product manager's role is critical, as it intersects various functions and capacities. Leadership skill is one of the key product manager soft skills that help them to guide cross-functional teams and empower them to create technically feasible products that provide value to customers. Product managers' leadership also ensure that the team members are aligned with the business goal and objectives and that the teams do not break away from the larger goal of the business. 

People Skills

Just like leadership skills, people skill is one of the most valuable product management skills that a PM should possess. Product managers require people skills because their job demands them to collaborate with a diverse group of people inside (like the engineering team, sales team, marketing team, etc) and outside the organization. 

People skills enable them to achieve success in negotiation, problem resolution, and empowering the whole team. This also helps them to have a great rapport with other teams. 

Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking is an important soft skill for product managers because it allows them to look beyond short-term objectives and focus on the big picture. Product manager strategic thinking allows them to identify and assess potential risks and opportunities and develop a clear plan to achieve the product goals. 

Product managers' strategic thinking aids them in planning and seamlessly surpassing any roadblock that may arise. Product managers can also use strategic thinking to prioritize tasks, allocate resources effectively, and develop a product roadmap, for long-term product development.

Empathy

The ability to empathize with customers allows product managers to build stronger relationships. This allows them to understand their customers' needs better and commit to providing the best possible product experience. 

Furthermore, empathy allows product managers to connect better with their teams and understand their ideas, concerns, and challenges. Empathetic product managers are likelier to inspire team members' loyalty, commitment, and engagement, resulting in increased productivity, creativity, and innovation.

Adaptability

Adaptability is one of the essential product management skills. Acquiring adaptability helps product managers to stay ahead and helps to keep up with changing trends. A PM should always be flexible to changes as the world of product management is quite dynamic. The prioritization strategies may have to evolve as the technology evolves, so it is crucial that product managers are adaptable enough to embrace change and realize change is the only constant. 

Product Manager Soft Skills

Conclusion

The journey of the product manager is always complex. Therefore, they may have to wear multiple hats as they progress throughout the product lifecycle. In order to successfully make their way through all the hurdles, they should equip themselves with multiple product manager skills. 

Acquiring the core competencies, the hard and soft skills mentioned above, will help product managers to rise beyond normal. They will be able to collaborate better with the product and other cross-functional teams. Product manager skills enable them to perform better and develop products that generate revenue, ensure customer satisfaction and accomplish business goals and objectives. 

There is no doubt that these product manager skills can take product managers a long way in their product management journey. However, to level up a product managers game, you need Zeda.io. Zeda.io is an all-encompassing product management solution to bring order to all the chaotic tasks of product managers. It collects feedback from customers, manages them, and helps to prioritize features through multiple metrics and creating roadmaps. You can do all of these and a lot more by keeping your teams aligned with your company goals. Level up your product management game with Zeda.io today!

Suggested Read: Product Manager: Roles & Responsibilities

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FAQs

What are the hard skills of a product manager?

These are the major hard skills of a product manager: Data Analysis Technical Expertise Business Expertise Product Sense Prioritization Skills

What are the technical skills required for a product manager?

Even though a technical background is not necessary to become a successful product manager, acquiring fundamental technical skills can make your interaction with the development team easier. Some technical skills that successful product managers require are: Basic data modeling and database knowledge An understanding of REST APIs JSON and XML data Basic knowledge of coding languages like SQL, Python, HTML, and CSS Data Analysis Skills

What skill should a product manager have?

A product manager should equip him/herself with some hard skills like prioritization skills, data analysis, analytical skills, technical expertise managers skills, business skills, product sense, prioritization skills etc. In addition to this, successful product manager possess soft skills like communication skills, leadership skills, critical thinking, interpersonal skills, people skills, strategic thinking, empathy, analytical skills, adaptability, etc. 

Product Management

What are the Skills of a Product Manager?

Athira V S
Content Writer
May 30, 2024
10 mins read
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IN THIS ARTICLE:
  1. What are product discovery techniques?
  2. 8 key product discovery techniques link
  3. Conclusion
IN THIS ARTICLE:
  1. What are product discovery techniques?
  2. 8 key product discovery techniques link
  3. Conclusion

Product managers play a critical role in driving the product team toward success. They are in charge of a product's development, launch, and ongoing management. Due to the pivotal role that a product manager plays in a business, it is imperative that they possess certain essential product manager skills. 

Developing and refining soft skills are essential skills for you to succeed in any niche. Besides soft skills, a product manager should acquire certain product manager skills that would make them stand out from the rest and excel in their domain. By the end of the article, you should have an idea about the skills it takes to be a product manager.

TL;DR

Product managers ought to possess some core competencies, some cardinal hard skills, and soft skills to be one step ahead of others and be successful in their endeavors. 

Core Competencies

  • Research skills enable product managers to acquire extensive knowledge of the market, customers, and business
  • A product manager should be able to run Design Sprints and empower teams to put their best foot forward. 
  • Roadmap planning allows PMs to keep all the stakeholders aligned toward a shared product vision. 
  • Product managers should have prioritization skills and the competency to strategically allocate resources based on bandwidth and feasibility.

Hard Skills

  • Data analysis skills: A product manager should learn to analyze data effectively in order to define success metrics.
  • Technical knowledge: One of the key product manager skills that enables product managers to collaborate more effectively with the product engineering team. 
  • Business Expertise: Business expertise, a crucial product manager skills, allows product managers to make informed business decisions and achieve business goals.  
  • Product Sense: Product sense helps product managers to curate products in a way that caters to the needs of the target market.

Soft Skills

  • Communication Skills: Communication skills is one of the critical product management skills that enable a product manager to work well with the product development team and develop a connection with their customers.
  • Leadership Skills: It allows product managers to guide and manage the product management team to develop technically feasible products that meet customer needs. 
  • People Skills: Product managers interact with people from inside and outside the organization to build the best products. Hence, people skills is one of the key product manager skills
  • Strategic Thinking: Strategic thinking aids them in planning ahead and seamlessly surpassing any roadblock that may arise.
  • Empathy: It allows product managers to connect better with their teams and customers by understanding their ideas, concerns, and challenges.
  • Adaptability: Product managers should gain adaptability to evolve with the changes and stay ahead of the curve.

Read on to learn how these core competencies and product manager skills help product managers to enhance their product management journey.

Core Competencies of a Product Manager

Research Skills

Research skill is the ability to identify, evaluate, analyze, and interpret information that is relevant to your usage and purpose. 

Researching is one of the core product manager skills that product managers should master. In order to be a successful product manager, one will have to do extensive research on the market, business, and customers. This knowledge enables them to craft products that are market fit, ensure customer satisfaction and drive revenue to the business.

It is imperative for a product manager to conduct customer interviews and user testing. These processes can give you a wider perspective on customer requirements and how you can solve their problems through your product. 

Researching the latest market and industry trends, and competitors will help you to be on top of your game. In this way, you will be able to spot possible threats and opportunities, modify your product strategy as required, and ultimately acquire a competitive edge.

Running Design Sprints

A design sprint is a planned procedure that assists teams in finding novel solutions to complex challenges in a short amount of time, usually five days. 

Cross-functional teams (including sales team, marketing team, engineering team, designers, etc.) collaborate extensively during design sprints, and product managers oversee this teamwork. They work together on problem definition, ideation, prototyping, and testing, all within a compressed timeframe. 

The product manager makes trade-offs between different ideas, features, and requirements as the design sprint progresses. As soon as the team has created a prototype, the product manager validates it by conducting a customer or stakeholder test and using it for continuous product refinement and solving business challenges. 

Roadmap Planning

Product roadmaps are visual tools for communicating the product vision and development status to multiple stakeholders. 

Effective data collection and analysis is an essential tool for product managers. It aids product managers in developing a robust product roadmap, that serves as the guiding light for the product team. By utilizing data-driven insights, product managers can align the team's efforts and achieve a shared product vision, resulting in successful deployment and continuous refinement of the product.  

A PM keeps updating the product roadmap based on the business and customer requirements. Roadmap creation is an important product management skills that keep all the stakeholders informed about the product development process and its progress. 

Building and maintaining a comprehensive product roadmap can be a time-intensive process. However, with Zeda.io's user-friendly road mapping tools, you can create a roadmap that efficiently guides your product management team toward success. But that's just the beginning - Zeda.io provides an entire suite of tools designed to enhance your product management game and empower your own product management team members. Learn more about this all-encompassing product management platform here- Zeda.io

Prioritization and Resource Allocation

Prioritization skill is one of the critical product manager skills that a PM has to be proficient in. A PM has a lot of factors to consider before he prioritizes a particular feature or product from the backlog and starts working on it. 

By defining goals and building roadmaps, it becomes easier for product managers to prioritize product features and allocate resources. In addition to efficiently managing resources, they must give top priority to those product features that will have the biggest impact on the product's success. One of the vital product manager skills is prioritization skills. This product manager skills helps them to tactically prioritize product features and allocate resources in an efficient manner. Flexibility is crucial since priorities and resource allocation may alter in response to new findings or market changes.

In addition to the competencies mentioned above, product managers ought to acquire certain hard skills to optimize product management process and broaden their horizons. Let us look at some of the key product management skills now. 

Core Competencies of a Product Manager

Hard Skills of a Product Manager

Data Analysis

A PM sifts through a large quantity of data on a day-to-day basis. This data serves as a facilitator for all their decisions and framing of the business strategy and product strategy for the product development process.

Data analysis is one of the major product manager skills that assists product managers in defining the success metrics and also tracing out the key performance indicators (KPIs). With the help of these, product managers will be able to make data-driven decisions that improve the performance of the product and can also enhance the satisfaction of customers. 

Moreover, data collected through feedback are thoroughly analyzed to understand the pain points and concerns of the customers. This is why data analysis is important, as it aids product managers in making informed decisions that foster the growth of the product.

Technical Knowledge

It is not mandatory for product managers to have a technical background, but having basic technical knowledge can make their jobs easier. Technical knowledge, as one of the core product manager skills, and management skill, will enable them to communicate effectively with the developers and make informed decisions about the product's features and development.

Knowledge about the technical aspects enables product managers to communicate effectively with technical teams and to understand technical challenges that may arise during the product development process. Basic data modeling and database knowledge aid product managers in understanding data architecture and ensuring that their product aligns with the system's technical requirements. 

In order to integrate external data into their products, product managers often use third-party APIs. The ability to understand REST APIs and how to work with JSON and XML data can help product managers evaluate which APIs will work best for their products. Learning basic coding languages like SQL, Python, HTML, and CSS can also help them work better with developers. 

Business Expertise

Business skill is a major product manager skills as a PM is in the position to oversee the development and success of a product within a company. they need To be able to do so effectively, they must first grasp the business environment in which their product operates, which includes market trends, customer needs, and competition.

Business expertise assists product managers in making informed decisions about product development, pricing, marketing, and distribution. Moreover, having business acumen would enable them to build products that customers will be satisfied with and generates revenue by aligning with the larger goals and vision of the company. 

Product Sense

A manager should have an in-depth understanding of the product. A successful product or manager must know the target customers to build a product that serves as a solution to their concerns and problems. Product sense is one of the key product manager skills that helps product managers to create products in a way that caters to the needs of the target market.

In order to acquire product sense, the PM should indulge in market research. Also, they should thoroughly learn about the competitors, businesses, and customers in an extensive manner. This will be crucial in developing a product sense which leads to product development that considers customer requirements every step of the way. 

Product Manager Skills

Soft Skills of Product Manager

Communication Skills

Communication skill is one of a product manager's most important soft skills. As a part of their job, a PM has to collaborate with multiple internal and external stakeholders. In addition to conveying technical requirements to the development team, strong communication skills help you clearly articulate the product's value proposition, features, and benefits to customers. Furthermore, they communicate with customers to collect customer feedback for the betterment of the product. 

Leadership Skills

The product manager's role is critical, as it intersects various functions and capacities. Leadership skill is one of the key product manager soft skills that help them to guide cross-functional teams and empower them to create technically feasible products that provide value to customers. Product managers' leadership also ensure that the team members are aligned with the business goal and objectives and that the teams do not break away from the larger goal of the business. 

People Skills

Just like leadership skills, people skill is one of the most valuable product management skills that a PM should possess. Product managers require people skills because their job demands them to collaborate with a diverse group of people inside (like the engineering team, sales team, marketing team, etc) and outside the organization. 

People skills enable them to achieve success in negotiation, problem resolution, and empowering the whole team. This also helps them to have a great rapport with other teams. 

Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking is an important soft skill for product managers because it allows them to look beyond short-term objectives and focus on the big picture. Product manager strategic thinking allows them to identify and assess potential risks and opportunities and develop a clear plan to achieve the product goals. 

Product managers' strategic thinking aids them in planning and seamlessly surpassing any roadblock that may arise. Product managers can also use strategic thinking to prioritize tasks, allocate resources effectively, and develop a product roadmap, for long-term product development.

Empathy

The ability to empathize with customers allows product managers to build stronger relationships. This allows them to understand their customers' needs better and commit to providing the best possible product experience. 

Furthermore, empathy allows product managers to connect better with their teams and understand their ideas, concerns, and challenges. Empathetic product managers are likelier to inspire team members' loyalty, commitment, and engagement, resulting in increased productivity, creativity, and innovation.

Adaptability

Adaptability is one of the essential product management skills. Acquiring adaptability helps product managers to stay ahead and helps to keep up with changing trends. A PM should always be flexible to changes as the world of product management is quite dynamic. The prioritization strategies may have to evolve as the technology evolves, so it is crucial that product managers are adaptable enough to embrace change and realize change is the only constant. 

Product Manager Soft Skills

Conclusion

The journey of the product manager is always complex. Therefore, they may have to wear multiple hats as they progress throughout the product lifecycle. In order to successfully make their way through all the hurdles, they should equip themselves with multiple product manager skills. 

Acquiring the core competencies, the hard and soft skills mentioned above, will help product managers to rise beyond normal. They will be able to collaborate better with the product and other cross-functional teams. Product manager skills enable them to perform better and develop products that generate revenue, ensure customer satisfaction and accomplish business goals and objectives. 

There is no doubt that these product manager skills can take product managers a long way in their product management journey. However, to level up a product managers game, you need Zeda.io. Zeda.io is an all-encompassing product management solution to bring order to all the chaotic tasks of product managers. It collects feedback from customers, manages them, and helps to prioritize features through multiple metrics and creating roadmaps. You can do all of these and a lot more by keeping your teams aligned with your company goals. Level up your product management game with Zeda.io today!

Suggested Read: Product Manager: Roles & Responsibilities

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