Innovation stands at the centre of growth and competitive advantage. Product managers serve as the architects of innovation, bridging the link between customer needs and corporate strategy. Their unique skill set makes them critical in driving products that resonate with the market and align with broader business goals. Discover the 9 qualities of a great product manager in our blog below.
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1. Strategic thinker
A. The ability to set clear goals
Exceptional product managers are skilled goal-setters. They possess the rare talent of defining clear, measurable objectives that steer the entire team toward a shared vision. According to research by McKinsey & Company, companies with well-defined goals are 376% more likely to achieve them, underscoring the critical nature of this trait.
B. Long-term vision and planning
Great product managers aren’t content with short-term wins. They possess long-term visions for their products, recognising that a product’s lifecycle extends well beyond its initial release. This foresight enables them to navigate the ever-changing market dynamics effectively.
C. Balancing priorities and trade-offs
In today’s dynamic business environment, prioritisation is an ongoing challenge. Exceptional product managers are adept at balancing competing priorities and making well-informed trade-offs. Their ability to discern between must-have features and feature bloat is central to maintaining product focus and effectiveness.
2. Customer-centric approach
A. Deep understanding of customer needs
In an era where 73% of consumers prioritise a positive customer experience, exceptional product managers go to great lengths to understand customer needs. They engage in frequent user interviews, conduct usability tests, and actively collect feedback to ensure their products are aligned with user expectations.
B. Continuous customer feedback loop
Great product managers do not rely on intuition alone. They establish an ongoing feedback loop with customers, systematically collecting real-world data and insights.
C. Empathy and user advocacy
To illustrate the paramount importance of empathy and user advocacy, consider a product manager who keeps a heartfelt customer thank-you note on their desk. Such tangible reminders reinforce the human aspect of product management and drive home the point that they are building products for real people. It’s this empathetic connection that distinguishes good product managers from the exceptional ones.
3. Exceptional communication skills
A. Effective cross-functional collaboration
Great product managers must master the art of cross-functional collaboration. They are the linchpin that binds together engineering, design, marketing, and other teams. According to research by McKinsey, effective cross-functional collaboration can boost project success rates by up to 20%.
B. Ability to translate technical jargon
One of the challenges in product management is bridging the gap between technical teams and non-technical stakeholders. A product manager who excels at translating complex technical jargon into plain language is the keystone to fostering better communication and more informed decision-making.
C. Influential presentation and storytelling
Whether it’s in the boardroom or during team meetings, the art of influential presentation and storytelling cannot be underestimated. Exceptional product managers craft compelling narratives that inspire and align teams toward a common goal, making the journey from vision to execution smoother and more effective.
4. Strong analytical skills
A. Data-driven decision-making
Great product managers base their decisions on data and insights. A recent study by Forbes found that data-driven companies are 23 times more likely to acquire customers and six times as likely to retain them. Product managers proficient in data analysis can identify trends, make informed decisions, and continually refine their product strategies.
B. Problem-solving abilities
The ability to identify complex problems, dissect them, analyse root causes, and propose innovative solutions is at the heart of a product manager’s role. These problem-solving abilities empower them to navigate obstacles and drive product success even in the face of adversity.
Product managers should be metrics-oriented. Whether it’s monitoring user engagement, conversion rates, or churn rates, they keep a vigilant eye on key performance indicators (KPIs). This data-centric approach ensures that the product remains on track to meet its objectives.
5. Adaptability and flexibility
A. Agile and iterative mindset
The Agile methodology has revolutionised product management. Exceptional product managers fully embrace the Agile principles, fostering a culture of adaptability and iteration. This enables teams to respond effectively to shifting market conditions and evolving customer needs.
B. Handling ambiguity and uncertainty
In the dynamic world of product management, ambiguity and uncertainty are constants. Exceptional product managers thrive in these unpredictable scenarios, viewing them as opportunities for growth rather than insurmountable challenges.
C. Openness to change and learning
The very best product managers are characterised by an appetite for learning and improvement. They actively seek out new knowledge, stay attuned to industry trends, and embrace emerging technologies. This commitment to personal and professional growth positions them as leaders in the ever-evolving field of product management.
6. Leadership and team building
A. Inspiring and motivating teams
Leadership in product management transcends mere authority. Exceptional product managers inspire and motivate their teams to go the extra mile. They cultivate a culture of innovation and collaboration, where each team member feels personally invested in the product’s success.
B. Conflict resolution
In high-pressure environments, conflicts can inevitably arise. Exceptional product managers possess a skillset that includes effective conflict resolution. They ensure that disagreements do not fester and hinder progress but rather serve as opportunities for constructive dialogue and growth.
C. Accountability and ownership
Great product managers embrace accountability and ownership of their products. They understand that success and failure are inextricably linked to their decisions and actions. Every experience, whether a triumph or setback, serves as a valuable learning opportunity to fuel continuous improvement.
7. Product lifecycle mastery
A. From ideation to launch and beyond
Product managers should possess a comprehensive understanding of every stage of the product lifecycle, from the inception of ideas to the product’s eventual launch and post-launch optimisation. Their expertise ensures a seamless transition between each phase and a product that continually evolves to meet market demands.
B. Market research and competitive analysis
Informed decision-making relies on deep market research and competitive analysis. Exceptional product managers keep a vigilant eye on industry trends and competitor movements, enabling them to make data-driven decisions that position their products for success.
C. Post-launch optimisation
The journey of a product does not culminate with its launch. Exceptional product managers understand the importance of continuous optimisation, driven by user feedback and market changes. Their commitment to post-launch excellence ensures that products remain competitive and relevant.
8. Business acumen
A. Understanding of market trends
Great product managers stay ahead of market trends and emerging technologies. Their understanding of the shifting market landscape allows them to make strategic decisions that keep their products aligned with evolving customer expectations.
B. ROI awareness
Understanding the return on investment (ROI) of product initiatives is paramount. It not only aids in resource allocation but also demonstrates the value of the product to stakeholders. Exceptional product managers are well-versed in articulating the tangible benefits their products bring to the table.
C. Profitability and growth strategies
Successful product managers have an astute understanding of how their products contribute to the company’s profitability and growth strategies. They not only set product goals but ensure those objectives align seamlessly with broader corporate objectives.
9. Attention to detail
A. Quality assurance and testing
Attention to detail is crucial when creating quality products. Exceptional product managers prioritise rigorous testing and quality assurance processes to guarantee that products meet and exceed quality standards.
B. Preventing scope creep
Scope creep is the nemesis of successful project management. Great product managers vigilantly monitor project scope, guarding against unnecessary additions that can lead to delays and cost overruns. Their diligence ensures projects stay on track and within budget.
C. Thorough documentation
Effective documentation is essential for knowledge transfer and project continuity. Exceptional product managers maintain comprehensive records and documentation, ensuring a smooth handover and ongoing support for their products.
Recruiting exceptional product managers requires a strategic approach. Investing in ongoing training and development nurtures the potential of your existing product management team, further enhancing your organisation’s ability to innovate and excel.
Remember, the impact of a great product manager extends far beyond product management; they are the driving force behind your company’s evolution and success in an ever-changing market landscape.
Need to hire a great product manager? Contact us today and we can start your search.