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  • Writer's pictureJayendra More

The Key Traits of Product Managers: 7 Habits of Highly Successful Ones


The Key Traits of Product Managers: 7 Habits of Highly Successful Ones

Being a Product Manager(PM) is not as easy a job or a simple role as it seems. The mere ambiguity around the role is something that puts even a seasoned professional's wits to the test. The role has been present in every industry for a long time but was never recognised. Even if we consider long back when the Pyramids were being built in Egypt, there might have been Product managers making sure that the project was being done properly and on time. It is solely a PM’s job to make sure the team is on the right course to get the project completed on time and with maximum efficiency. Every PM from their respective industry possesses their own set of unique qualities.

Product Management is a strategic and business-oriented role focused on delivering solutions to customers and market needs. There are two facets to a Product Manager’s role: one from the company’s perspective and the other from the customer’s viewpoint.


The Key Traits of Product Managers

Being a Product Manager(PM) is not as easy a job or a simple role as it seems. The mere ambiguity around the role is something that puts even a seasoned professional's wits to the test. The role has been present in every industry for a long time but was never recognised. Even if we consider long back when the Pyramids were being built in Egypt, there might have been Product managers making sure that the project was being done properly and on time. It is solely a PM’s job to make sure the team is on the right course to get the project completed on time and with maximum efficiency. Every PM from their respective industry possesses their own set of unique qualities.

Product Management is a strategic and business-oriented role focused on delivering solutions to customers and market needs. There are two facets to a Product Manager’s role: one from the company’s perspective and the other from the customer’s viewpoint.

 

7 Habits of a Highly Successful Product Manager


1. Be an Expert When you become a Product Manager, you should always be ahead in your field, no matter what field, for what product and in which domain. It is required of a PM to know in-depth everything about his product. We here are not considering that a PM should always have knowledge of databases or the tech stack of the product(it won’t hurt if you have!), but about the basics of the product, how the product works, what is its business model, who are the competitors and how does your product stand out when compared to the competitors. Who are your customers and what are their wants and needs from the product? What problem are you actively solving using the product? A PM should be a subject matter expert for his Product.

2. Be an Owner Generally, a Product Manager is considered the CEO of the product. A PM doesn’t hold any direct rights over the product and always require permission to implement new thing in the product from seniors, stakeholders or management member, CXOs, etc. still the PM holds all the responsibilities for the product. When things are great and everything is working fine a PM hardly receives any accolades and at times when things go south, all the blame is shifted to the PM’s shoulder. A PM should be the one who takes responsibility for the product and all issues related to it.

3. Be Persuasive As discussed in the previous point, PM does not hold any direct rights over the product, it is always required of him to convince others to work on his feature and to make sure everyone working on the feature understands the importance of the feature. The decisions taken by the PM should be data backed and the hypothesis around the features should be properly documented. A PM should possess good communication skills and should be persuasive enough to make people lean in his favour. A PM should get things done by convincing rather than commanding.

4. Be an Engineer It is not mandatory that a PM should be from an IT or Engineering background. A PM can be from marketing, testing, customer support, finance or any other domain, but it is required that he or she should always understand the work happening in the background. A PM should understand the common terms used by his developers and have a basic understanding of the technical flow. A PM should always be curious about his product and how it is being built as if he or she were an engineer.

5. Be Positive The usual day of PM is full of highs and lows. Hardly there would be a day in a PM’s life that everything is fine and running smoothly. There are days when a feature is rejected by upper management, a day when your server crashes, and a day when your retention of customers falls below a certain point. It is required of the PM to be calm in the situation and take measured steps toward the solution. In a hard time, a PM with a positive or optimistic mindset motivates others along with himself to come out of any adversity. A PM should transmit optimism to the team and to the rest of the company about your product.

6. Be a Curator A Product Manager should not get his hands dirty every time, at times he should just have a look at whether everyone else is doing their job properly or not. Delegation of tasks properly is a quality very rare to find, it is always required of PMs mainly at the senior level that the delegate the task among their team so that everyone feels valued and is contributing to the team and the product. A PM should always brainstorm and cultivate ideas with his team and give praise to every individual who deserves it. A PM should curate the best ideas from the team and celebrate the work of others on the team.

7. Be a (fearless) Leader One of the most important qualities of a PM and a must-have is to be a leader and be fearless. Many a time it would happen that you have to take a stand for a feature or a release, times like this show how fearlessly a PM leads his team and sticks to his feature/plan. A PM should always champion his team’s ideas all the way uptown the management ladder. A Product Manager may have the word ‘Manager’ in it but a PM is and should always be a ‘Leader’.

 

I hope that this article helps you understand the habits of a Product Manager. Please share your thoughts on the topic in the comments. If you enjoyed this article, please follow me here on Medium for more stories about Product Management related topics.


I am always open to having a healthy conversation over a cup of coffee. Connect on LinkedIn here, Twitter here



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