There are several responsibilities that a product manager should possess within an agile team. In this article, we will take a closer look at five of the most important skills that make a great product manager.
1. Understanding Customers Needs
A successful product manager knows how to increase engagement and revenue and both of these goals are achievable when you listen to your customers. You can do this by keeping four crucial elements in mind.
First, you have to remember that every customer’s voice matters. Without customers, your business fails and to attract customers you must show that you care about them and provide the service they expect. Deal with difficult customers, they provide a voice that simply cannot be ignored.
Second, the feedback you seek from customers has to be viewed as being from people, not users. Build strong personal relationships with your customers. As a result they are more willing to give you honest feedback.
By ignoring the importance of connecting on a personal level, customers tend to feel their data is just that – stats fed into a machine. Third, you must make it easy for customers to share their feedback with you. This means providing them with tools and methods that encourage them to speak and share their thoughts. And, finally, you must show your customers that they were heard. If feedback points towards changes in a product and those changes do not happen, it will harm future attempts to seek customer feedback.
2. Another Essential Product Manager Skill: Setting Product Strategy
This is where the product’s long-term vision is defined. As it will become a living document, it is wise to revisit it frequently to ensure your plans are still on track and if alterations are required, they can be implemented. With this in mind, there are a few steps required to get you to the place where a product strategy can be developed. They include reaching out and conducting market research to assist with defining the goals of the product.
For example, you can’t sell something if you have no idea what the needs and trends within the market are. This data will help to shape the product strategy. Essentially, you want to have a product vision that is easy to explain along with well-defined goals for the product. Those goals should reflect and support the vision. And remember, as this is a living document, your final product strategy will experience tweaks and updates as it ages to address changes in the market or trends.
3. Creating The Product Roadmap
Another important product manager skill is creating a product roadmap. The product roadmap is a visual that tracks the evolution of your product as time passes. In a way, it maps out the lifespan from creation to the retirement of any specific product. It features information on where the company is, where it wants to be, and how it can get there. The product roadmap is a chart. It looks much like a bar chart and shows the timing and duration of different tasks and plans all on a single document. Product roadmaps are also living documents that are subject to changes depending on various factors that can occur as part of the timeline. The product roadmap also is an effective tool in defining the priorities of features and functions that the product possesses.
4. Great Product Managers Prioritize Features
Stakeholders sometimes request to change or update the features of a product. One of the tasks of a good product manager is to gather together all of those requests and create some sort of order they should follow. Not all requests will be met as those products near the end of their lifespan may just be phased out and replaced with a new and improved version, which would be built factoring in the feature requests.
There are methods to assist with the definition of the order or priority and it includes the following:
– use themes to categorize features
– define the features based on feasibility, desirability, and viability
– use a scoring scale
– prioritize features filtering them through constraints
– finish with final thoughts on the prioritization
5. Measuring Product Success
Agile methodology measures the product success in customer engagement. Product managers must track the success of the releases by tracking customer interactions and constantly looking at, and obsessing over, user analytics.