Key Skills of a Successful Software Product Manager

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Becoming a great product manager takes a fair amount of skill. You may be tech-savvy and have brilliant ideas, but it takes more than that to be successful in business. If you aspire to create the likes of Google Maps and Spotify, you need to have certain qualities about you. Read on for the mandatory skills of a successful software product manager.

The Ability to Work in a Team

Working well in a team is probably the most important skill. Your goal is not to overpower your development team, but to empower them. Listen well and allow creativity to flow when in meetings and when everyone is working on their areas, don’t try to change things up. Make your team want to succeed just as much as you do! Being a great product manager means being objective when the team fires ideas, as well as active listening.

Creativity

Creativity is a must as product managers are the ones who will have the most say on the product itself. Think outside the box and build on the product creatively to create the best end result. The best software products come from a mixture of creative and technical minds.

Critical Thinking

A product manager must be critical about everything. This doesn’t mean reacting to everything negatively, but thinking logically about how important certain functions are and the difficulty of each task. If there’s a part of product development that takes too long and doesn’t provide that much improvement, you must be able to decide to get rid of it. If problems are arising, the product manager cannot shy away from this – they are the ones who must confront the issues and deal with them accordingly. Sometimes it takes thinking like the consumer rather than the developer.

The Ability to Analyze Data

Analyzing data is a huge part of user retention. If something is not working, product managers must look at the data before them and figure out where the issues lie.

Using KPI’s (key performance indicators) as a product manager is crucial. Metrics for product managers provide essential insight into where the product thrives and where it does not, and you should use this to guide you rather than your instinct.

A Clear Vision

Product managers must know their products and goals through and through. Having a clear vision allows strategic planning and expectations of goals. It’s no use getting overwhelmed in certain areas of the product development if it doesn’t benefit the overall goal. Keeping a clear view of the purpose in mind is essential for product managers to stay on track.

Research Skills

Before you can even start on a product, it’s crucial to know who you’re pitching at and who the audience is. This requires a lot of research, so product managers must have brilliant researching skills. Research for product management usually involves looking at the market, figuring out the audience and seeing where there are any gaps. It will help you make informed decisions about the product overall.

Marketing Skills

To be a product manager, you need to be an all-rounder. Your product developing skills should be excellent, but there are other areas you must thrive in and knowing how to market a product is one of them. You will be the one creating the product, so you should figure out how you can sell it too.

Time Management

A project may never get to its feet without proper time management. As the manager of software product development, you must be able to manage time wisely. This means sticking to strict deadlines and keeping weekly goals. No matter how good you are at a business or how tech-savvy you are, the product will never reach the customers if production goals aren’t reached.

Communication Skills

This one is a biggie. Communication skills will, of course, come in handy when product managers are working in a team, but there are other areas they need to have superior communication skills. Project managers are often required to talk with clients and give presentations which means coming across professionally.

Speaking clearly, confidently, and listening well are all essential skills for product managers, as this will lead to better relationships, resulting in the likelihood of more sales. Think about it as representing the product itself – the communication needs to meet the product quality standard. If you want to become a product manager, but you’re not sure about your communication skills, it would be a sensible idea to brush up on your interpersonal skills.

The Ability to Accept Failure

Unfortunately, not every business plan will succeed and you might find that the product you have spent your precious time on just doesn’t take off. Part of being a product manager is the ability to handle this well and not let it defeat you. Many products never make it out of the door, let alone become a success, so it’s better to keep perspective and see it as a learning curve. After all, every failure is a step in the right direction, as it only serves to teach. Rejection can be difficult to process, but it is one reasons being a product manager takes having a thick skin.

Endless Drive

Being a software product manager takes an awful lot of hard work. They must believe in the product and work on it like they think it is the best new software ever created. If you are someone who commits to a project whole-heartedly and doesn’t give up until it’s finished, then you already have one of the skills necessary. Drive is important, as there may be days when it seems to be a problem after problem, but overcoming those obstacles is what leads to a great software product in the end. 

A software product manager has a lot of responsibilities, and it takes someone with a vast array of skills to succeed. If you are someone who has all of these skills, along with knowledge about product management, then it may be the area you will thrive in most.