Product Teams

Product managers should hone these 12 skills

Published Mar 21, 2016

A college student asked me recently about product management “skills.” I thought for a bit and sent her this list. The key here is that these product manager skills can be learned and practiced. It isn’t magic. Other things must be learned the hard way.

I haven’t listed things like Agile, scrum, roadmaps, backlogs, user-story writing, etc. You can read a couple books and get the gist. Learning “Agile” in one organization might not help you in your next job. However, learning to communicate clearly or facilitate a meeting effectively will serve you for your whole career (in product management, or otherwise).

Product Managers: Learn. Practice. Repeat.

Product management is an ongoing cycle of learning, then adjusting, and repeating that cycle. The following list of skills isn’t exclusive to product managers and can translate into a variety of careers. And with that, a list of 12 core competencies for product managers:

    1. Conduct effective customer/user interviews
    2. Build revenue, pricing, and adoption models; micro/macroeconomics
    3. Experiment design and analysis; statistics
    4. Effective meeting design and facilitation
    5. Mapping and understanding complex competitive, partner, and customer ecosystems; complexity and systems thinking; domain research
    6. Basic data modeling, JSON, XML, working knowledge of relational and non-relational databases; SQL, REST APIs, processing data using Python, etc.
    7. Experience with various analytics tools and business intelligence tools: know what you’re looking for, and where to find it
    8. Broad understanding of usability, usability testing, and usability heuristics; the ability to communicate to the user experience team using a common language
    9. Awareness of cognitive biases and how they impact decision making
    10. Communication skills: listening, verbal, writing, and visual communication
    11. Effective note-taking
    12. Time-management

Are there any product management skills not listed here that you’ve found useful? We want to hear them! Tweet them to us @pendoio.

This post was originally published on Medium.