How do I become a product manager?

The product manager is responsible for ensuring the success of a product or feature.

Successful product managers have certain core competencies which would make them successful at their jobs.

Some of these core competencies can be learnt with training while others are gained through experience, good role models, and mentoring. 

Some of these competencies are:

  1. Conducting customer interviews.
  2. Facilitating elicitation workshops. 
  3. Organizing and supporting user testing.
  4. Coordinating design sprints.
  5. Feature prioritization and road map planning.
  6. Resource allocation.
  7. Performing market assessments
  8. Functional and technical requirements document creation.
  9. Data modeling.

These are some of the core competencies that the product manager should have but there are other competencies that they might also have that are unique to various industries that they might be working in.

A product manager’s job includes collaborating and negotiating with people so it is vital that they have some soft skills that they need to effectively work with people.

These soft skills include listening, communicating, negotiation and leadership skills but they also include emotional intelligence which is key to being a successful product manager.

What is Emotional Intelligence ?

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognize, manage, and assess emotions.

Emotional intelligence would allow the product manager to empathize with customers, tune in to their body language and emotions, and accurately elicit the pain points that the product or feature will address.

It would also help the product manager to build strong relationships in the organization and navigate both the internal and external politics that might be necessary to create a great product. 

These and many other skills help make a product manager successful but product manager’s also need to hone these skills over years of defining, shipping, and iterating on products.