This week in Product Management w/c March 27

You’re reading the best articles of this week in product management – March 27 edition.


Product Organization
A Certain Ratio by Ken Norton
How many PMs does your company need, and how many engineers should be in each team? Ken Norton develops the answer “it depends” into more tangible rules of thumb to follow.

Product Design
Design principles: what to do when nobody is using your feature by Brendan Fagan
When a product launch is met by the sound of crickets – what do you do? Fagan describes in this article a process to increase your chances of producing a feature that people actually use.

Interviewing for Product Management
Read the email a Google recruiter sent a job candidate to prepare him for the interview by Sujay Maheshwari
Want to become a PM at Google? A friend of Maheshwari received an email from his recruiter at Google, telling him what to expect in a phone interview with a senior PM at Google.

Product Development
8 Signs You Need A Product Development Framework by Jared Ranere
Implementing processes and frameworks for the sake of it is never good, so how do you know you need one? Ranere lists 8 signs that your company or product organization is in need of one.


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What are the most essential skills for a product manager?

This is a list of some of the soft skills you need in order to succeed as a product manager. You can read more on each topic by clicking the link below each heading.

Leadership

Product managers are usually leaders in their organizations, as they are responsible for leading the team towards the goal of creating successful products. Despite this responsibility, the people on their team rarely report to them, meaning that the product manager needs to lead through their leadership abilities as they have no authority. They can do this through setting an inspiring vision and strategy for the team and clearly communicating it. Good leadership also requires interpersonal skills, like transparency and authenticity.

You find all the resources for improving your leadership skills here.

Decision-making

Product managers have to make many decisions every day about everything between backlog prioritization, product design and bug triaging. A product manager who get things done, is a product manager who prioritize ruthlessly and make effective decisions. What and how decisions are made can result in either a well functioning team, or the complete opposite.

You can read more about how to make effective decisions here.

Communication

As a product manager needs to educate the team and stakeholders on his or her product and evangelize it, communicate decisions, data and results, interpret and forward information from as well engineers as designers and more, excellent communication skills is essential. You need to know how to be clear, concise and direct, in both written and verbal communication.

You can learn more about communication here.

Influencing

The product manager role requires leadership without authority. This means that you will have to lead through influence – to get others to adopt your priorities and help you succeed. Through building strong relationships, you will have to earn respect and persuade with data, logic, enthusiasm and credibility.

Learn how to gain influence here.

Collaboration

In order to be successful, a product manager has to collaborate with both members on the team and across other departments. It can be a challenge as the people you will need to bring together are of diverse backgrounds, skill-sets and professions. In order to push your product forward, you will not only work with a development team, but you also need to collaborate well with stakeholders, other product managers and the leadership team by listening and channeling their point of view.

You can read more about collaboration here. You can also find more information on how to manage stakeholders here.

Strategic Thinking

The set of skills that the product managers need to bring to the team is strategic thinking, to complement the skills of engineers, designers, marketers and others. Strategic thinking is all about understanding the current market, how it is developing and competition – it is about asking the right questions in order to define the right problems to solve and a roadmap.

You can read more about product strategy here, and also read about how to create a roadmap here.

Analytical Skills

If a product manager needs to make and communicate decisions – what should drive these decisions? The answer is data. A good product manager doesn’t make decisions based on gut or instinct, but instead makes informed decisions by seeking out the right data and analyzing it. They are armed with insights and knowledge of the right methods for finding the answers.

You can read more about product analytics here.


Is this it?

This is just a few of the skills that the role as a product manager demands. A friend working as a product manager once told me, “Working with product is mostly about applying the right processes at the right time“. You can learn more about product development, and the processes it entails, here.

This week in Product Management w/c March 13

You’re reading the best articles of this week in product management – March 13 edition.


Prioritization
Ruthless prioritization by Brandon Chu
Prioritization is one of the most difficult parts of the job as a product manager, while also being essential for success. Brand Chu has in his post laid out a framework for ruthless prioritization, both between and within projects.

Product analytics
Feedback Loops and “Done” by John Cutler
John Cutler has through previous posts discovered that product organizations tend to optimize for delivery rather than validation. In this article, he provides a framework for shifting the focus towards validated learnings.

Communication
Talking Tech with Non-Tech People by Sabrina Gordon
Explaining complex software to customers who may not have a technical background has its challenges, where both parties can be victims of misinterpretation. Sabrina Gordin lists 4 things to keep in mind when explaining tech to non-tech people.

Collaboration
A Designer’s Perspective on Working with Product Managers by David Pasztor
David Pasztor, a designer, describes the work with product managers from a designer’s point of view – how to keep designers motivated, what to expect from them and also what they expect in return from a product manager.


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This Week in Product Management: w/c March 6

You’re reading the best articles of this week in product management – March 6 edition.


Becoming a product manager
New Product Managers — Do This in the First 30 Days
by Melissa Hopkins
A topic that recently came up on roadmap.com, an online community for product management professionals was “What things should a product manager do in the first 30 days on the job?”. Melissa Hopkins lists the 7 things that the Aha! Customer Success team concluded as the most important actions that product managers should take within the first 30 days.

Product Development
How To Successfully Marry Design Sprints and Product Development by Jay Melone
How to move from a finished design sprint into product development is not always easy. Jay Melone presents 4 steps to move from 5-day design sprints to execution.

Product Development
5 Habits to Building Better Products Faster by Hiten Shah
This free and downloadable book shows you what five product habits that you need to find the critical problems that customers have and solve them better than anyone else.

Product Lifecycle Management
Why you should kill your cash cow by Abhishek Madhavan
Despite the depressingly cyclical nature of products being common knowledge and in plain sight, it’s shocking how many companies refuse to see it and leave themselves ripe for disruption. This article gives insight on how to deal with the innovator’s dilemma and not make the jump from a cash cow to another before it’s too late.

Design
Pretend the interface is magic
by Taras Bakusevych
If your user has goals and the product has magic powers to meet them, how simple could the interaction be? This kind of thinking is useful in helping designers think outside the box. This article is a guide on how to identify user goals and reduce the friction for the user when trying to achieving.


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