Key attributes of a successful Product Manager


One of the most common questions in interviews for Product Managers is the question on key attributes of a successful product manager. It may also be asked in a different way as “what makes a product manager successful?”

Whilst success for product managers is contextual based on the Key Result Areas defined by the organization, some of the attributes common to all types of product managers are the following:

    1. Market Knowledge
    2. Communication and Influencing skills
    3. Product Knowledge

Now, let us look at each one of them:

1. Market Knowledge: There has been a wide acceptance of the authority of product managers — that they do not have any authority over others in the organization. Whilst this may be true from a people-management perspective, product managers could gain authority on product development and projects just by being an expert of the market. Being an expert in market matters such as target market characteristics, market trends, purchasing power of customers, competition, technological landscape, et al. Try it yourself — it works.

2. Communication and Influencing skills: This skill is probably equally important to product managers as that of the first one. Being a market expert with poor or no communication (both verbal and written) and persuasive skills is a disastrous situation for a product manager to be in – it doesn’t put the market knowledge into fruition.

3. Product Knowledge: Finally, knowing one’s own product is very essential. This will give confidence to the product manager while evaluating his product’s gaps and limitations with respect to market needs. This is also essential go gain respect within the organization. It is an awkward situation when a product manager puts together a requirement for a new capability, and later discovers it is already available in the product.

Your thoughts are most welcome.

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About Mohamed Aneez
Passionate about Product Management

6 Responses to Key attributes of a successful Product Manager

  1. almgren4711 says:

    I dont know why but I come to think about the title of your blog. I think that passion is very important to be a successful product manager. I know that if I was not passionate about Talent Management I would certainly do a job that was not as good as I like to think I do now. So not only know your market and your product. Be passionate about it as that most often has the side effect that you think outside the box to make new inovative stuff that maes your special field more efficcient or just more fun to work in. Either way, your customers will love that you truly understand them and see what they mean. Your developers will pick up on that you are passionate about it and do their best to truly deliver to your vision.

  2. Sheela Romeu says:

    You hit the 3 most vital functions for a product manager to have success and additionally I believe non takes priorrity over the other. Knowing your target market and segmentation is equally important as to having full knowledge of the product and these are equally important to how good are your communication and influential skills; hence non should lack these great principals.

    But Yes almgren4711……Being passionate is a great emotion to carry your vision to success but its not key.

    Very good blog Mohamed.
    Cheers!

  3. Andy Pennington says:

    The best PMs have an outstanding causal model of their organisation, its environment and the array of measures & controls at their disposal. To an outsider it would seem that the Product Manager instinctively knows that A + C results in B + D, N would be impossible because of P and yet M is surprisingly simple because of T.
    This means that the Product Manager takes ownership of every organisational sub-system (financial, IT, R&D, sales & marketing, training & development, etc.) from the perspective of their product and must be able to master the ‘trade’ of each sub-system.

  4. Pingback: 5 more attributes of a product manager - iTelescope

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