Many people start careers in product management without having a clear idea of what they will be doing. As soon as they manage to get a job, the whole picture becomes more defined. Most of the product manager key skills are usually learned in practice.
Of course, there are a few nature-given skills that could be useful to a great product manager, for example, numerical skills, analytical thinking, empathy, and so on. However, most of the aptitudes you need to succeed at work can be trained and advanced.
For many product managers, the top 3 skills usually are
- organization and prioritizing;
But before you go all-in what product manager skills are, the first step might be to read about jobs of the future.
What Kinds of Product Manager Skills Exist?
One of the most important skills of product manager is the ability to interact with other people. We use it every day when we communicate with people, often without even realizing it. However, great product managers rely on these interpersonal skills even more than others. These skills help you control your emotions and let you build better relationships with everyone around you.
It’s impossible to create a thriving environment at work if you can’t communicate with the team. And product managers rely on their team a lot.
Interpersonal skills are a wide group of skills that usually include communication, listening, and speaking. However, there are lots of them. To succeed in the product management field, one should master several of the key interpersonal skills, such as
- emotional intelligence;
- conflict resolution;
- problem-solving and decision-making;
- communication (verbal and non-verbal).
Strategic thinking is essential in the product manager skills set. These people can’t go any further in their careers if they don’t apply their analytical and strategic mindset.
Strategic thinking is a skill that helps solve complex problems, project the future, and plan a few steps ahead. Managers should be able to exercise their critical thinking to address challenges and accomplish business objectives.
Usually, strategic thinking relies on the following:
- analytical skills;
- communication skills;
- problem-solving skills;
- planning and management.
All these skills can be trained in the workplace or through special programs and courses. It’s common for people in managerial positions to take such professional development courses because a lot depends on their strategic vision. For example, such tasks as meeting financial targets and creating efficient workflow depend mostly on the ability of managers to assess the situation, address the challenges, and seek effective and reasonable solutions.
Analytical thinking is essential for professionals working with data. Product managers process a lot of information and figures as they need to see the meaning behind numbers. Great numerical and computation skills are an asset for them as well.
In addition, a great product manager would try to synthesize their strategic thinking with analytical skills. Otherwise, there is no practical value in their suggestions and solutions.
Since we’ve already discussed the importance of an analytical mindset for a product manager, let’s focus more on the technical side of analytical thinking. Thus, our question is: “what technical skills does a product manager need to perform their job responsibilities?”
There are plenty of tools. The more familiar you are with each of them, the better. The faster you learn, the better. Below are just a few of the most popular ones:
- Google Analytics;
Since product managers are interested in growing profits for the company, they should be skilled in marketing. The ability to market the product and sell it is on top of the product manager skills list.
Thus, let’s define a few product marketing manager skills categories:
- interpersonal relationship skills;
- content creation and editing;
- SEO knowledge;
- digital marketing;
- outreach marketing;
- time and project management;
- marketing automation;
- web and marketing analytics;
- ROI measurement skills.
All these skills are equally important for a product manager. However, as strategists and analysts, they mostly see numbers behind the marketing strategy and data. In other words, product managers analyze marketing efforts, conclude on their success, and make suggestions on things that can be improved.
To do that, they should know digital marketing trends, principles of online advertising, print marketing advancement, and other aspects. All of this makes marketing an essential skill for product managers.
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A Few More Key Product Manager Skills
However, there are other skills to have as a product manager. The list can go on and on because the role of a product manager is very comprehensive. This profession requires a wide skill set if you want to stand out from the crowd of other managers.
To gain a competitive advantage and bring measurable benefits to your employer, consider developing the following skills:
- technical expertise;
- business development skills;
- research skills;
- delegation skills;
- product knowledge;
- familiarity with economics;
Just think of it: product managers are needed in various industries by different companies. Each field has its own peculiarities, requiring managers to adapt and gain new knowledge and skills.
Thus, above all professional skills, product managers should be flexible, adaptable, and ready to learn quickly. If you can prove this to your potential employer, you are likely to land the job. Your further progression, however, depends on your professionalism.
Skills to Survive in Product Management
Writing the skills section on a resume is always confusing. There is usually so much to add to it, but you must consider their relevance when it comes to applying.
To land a job and succeed in it, a great product manager should be prepared for a challenge. Various work environments require different skills from these professionals. However, mentioning a few of the most important skills for a product manager in your resume will definitely draw the attention of recruiters.
“What empathy has to do with product management?,” you must be thinking. Actually, it’s one of the most critical skills for a professional of this kind. To craft a winning resume, you probably should hire editor resume on it.
Empathy helps product managers a lot. They need to understand the emotions of people around them, control their own, and set a clear vision for the product. It often sets the agenda for particular product updates and features and helps arrive at a product decision.
Empathy can also be attributed to product marketing manager skills because it is needed to understand customer behavior, moods, and expectations. It also allows you to understand your customer base and establish rapport with them. It’s impossible to build a successful product management strategy if you are deaf to customer feedback and dialogue.
After all, empathy is a part of communication. Communication skills for a product manager are a must.
OPC Skill Set
OPC stands for organization, prioritization, and communication. We can’t split up those skills because they usually come together. And this skill set constitutes top product manager skills. No professional can perform their duties if they have no organization, time management, and prioritizing skills.
Product managers must combine organization and prioritization abilities with excellent communication skills. This allows them to determine product due dates, set strategy milestones, and delegate tasks to the team. Everyone would agree that the sense of urgency, prioritization skills, and time planning define a recognized and trusted manager.
Communication only backs organization and prioritization. It ensures that everyone is on the same page, looks from the same perspective, and is empowered enough to change the agenda.
Altogether, OPC skills in product managers help them create an environment for collaboration. When a communication system is organized, and tasks are delegated and prioritized, the performance is usually up to standards as well.
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Analytical Thinking and Data-Driven Decision Making
Analytical insight is crucial for product managers. They should be keen on figures and numbers because this is what they will work with most of the time. Coding, for example, despite being highly appreciated and preferred as a skill, is still not mandatory for product managers.
Analytical skills help product managers turn data into suggestions, conclusions, and findings. Using measurable results of their performance, they can formulate the strategy for the future. In addition, they can determine how successful their strategy is. Using qualitative data, product managers can analyze the feedback and customer insights to define what product updates and features are expected.
Analytical thinking is among the top skills for product manager because one can only make an informed and well-thought decision if it’s backed up with data. From a quantitative standpoint, being unable to provide evidence for a decision often leads to a strategy failure.
Summing It Up
As you can see, good product managers have pretty universal skills. The better they are at them, the more they stand out from the crowd. Both soft and hard skills are necessary for smooth and thriving product strategy planning and execution.
Some of the skills fit several other professions as well. For example, digital marketing and online advertising are obviously great skills for product marketing manager. However, if you intend to land a job as a product manager, they will be a great plus. It’s always better to be on the same page with the team and speak the same language with different employees.
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