Sunday, May 29, 2011

Attributes of a Product Manager...


My fellow blogger wrote about "Should Architects aspire to be Product Managers?" in which he recounts talents like being able to interact with customers, understanding the revenue model, being able to understand and articulate how the technology maps/ aligns with the business strategy, being able to work with a cross-functional teams and so on (8 attributes in total).   Strikingly, softer skills of "passion" and "focus" were called out on at least a couple of occasions, two key characteristics , in my opinion shared with the consummate  architect!!

Not only do I completely agree with the list my colleague outlines but from experience I can also testify these as key qualities of an good Product Manager.  In addition, I have found the following two attribute in a couple of "great" Product Managers with whom I have had the pleasure of interaction.  I wish to highlight these qualities as well.  

Hence, at nine and ten I propose these abilities.   Please read "Should architects aspire to be Product Managers?" for the other eight!!

- #9 - Ability to differentiate between what is core to the product offering and what is not - guarding against diluting the sweet spot of the product.

- #10 - Good understanding of competition and what differentiates this product from competition and if the product is at risk of loosing ground against competition.

Often times, I find Sales Account Managers touting their product as the end all be all elixir that addresses my every need.  By contrast, a Product Manager has to be pragmatic about presenting their product's capabilities and pain points that it was designed to address.

Thanks for listening.  Please let us know if you agree!!
Surekha -

1 comment:

  1. I think that archtiects should aspire to be even greater architects. Trying to aspire to be product managers, is similar to your point #9, would dilute the architect's sweetspot. The architects and technologists need to have guidance from product managers and vice versa. Listening to much to consumers and observering the competition, considering ROI and sales plans - things that PMs must do, would hinder the creative and innovative juices required to bring amazing new products to market.

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