Are you sure this not the description of a CEO’s job?
And that is true. A product manager is like a CEO but for the product. And it is a damn hard job. I know it myself how much sweat and tears it can bring. Like a CEO, the product manager must understand all aspect of the business.
The PM must ensure a business outcome, not just ensure a product gets defined. That’s why it requires knowing all aspects of a business: financial, marketing, legal, sales, service, design, technical, user experience. You must have a broad understanding of how a product can affect a business and work with people from your team and across. That’s what it takes to become a great product manager.
Doing it from 9–5 won’t bring you any significant results. It is a full-time dedication to the subject matter. The product manager must be one of the most influential talents in the company.
Where is empathy and communication in all of this?
I have touched on this topic a little bit in the beginning but did not include it in the list because I consider this as something that should come by default. You should remember that having peoples skills is something crucial with all the technology that is happening.
Communication and empathy skills will define the success of a PM that in no way it will come without the help of their teams. This way it is essential to establish strong work relationships with your key stakeholders and business partners. You have to convince them of two things:
- You understand their constraints
- You will bring them solutions that will work within those constraints
Winning solutions not always come from having the skills above or you get it from your sales or customer support department. Instead, great products need an intense collaboration between design and engineering to solve real problems for your users, in ways that meet your business needs.
Work very hard to build and nurture the strong collaborative relationship with your product team. Because, as your family, they will be your support along the journey.
Your next steps…
As mentioned, you will need to have a deep understanding of these industries: engineering, design , business and marketing. It will allow you to see things from a broader perspective and become a better PM. Because to a person with a hammer all the problems look like a nail. So a degree or extended course on these industries will do the job. With Internet access, you can get these courses online at: Skillshare, Coursera, Udemy, Udacity, EDX and Khan Academy. Otherwise if you possess all the skills and knowledge in these domains, your a badass product manager.
If you would like to know more about the subject, I would highly recommend reading Inspired by Marty Cagan which offers a clear and best explanation, I ever read, on product management and how it works nowadays. He used as examples companies such as Google, Tesla, Adobe and Amazon.