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The hard side of a product manager

Responsibilities of a product manager

A product manager is responsible for the overall outline of a product vision and creating an actionable strategy for how to bring a product to market by validating and implementing various solutions. They are involved with identifying customer pain points or challenges that the business seeks to solve.

Typical responsibilities of a product manager would include:

  • consumer and market research
  • liaising with marketing, sales, and engineering teams
  • managing the product life cycle.

In summary, we could say a product manager deals with strategy, execution, and consumer understanding. [1]

Hard skills of a good product manager

Product managers use their expertise to make balanced decisions, work with cross-functional teams, and align the diverse functions of teams. As a product manager, you need to have a range of skills to be successful in your role. The most common hard skills that you should harness are:

  • Research and analysis: Product managers require the ability to lead process-driven research and data analysis to inform short and long-term decision-making. Increasingly, product managers are becoming data experts.
  • Business competency: Product managers require an understanding of business fundamentals to ensure they are making balanced decisions around ongoing product investment and support.
  • Objective prioritisation: Product managers will inevitably face competing priorities (e.g. financial investment or resource allocation). As such, it’s critical that product managers can make fast, accurate, and clear decisions around what should take priority in a given period.
  • Familiarity with economics: Economics is focused on the production, distribution, and consumption of value and the dynamics at play within such a context. A product manager who understands economics is better able to manage scarce resources and competing priorities.
  • Technical development: It is useful for a product manager to have technical work experience. For example, when managing products designed for technical users like engineers, a product manager with a technical background will have a deeper understanding of those users’ requirements.

References

  1. The Agile Manifesto [Internet]; [date unknown]. Available from: https://agilemanifesto.org/
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Product Management Essentials

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