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;
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.
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.