As a current or aspiring product manager, what will it take to truly succeed in your job? (You need more than just solid management skills, although that’s certainly a good place to start). There’s no single secret to success in the product management world, but there are different strategies you can use to help you improve. Try some of the product manager tips below and then commit to teaching, understanding, listening, and working to become the best product manager you can.
Get to Know Every Department
Keep in mind that learning your business truly means getting your hands dirty in all aspects. To understand a company, you should know what every department or every team member does. If you are going to be the one training others or conducting meetings relating to product management, you must have a general working knowledge of your company’s structure, the business as a whole, and how your product impacts each role.
Be Familiar with Buying Patterns
To be an effective product manager, you also have to understand your customer base. It isn’t just about using helpful software to know what you have on hand; it’s about applying your knowledge to try to predict the market a bit. You should get familiar with buyers’ patterns and habits and be able to prepare for this in advance, instead of trying to play catch up while the competition moves ahead of you. Get to know your company’s marketing and sales teams (as well as the insights team, if your company has one), as they’ll be able to help you learn about buying patterns.
Be Realistic About Focus
As important as your product is, it may not be as important to staff members performing other duties. And your customers may not spend quite as much time thinking about your product as you do. That doesn’t mean you should give up on building enthusiasm for the product, though. Keep yourself motivated about the product so you can increase the interest of your staff and customers, but don’t ever expect them to be nearly as excited about it as you are (T-shirts can always help, though).
Be Patient With Training
When training others on your product, it’s important to remember that they can only retain so much information at one time. This doesn’t just mean you should take the training slow to make sure others understand what you are trying to teach, but that you should put some things aside for later. Giving out too much information at once can lead to confusion and also cause some valuable details to be lost in the process. Focus your training in smaller intervals and help others truly learn from you, not just memorize a few details.
Use the Tools Available to You
It is important to stay abreast of new technology, product launch software, or apps that can help make your job easier or more efficient. If you don’t know what’s out there and aren’t putting it to use, the competition will. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the system you have works and there is no need to improve it.
You should always be aware of what tools are available, even though you may not use all of them. Keep up with industry publications and software reviews, and network with other product managers to find out what works well for them. Stay up to date so you know what your competitors may very well be using.
Consider these product manager tips a part of the training you should take into consideration, but add on based on your own experience from there. Use these tips as a starting point to help you advance from being a good product manager to a great one!