One question that continuously surrounds the minds of aspiring product managers is– what exactly does a company look for in a New Product Manager? While preparing for product management interview questions, one needs to understand the role and responsibilities associated with product management and Product organizational structure. But are there any clearly defined roles? Or does it get blurred amid the multi-skill environment? That’s a debate.
Nevertheless, Palarino will talk about crucial skills that every company wants its product managers to possess. Here we go!
Is The Product Manager a De-Facto CEO?
That’s quite a statement rather than a question. While talking about the PM’s role, most people consider him equivalent to a CEO. But that is a false equivalence.
Product managers have zero to minimal control and authority over the critical resources required to make a product, such as– design, marketing, sales, and support. Though they work at the interface of cross-functional teams, still they’re not the CEO. The role of a PM primarily depends on several factors.
What Exactly Is Considered a Product Manager’s Role?
The role of a PM can be evaluated based on three factors– Core Competencies, Emotional Intelligence and Company Fit. The best PMs know how to juggle different roles and create a balance between engineering and design teams to create a product with substantial user adoption value, high revenue growth prospects, and exceptionally strong in the highly dynamic marketplace.
Most of these can be acquired in the classroom, but to be the best, a product manager needs the experience to try out those theoretical skills. And the guidance and inspiration of mentors and role models are worth every lesson a PM will learn throughout the journey. Here are a few examples of these competencies:
- Performing market assessments
- Translating business-to-technical requirements, and vice versa
- Conducting customer interviews and user testing
- Prioritization and road map planning
- Revenue modelling
- Defining and tracking success metrics
- The art of resource allocation
These competencies form the baseline of a PM’s role, and the best PMs know how crucial it is to excel in these. The continuous journey of defining, shipping and iterating helps PMs hone their core competencies. It further helps them deliver a successful product by learning through failures, analyzing user feedback and being flexible while adopting any approach.
Gone are the days when only high IQ was only required; today, EQ is what makes a person competent enough to understand, express and analyze the emotions of self and others. The value of emotional intelligence in product management can be best understood by analyzing consumers. The best PMs know how to analyze customer feedback, their pain points and how the product features will address consumer requirements. Along with customer analysis, PMs with high EQ can form better relationships within the organization and their teams. Here are 4 key EQ traits every Product manager must possess–
- Relationship Management
- Social awareness
If an aspiring PM has high EQ and is good at core competencies, does that mean they are destined to be successful? Probably Not!
Working at the right company will ensure optimum utilization of core skills and EQ traits. Once you are aware of your competencies and have great EQ, it’s about time you start looking for the hiring patterns that companies employ. It will help you understand what they expect from you and if it suits your needs. To understand better, we’ve categorized vital areas where differentiation based on companies can be made.
- Technical Skills
A few essentials determine the technical expectations of a company from its PMs. For instance, product type, target market and the type of company will determine if the PM’s role is to work with technical teams or they can pass this metric. Take the case of google. If you apply for a PM’s job at Google, you may need to pass a minimum technical skill set, no matter which product type you will work on later. Similarly, the case will differ from other companies.
- Company’s Philosophy
A company’s philosophy determines where a Product Manager will fit into a product development process. For example, if a company’s philosophy is– PM drives engineering, then a PM would need to understand user requirements and supply the data to the engineering team who can work on it.
- Stage of Company
It decides what responsibilities you will have to take. The case at Google is different from the case at a startup. At startups, you need to be the ‘do it all person, whereas, at companies like Google, your role is clearly defined.
There can be many factors that decide what role a PM will play in a company, except for the roles mentioned above and factors such as the company’s culture, major clients, product type and other things. You can also find many articles on product management recruiting agencies‘ websites about Product Management and what the hiring companies look into a PM.