The Product Manager Role can be a difficult one to fill, as many qualified candidates do not have the skills needed. We spoke with Neil Barua, VP of Product Management at MasterCard, on what makes a successful product manager and how to create a successful product management team.
Product Manager Role Entails few qualities such as:
- The Product Manager should have sound technical knowledge.
- Understanding of all aspects of the business, not just technology or product management.
- Ability to work with peers across the company and bring people together to get things done, rather than work in isolation on a single project.
- Excellent written and oral communicator who can sell his/her ideas effectively.
- Strategic thinker who can also be tactical when necessary to reach short-term goals for current projects while keeping an eye on the future roadmap for longer horizon planning .
6 . Make decisions based on data, not instinct .
7 . Understands that good requirements are ” INVESTMENT MINIMUMS “. (Investment Minimums – The smallest set of functionality that has sufficient business value to be developed. In Scrum, the Investment Minimum is typically a working piece of software that end users can see or use even if it isn’t yet able to handle all edge cases . )
8 . Prioritizes feature development based on company and customer goals/vision/objectives .
9 . Drives decision making through data and metrics. I Am not afraid of data.
- Prioritizes work within sprints – focusing on high priority items – with little guidance from management – unless asked for help by Product Owner or others in the product team. **
11 . Collaborate effectively with other teams inside and outside the engineering function (sales, marketing , legal etc.)
Product Manager Role:
- Is the CEO of their product . They own and run things from end to end. This means they know how to prioritize features, what goes in a release, what needs testing and who is going to test it ( QA , automated, manual etc.) and coordinate all these areas with marketing and sales as well – usually by delegating tasks like writing the blog posts or emails that go out on launch day announcing new feature into smaller teams .
- Makes trade-offs based on business value – not just what they want personally .
- Knows how to set up signals to measure success – KPIs / metrics / customer feedback etc.
- Knows how to use data – understands quantitative and qualitative data, what questions to ask their data to get the answers they need for decision making.
- Knows what to do in a crisis – how to quickly triage a problem and communicate with all the right people in the company .
- Can set up systems that make it easy for other people in the organization, inside or outside of development , to give feedback/submit bugs/ask questions etc. This also includes understanding how to get customer feedback through different channels like social media, support forums, reviews etc., so they can act on it quickly – even if you don’t sell directly to consumers!
- Can influence others – ability to help guide decisions by explaining the impact of certain topics (like “how will this increase conversions?”)
- Can prioritize their own work and have a clear understanding of what is most important to do right now, next , and later . This includes being able to ask the right questions that get them to priority #1 item.
- Can generally follow processes for anything – from writing emails, setting up meetings etc., so they can prioritize their time in an optimal way while still succeeding at the things listed above.
- Is a great communicator within the company – ability to not only communicate with teams inside of an organization but also be a representative to customers as well as those outside of the company (like investors). This person is able to clearly communicate key points, including why certain decisions are made, answer tough questions from all types of people, and be the voice of reason at times.
- Is able to work remotely or on-site as required. We are a globally distributed company so sometimes they will need to manage others across multiple time zones, travel to meet customers when necessary, etc.
- Is excited about being an entrepreneur and working in a startup environment where being scrappy is part of the culture . They know how to get things done in this kind of environment – even when it means standing out from the crowd at times for what’s right – not just what’s popular because they have already been here before either through previous companies or internships/jobs because they’re accustomed to being outside the norm in some situations that may be needed.”
- Can be counted on to get things done and does not need someone pulling the leash all the time. They will make smart decisions; take initiative; and make sure that what needs to happen gets done, even if they’re not told exactly everything.
- Is a “big thinker” who can see how their work ties into other groups’ activities and the company’s overall objectives – but also understands that good ideas still require some “polish” before they are ready for prime time . They understand both ends of this spectrum and know when to be patient and persistent vs. when an idea is beyond rescue and it’s better just to let it go so everyone can move forward .