I am sometimes asked how you can create great digital products. When you ask a product manager you will usually hear things like:
- Know agile methodologies
- Be able to analyze data
- Be user centric
- Know important product frameworks
- Understand design
This is all correct, but if you sum it all up, it does not make up great products.
When I evaluate product managers I look for this 3 core skills:
1. Be able to develop a vision and a plan for a delightful product
- In order to develop a vision and a product strategy the PMs need to be able to acquire user, strategic and data insight.
- They need to be able to imagine a vision of a product that builds on top of that insight.
- In order to build the vision they need to have knowledge about how to develop an effective product strategy, which essentially is a plan on how to get to this vision.
2. Be able to communicate the plan
- Once the PM has a vision and a strategy they need to communicate it to other people in the company, because they can not execute the vision on their own.
- They need to have the buy-in from contributors, stakeholders and the team mates.
- This is where the PMs need excellent soft skills, a great portion of empathy and outstanding communication skills.
3. Be able to rally the troops to execute their plan
- Once they have won everyone over they need to organise the people so the product strategy can be executed in the fastest and most efficient way.
- That’s when knowledge of agile frameworks and other tools is very important.
- That’s also where the PM needs the soft skills.
Simply put: You need to know why and how to create a successful product.