Skills of a Product Manager

(4 minutes of reading time)

The market is constantly reinventing itself and looking for new ways to develop products. In this way, the Product Manager (PM) figure stands out, gaining the responsibility to drive these changes with a series of best practices in digital product management. 

The PM's role requires a range of knowledge related to the product, the user, the business and the technology. In addition, technical and behavioral skills need to walk together so that the Product Management professional can build bridges between all stakeholders. 

Without specific degree to be a PM, people from the most diverse areas of knowledge are interested in this new field and look for an overview of all the points that involve a journey of career transition to this area. 

These days it's imperative to discuss the skills required by a Product Manager (PM) so you can better prepare for career opportunities. As this product area is considered the "specialty of generalities", get ready to enter a world full of concepts and theories. 

In this text, our reference to characterize the skills of a PM is the diagram conceived by Alexandre Magno, founder of Emergee (recently incorporated by the Itaú group), with this we are able to address the qualifications of the Product Management area in a more modern way. 


With this chart it is important to note that the Execution and Business axes are connected by ROI (return on investment). That's because, for the plan to be delivered and generate the best return on investment for the business, it must be executed efficiently. 

Execution is also linked to the Product through the outputs. It is the output of the sprint. Since product people can't just focus on efficiency and sprint delivery. They also must worry about the entire process and, above all, its results. 

Finally, we see the connection between Product and Business, which takes place through the outcomes. This means that the company's interests need to meet the needs of a certain audience. This indicator shows whether the result for the company is generated based on user sacrifice or if there is purpose behind what is done. 

Being a PM eventually implies leading people and managing high-performance teams. As much as leadership may seem like an inherent ability to some people, it is important that there is technical development in this area so that management can happen in a fluid way. 

A common mistake is to think that Product Managers are people who have high technical knowledge and that's it. That's part of the job, but it's not the only important feature. After all, the role is not to develop a product, but to direct its creation and manage it in front of the market. If we can define three pillars of knowledge for PM, they are: technical; UX; Business. 

Therefore, the main characteristics in the business area that the PM must have are: knowledge of finance, pricing and definition of margins, logical thinking, knowledge of the value chain, stakeholder management, M&A, operations, sales and marketing, balanced scorecard, etc.

And the techniques and skills of the Product dimension are: Product Discovery, Lean Startup, Design Thinking, UX Design, Product Vision, Roadmap and Story mapping, Backlog Organization and Prioritization, Requirements Detailing, Go to Market, Product Metrics and Analytics and Stakeholder Management. 

The performance of a PM involves different fields of knowledge and multiple functions. The exact definition of what a Product Manager does is still somewhat open, precisely because responsibilities can vary depending on the context of each project and company. Therefore, one of the main characteristics that a PM can have is curiosity, because, with the pro-activity to learn, any knowledge gaps can be filled quickly to meet the demands that arise during the performance. 

With all this information, it is important to point out that there is no single way to make products or a single ideal PM profile. Each person has less or more skills. In addition to individual characteristics, another factor that influences this aspect is the company you are working for, as they have different moments, with different teams, and may require skills according to their context. 

What the market expects from a Product professional is that he or she has a good technical and conceptual background in the area, that is, PM courses, agile certification and UX are fundamental to level the knowledge in the area. 

In addition, you must build a continuous and logical career with deliverables and achieved results for the company you work for. And lastly, have legitimate networking, as this is essential for Product people. Instead of only maintaining contacts limited to technical expertise, expand your networking further. This, of course, can be a springboard for selective processes.

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