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Essential skills for a product manager

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Understanding of product viability linked to business profitability 

A product manager’s primary responsibilities is to maximise a company’s value by way of marketable and profitable products. 

Failure of a product is a failure for the product manager. A successful product manager always needs to make sure the product is a fit for the target market and that sales are guaranteed.

Technical Knowledge

To manage a product successfully one has to know what exactly goes into it. 

To optimize the marketing and profitability of a product you have to know how it was made or developed, what the quality of the product is, how much it cost, and what its capabilities are.

You will be unable to define or oversee the creation of a product if you have absolutely no idea what goes into the construction of the product. 

As customers request features, you would have to know how to implement the changes or even if it is possible. 

Having technical knowledge allows you to have a firm understanding of the time and effort that it will take for the product to launch to market.  

If you have a good understanding of what it takes to construct a product you will be able to make critical decisions pertaining to labour, quality, budget constraints, and more. 

Being the head of the product development and product launch means that you need to be able to explain to anyone at any time: what your product is, as well as how it is created, repaired, maintained or supported.

Collecting and Analysing Data

The most valuable commodity in this day and age is data. Information received as feedback from your customers determines what is needed, what is wanted, and determines where the product needs to move to best meet your customer base’s needs. 

This product development skill will make sure you’re not wasting resources by making the right changes to your product to meet your customers’ needs and requirements informed by the actual information

Your customers have the power and they decide the success of your company. Fail to follow your customers and their desires and you’ll end up where your customers aren’t. 

Collect. Analyze. Produce. Succeed.

Ability to Prioritise

Prioritising allows you to identify the most important tasks at any moment and give those tasks more of your attention, energy, and time. It allows you to spend more time on the right things. It is a good way to ensure that deadlines are met and stress is minimised.

With all the feedback received from different customers on any one of the given products you might be offering, one needs to know what should be focused on and what should either temporarily or permanently be ignored, what should be put to use immediately, later, or on the next product iterations or version

Strategic Thinking

Everything comes together through strategic thinking, none of the other skills will end up doing anything without the right strategy.   

Product strategy is the foundation of the whole product lifecycle and focuses on 3 things: product vision, product goals, and product initiatives.

Product vision: includes defining the product market opportunity, target customers, product positioning, competitive analysis, and a go-to-market plan.

Product goals: measurable, time-based objectives that quantifiable success metrics associated with the goal. Example: increase revenue by 5%.

Product initiatives: themes that when implemented realise the product goals. These themes groups all the product features and activities. Example: Launch into South Africa, Expand to Nigeria as the second market.

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