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The credibility of any product-based company lies preliminarily on the item that it comes up with. With innovation being a significant player, companies are now feeling the pressure to come with products even before the customers realize the need for it.
With transactional sales models making differentiation more complex, the demand for capable product managers increases with every passing day.
The highly dynamic current SaaS model has brought a sea of transformation in product-based organizations. While most such changes have been in the positive light, things like self-service sales models have switched cost trends and increased the dependency on a product manager’s decisions.
In such a situation, it is essential to hire a product manager who is technically capable and highly efficient in decision making.
Fostering Inter-Departmental Collaborations
The central goal of any product-based company is to come up with an item that exceeds customer expectations and helps them meet their business expectations.
However, such a product will require the collaboration of different teams (such as R&D, engineering, sales, support, etc.). A project manager is responsible for ensuring that every department adheres to their deadlines, and the work is carried out seamlessly.
This makes people-skills an essential quality of a good Project Manager. Look for someone who has excellent communication skills and is passionate about his or her job. Hiring someone with past leadership experience is key to building a capable product management team.
Core Competencies of an Efficient Product Manager
Having understood the essential role that a product manager is expected to play in an organization, the next major step would be to ensure that the person you hire for the post has the core competencies required for the job.
Try to frame your product manager interview questions in a way that will allow you to gauge if the candidate can design sprints, perform market assessments, and has any prior experience in pricing and revenue modeling.
Try to diversify the interview questions to identify how a candidate defines and tracks success metrics. This will, in turn, help you understand their efficiency at work.
The daily work of a product manager will involve performing under a significant amount of stress. Try to mimic the conditions in the interview environment to see how well a candidate adapts to the same.
Emotional Intelligence in Product Managers
While engaging in customer interviews, there are some basic dos and don’ts. These are taught in all primary business schools, and most product managers are well versed in it.
What sets an efficient product manager apart from the crowd is their high emotional quotient (EQ). This cannot be taught in any school or business lesson and comes with maturity.
With strong EQ, a product manager will be able to play with their body language and portray it in a manner that caters to the emotions of the opposite party in a customer interview. This will enable the product manager to build stronger relationships with clients and, in turn, usher in higher revenue for their organization.
Impact of Self-Awareness of a Product Manager
While self-awareness is vital in any profession, this is an especially important quality for a product manager. As a product manager, one would engage in meeting with potential product-users. At such times, it is essential to remain self-aware and talk from a neutral perspective.
An efficient product manager takes special care to ensure that he or she does not prioritize a feature because they believe it addresses only their pain points. The importance of self-awareness in product managers extends beyond that of building good customer relations.
It also comes in handy for boosting the confidence of their design engineers. When such engineers realize that users adopt a feature, based solely on its utility and there isn’t any partiality in the process, they feel motivated to give their best shot in coming up with innovative product features.
Diversified Social Expectations from Product Managers
The competitive environment in corporate workplaces often leads us to believe that it is all about Scrum Master vs Product Owner winning the show. However, the expectations of an efficient product manager is a lot more diverse.
Not only are they expected to understand the customer’s emotions, but they also must get a clear picture of the engineering, support, and sales teams.
From preparing a thorough budget to ensuring that the best resources make it to the different teams, a product manager needs to address every single job that needs doing to have a market-ready product.
The success of a product is influenced by the caliber of its product manager and his or her social capital. Hence, no matter what the product in question is, make sure that the person you hire is competent to don multiple hats at a time.
The Difference a Technically Sound Product Manager Makes to an Organization
Although the primary job role of a product manager is to act as a point of contact between the various teams and the customer, it is to be noted that one needs to be technically sound in the multiple aspects of a product to be able to talk about it credibly.
The technical expectations from a product manager will vary depending on the product in question and its expected users. Remember, a non-technical product manager will not command the respect of the engineering or R&D teams, which will result in unnecessary conflicts within the organization.
That is why, when you are looking to hire an efficient product manager, go or someone with industry experience in the field. A product manager plays a crucial role in determining the success of a product.
With the above checks, you should tell whether a product manager has the personality traits and skillset to make a mark in the industry. However, it is all about finding the perfect fit for your organization.
A look at the job descriptions (JD) for the role of a product manager at different organizations will reveal that there is no market-standard JD. The type of product, the stage it is in, the company, and industry all have a role to play in the expectations they have from a product manager.
As you go about in your search for a product manager who will drive your dream product to commercial success, make sure to do proper research.