What needs to be done by Product Manager (+Skills Chart)
A product manager’s responsibilities can be separated into three main areas → product development, monetization, processes.Product development. Understanding why something needs to done and what exactly needs to be done about it.
Monetization. Make sure that the money spent on you by the management and the company brings in a surplus. The must be a noticeable profit after your services are rendered.
Processes. You’re your company work like a well-oiled machine.
Generally speaking, the skills of a product manager differ from company to company − this greatly depends on the stage of the company’s development, its strategy and short-term goals.
Very often having only one or a few of the above-mentioned roles in a team is not enough. In this case, it is important for the product manager to have the skill of creating and testing of product hypotheses.
It is important to not only to quickly test the hypotheses, but it is actually much more important to correctly formulate them from the start, as well as to understand and be accountable for the meaningfulness of the proposed actions.
Of course, it is also important to not delay the launch of new product functionality and to create actual benefit for the users.
Provide yourself with a broader outlook, study the history, communicate with colleagues from the industry, work on a third-party project. Expanding your horizons is worth doing by any available means possible, for example, reading fiction literature and finding parallels with your profession.
Typically, when interviewing candidates for a position as a product manager on team, their knowledge from five specific skill sets are to be tested.
1. Research and prototypes.
A product manager does not base his decisions on expert opinion, but on actual research. The PM needs to have an understanding of the types of research: qualitative, quantitative, “perceptual”, “usability”, etc., and understanding which particular project requires which specific method. That is, the ability to establish a chain of action and the main cycle:
2. Constant market research (“market news”).
The observation of direct competitors, and having an understanding of where to stand apart from them, as well as the analysis of neighboring industries as sources of inspiration for new thoughts and ideas.
3. Product description.
The ability to generate high-quality specifications or requirements for the development of products: what goals we want to achieve, what problems the client needs to be solved, how the market works, which specific product and what area it is designed for, what results and metrics we expect to get.
4. Product metrics and analytics.
It is important to know your way around all the metrics of a product (to know both the main indicators and as well as being prepared to think of your own metrics for a product or feature).
5. The team.
The product manager is the central link in the team, so it’s important to set up common ground with all the team members. A team should be a team, not just a gathering of people. It should share common values, form a single vision: why and what do its members do in order to gain motivation and inspiration for development.
1. Product managers work in a company.
Product managers must understand the goals of the business, its plans, metrics, everything about it, down to what the shareholders want and at what stage of development the company is, what the company needs at the moment: to make more money (maximize profits), capture a larger portion of the market, make a certain set of products, etc.
The product manager’s task as an employee is to achieve these goals. Based on the goals of the entire company, the driving forces are then decomposed into target goals. Everyone works for one common goal. It is important for the product manager to understand his role in the company as well as the degree of influence on the achievement of a common goal.
2. Goal setting.
A very important component that determines the setting of appropriate metrics and the ambitious goals to achieve them.
3. Participation in international (foreign) conferences.
A source of new knowledge in an industry. It is necessary to analyze multibillion-dollar international projects
A passionate work ethic, genuine interest, ability to see opportunities in problems − product managers that have these traits can also be executives, directors, entrepreneurs.
The proportions of operational, team and strategic work in an ideal world are: 33% − strategy, 33% − team, 33% − operational activities.
Product Manager Skills
- Knowing the audience and the tasks — what the PM does and for whom.
- Outlook, understanding of the market, marketing skills.
Possible questions to evaluate yourself and your product outlook capabilities
1. What is Facebook’s business model?
2. How do car-sharing services compare with taxi services in the market?
3. Who is a competitor to whom? Who compliments whom?
4. What services can be created at the intersection of the industries?
The best training for a product manager is to try to launch something of their own, work on all of their skill sets, to build, for example, complete Customer Acquisition models, and consolidate Unit economies.
Three Key Product Manager Skills❶ Product building
Intersection with marketing. The product manager works a lot with marketing specialists.
1. Getting metrics from the market.
2. Determining the strategy for where the product will move.
3. Identifying the markets in which you will develop.
An important quality − it is worthwhile to understand that you, as a product manager, are a hired employee in a company with an already launched product and will (99% of the time) work on an already existing product, rather than launch new products.
• Competitor analysis
The ability to, firstly, find competitors, and secondly, to assess them — to find their financial reports, to understand how their target audience is developing, to understand what metrics and product/market indicators they have.
• User Research
The ability to communicate with users and receive honest feedback from them, regarding both the problem you are solving and on the product you are creating.
• RoadMap and prioritization, technical specifications. Understanding not only “WHAT should be done?”, but “WHAT should be done FIRST?”, “What is most important?”
The ability to formulate the answers to these questions and the ability to convey them to the marketing team, development team, business development manager, etc.
A product manager must be able to make money and live up to the expectations of the company where he or she works.
• It is important to maintain a balance between the product that you are making for the benefit of the users and the money that the product must earn for the company.
• Understanding what brings the company earnings and what it spends money on.
• Understanding the funnel of attracting users and the cost of each marketing/sales stage.
• Monetization methods, price formulation.
Yes, there may be a separate team member with the “monetization manager” role in your company, but to be detached from the money is to be detached from the company and subsequently to have fewer opportunities for growth.
To make it all work.
• What to do to make your team work?
• What to do to make the team complete their tasks practically without your participation?
• What to do to make the team analyze the market?
• What to do to make the team create products with sufficient speed?
• The team consists not only of developers, but also includes: testers, designers, marketers, content specialists − a PM must be able to build processes for each of these teams.
Just remember: the product manager is always the “go-to”!
Your growth depends on how much responsibility you take on.
Maximizing success and growth in the profession depends on the ability to take full responsibility for the product. At the same time, the role of a product manager is somewhat ambiguous and may depend on a particular company.
It is important to understand what role in the company and what results are expected of you as a product manager.To achieve this, it’s important to:
1. Ask what is expected of you.
2. Try to proactively take responsibility for solving any problems you may come across and consider the management’s response.
3. Study other roles in the company and understand what can be done to help them − the product manager can help develop not only the product, but the company as a whole.
4. Understand the existing colleagues (other product managers) that work in the company: what they are responsible for, what they are valued for.
Let’s take a look at the ratio of the involvement of the product manager in business, strategy (vision), coordination (team, operations):
Ask yourself these questions:
How are you using your time?
What is the ratio of strategy to execution?
It is important to not get bogged down in project management.
It is also important to know when to delegate tasks to your team lead, the marketing department.
If necessary, develop someone from your own team for this.
We wish you success with your products, colleagues!