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How to be a great product manager

Posted on 10/14/2022, 10:51:25 AM

We asked leading product managers from top companies like Google and Amazon: What makes a great product manager? Here's what they had to say. Being a product manager is an exciting opportunity, but it's not for the faint of heart. A successful product manager has high EQ, can ship products regularly, and works well with engineering and design. They can build popular products with users and bring in substantial revenue for the organization. 

Here are some core competencies that product managers have.

  • Can conduct customer interviews and user testing
  • Running design sprints
  • Feature prioritization and road map planning
  • Art of resource allocation
  • Performing market assessments
  • Translating business to technical requirements
  • Pricing and revenue modeling
  • Defining and tracking success metrics

Product managers need to have strong emotional intelligence. Unfortunately, high EQ is not taught in schools. It is something that is learned independently. Product managers must be able to empathize with customers. When conducting user testing, for example, they must understand body language and emotions to understand how customers feel about the product. Product managers must have strong relationships within the organization and an ability to navigate internal and external hurdles to create a great product.

Because they will be dealing with different stakeholders with different opinions and concerns, product managers should have excellent relationship management skills. They should be able to inspire people to reach their potential. They should be able to negotiate, resolve conflicts, and work with others toward a shared goal. They should be able to convince users to perform specific actions to help improve the product, such as testing the product and providing feedback. Within the organization, they should be able to obtain additional funding for development and convince engineers to fix bugs.

Product managers should have a strong sense of self-awareness. They should be aware of their emotions. When making decisions, they should be able to put aside these emotions and focus on quantitative and qualitative data. Staying objective will help build a great product that users will love. Product managers should not build products based on the product manager's pain points but rather because quantitative and qualitative data support them. 

Product managers should have a strong sense of self-management. Many stakeholders, such as engineering and design, are involved in shipping a great product. They should be able to manage their emotions and keep cool under the pressure that they will face. Product management is not an easy job. Being able to handle stress is an important skill. One way to manage stress is self-help, such as not working long hours, getting a massage, meditating, exercising, etc. Product managers should understand what the right priorities are and should be able to emphasize them with urgency. They will have tight deadlines and should be able to meet those deadlines. They should also be able to take a breath and step away from the product when needed. Having a proper work-life balance is key to success.

Product managers should have a strong sense of social awareness. They should understand the customers' concerns and emotions about the product and the different stakeholders, such as engineering and design. They should have a strong understanding of how the organization operates. They should be able to build social capital to influence the product. They should be able to obtain the budget and staffing to secure engineers to work on the product. 

Companies differ in what they are looking for in product management. Having basic technical skills is integral to being a successful product manager. For example, technical skill is helpful for product managers. In fact, at Google, product manager candidates must take a technical skills test to obtain the job. If you want to be a product manager, we recommend taking courses on computer science, such as the intro to computer science at Harvard University called CS50. 

Being a product manager is an exciting and rewarding job. If you are striving to be a great product manager, book a call with one of our leading product manager mentors. Our experts work for top companies and startups such as Google and Amazon. They can help you transition to product management or help you take your career to the next level. Mentorship is a great way to grow as a product manager. Mentors have already succeeded and can allow you to skip trial and error. 

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