14 Key Product Manager Skills to Get the Job in 2024

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    Home / Product / 14 Key Product Manager Skills to Get the Job in 2024

    The consistent role of product managers is always critical when it comes to the rapid development of brand-new technological products. 

    And, naturally, with great power comes great responsibility. 

    With great power comes great responsibility

    These professionals are expected to manage numerous situations while performing many duties, including controlling teams of many developers and engineers and guiding everybody involved to develop a fully completed and capable product. 

    These responsibilities require some skills we call Hard Skills and Soft Skills, consisting of some crucial capabilities, including analytical skills, communicative skills, technical knowledge, product roadmap development, etc.

    In this article, I will discuss the top product management skills required to have a successful career as a PM and become efficient in their work definition, positions, and businesses. 

    Let's roll!

    Hard Skills

    1- Coding

    What is it, and what does it cover?

    Simply put, coding refers to the ability to use a specific programming language, a piece of hardware, and a platform to develop a digital product - it can be a website, a mobile application, or a program.

    The ability to code can mean many things. Personally, I think it's all about being able to write computer code to bring a solution to an ongoing problem.

    Depending on the problem, the solution you bring can be anything from a basic ''prototype'' or an Excel VBA macro to an extremely sophisticated application.

    So, what coding actually includes is the skill of problem-solving. Every piece of code you write serves a purpose and acts as a solution to a certain problem.

    Why does it matter?

    Being a professional coder is not a necessity for product management; however, being familiar with it can level up your technical skills and boost your understanding of other important matters greatly, and this is crucial since you will be working around qualified developers as a part of your position. You will have difficulty empathizing with them or understanding what's going on when they consult you about the problems of the product otherwise.

    How to get better at it?

    You can do numerous things to improve or start your coding journey from the bottom. You can choose to read - and if you do, please check this article of mine since it talks about some of the best books for coding- you can check out some podcasts or play games to learn how to code!

    2- Handling the numbers

    Statistics Timothee Chalamet GIF
    If you know, you know

    What is it, and what does it cover?

    Data analysis has reached a point where it includes everything from tracking sales, managing market research, and making predictions about customer behavior to coming up with relevant and informed decisions. 

    A product manager must know enough about statistics, coding, and other analytical, hard skills to manage all this data and achieve what we've discussed. 

    This crucial skill includes reading graphs and many other kinds of representations of data -also hard data visualizations- and using the power of numbers to manage the product's progress and skyrocket its success. 

    Why does it matter?

    Data analysis is crucial for optimizing overall team performance and identifying problematic areas that lead to waste. Once you identify them, thanks to data analysis, you can make the necessary changes to minimize your costs and grow your business.

    You can use data analytics to asses risks, find trends, predict results, speed up your decision-making processes, and guarantee customer satisfaction.

    How to get better at it?

    You can find many data analysis courses online that do a great job teaching learners from all levels interested in getting better at what they do.

    3- Technical expertise 

    What is it, and what does it cover? 

    Technical knowledge is often required by aspiring product managers since they will be working with virtual products like software and apps in case they get the job. 

    As a consequence, they must be able to work collaboratively with professional developers and engineers on their team to deal with performance bugs together and make sure the product is fully complete in terms of product design, functionality, and UX.

    Why does it matter?

    The technical knowledge required for product management has various content included in it. But the most common one generally circleS around the use of Microsoft Excel. Everyone has used it at some point in their lives; it's the father of spreadsheet programs with more than enough functions that speak to different needs.

    Successful product managers, specifically, use Excel for a lot of things, including predictions, analyses, creating charts, and so on. Therefore, in terms of product management, it's crucial for anybody involved to master data visualization and analysis through solid technical expertise. 

    4- A/B Testing

    What is it, and what does it cover?

    As a product manager, you need to test everything - literally- you put out there for your target audience to see. You need to conduct an in-detail examination of each of the elements of your product, and A/B testing allows you to do just that - through bounce rates, conversion funnels, email campaigns, content marketing, and more.

    It's the best way to eliminate uncertainty when making long-term design and marketing decisions for your product, website, or other digital campaigns. 

    Why does it matter?

    As you proceed, A/B product testing lets you correct and enhance your site content and develop more relevant marketing strategies through the data required for the job. Thanks to it, you can test conversion rates, and your product teams can use it to make the necessary changes in their user experiences accordingly. 

    How to get better at it?

    To get better at A/B testing, you can check out these courses online, in addition to some informative podcasts that talk about the subject in quite an engaging way. 

    5- Product Roadmap Development

    What is it, and what does it cover?

    A product roadmap is a visual summary that displays the overall vision and progress of your product and the direction of its success. It describes your product's vision, and strategy and provides a guiding document for executing the strategy. 

    With a product roadmap, you can understand what makes your product ''your product'' and study this strategic document that guides you to excellent product decisions.

    Why does it matter?

    Product roadmaps allow the brilliant product strategy to become a reality. They act as a source of motivation, inspiration, and collaborative ownership rights of the product and its accomplishments.

    They help businesses avoid wasting resources on trivial tasks, overcome possible issues, and understand where the product is heading and why certain decisions were made accordingly. They are great providers of shared, common knowledge and deep understanding of the specific vision, aims, and product ideas for everybody involved in the product development process.

    How to get better at it?

    To understand product roadmaps and master the art of product roadmap development, you can try some of the best courses offered by Udemy and Coursera. Or, check out this podcast by Mind The Product!

    6- Software Development

    What is it, and what does it cover?

    Software development, by definition, consists of certain computer science actions dealing with the process of developing, designing, and finalizing software.

    For product managers, software development includes numerous steps that provide excellent methods for building products that provide the user with their expectations and product requirements. 

    The aim of software development within the product management frame is all about building and improving high-quality software in terms of design, support, and maintenance while making sure this process isn't pushing the budget limits. 

    Why does it matter?

    Since software has become a key differentiator in many products we use today, its development has emerged as a crucial aspect of the growing and constantly evolving digital world. To cope with this pace, it's high time product managers learned more about software development and realized its importance and contribution to the field.

    How to get better at it?

    If you wish to improve your software development skills or simply start from the bottom, you can definitely check these courses by Coursera.

    Also, here are some further book recommendations, and podcasts!

    7- Basic Knowledge of Agile Methodology

    What is it, and what does it cover?

    For aspiring product managers willing to work for companies that develop SaaS products in particular, being familiar with Agile development practices acts as a key benefit that differentiates them from their fellow job-seekers. 

    Adopting Agile is a great way to adopt a new company culture alongside with new values; whether your team uses Scrum, Kanban, or any other Agile methodology, it simply means that new Agile values and work principles are progressively being approached.

    Why does it matter?

    To make sure the overall quality of your final product is excellent, Agile project management works as a testing mechanism for the project application stage that does the job seamlessly. In this process, the prospect remains involved and has a say in what to change or improve - naturally, this leads to even greater customer retention.

    By keeping the client in this repetitive process and making the necessary changes according to their valuable feedback, you will be delivering great value and making sure your end product turns out great.

    How to get better at it?

    Again, you don't have to become a professional Scrum expert, but it certainly helps to read and learn through Agile principles and values - here are some suggestions. 

    Soft Skills

    8- Strategic Thinking Skills

    What is it, and what does it cover?

    Strategic thinking, by definition, refers to a rational thought process that primarily focuses on understanding the crucial factors that impact the long-term faith of a certain business, person, teams, etc. 

    Product managers are required to think strategically throughout each and every stage of a product's creation and development. Beginning from understanding the market itself to deciding how, when, and where to launch the new product, product managers are required to practice strategic thinking since it significantly helps knowing the product lifecycle better.

    Why does it matter?

    Generally, strategic thinking skills include problem-solving skills, risk management, goal orientation, project management, forecasting sales, and more.

    To become more skilled at these, in addition to anticipating and capitalizing on opportunities, product managers need to incorporate everyday strategic thinking into their work routines. On a personal level, being able to think strategically will allow you to make a better and bigger contribution to your role in your organization and prove your worth as a result.

    How to get better at it?

    To become a more strategic thinker, you can do many things; you can educate yourself by giving a chance to effective reading, exposing yourself to various helpful content online,  or checking out some conferences. Good luck!

    9- Prioritization skills

    What is it, and what does it cover?

    Not all work tasks are of equal significance. This is why prioritization is an essential skill that you need to gain in order to make the best of your -and your team's- time, effort, and money.

    Product managers, in that sense, need to be able to implement prioritization to complete tasks, meet deadlines and achieve goals successfully. Great prioritization skills make sure that each team member is always working on what matters at the time and not wasting time dealing with trivial things that can easily be put on hold.

    Why does it matter?

    Prioritization skills help you divide your time into where it's most required, setting you and your team members free from other duties that can be solved later.

    By knowing how to prioritize your tasks, you can easily stack on track and work efficiently with optimal time and effort spent while coping with stress and anxiety seamlessly.  

    How to get better at it?

    When deciding which tasks require your urgent attention, you can try to make lists of all your duties and the necessities of completing each one of them. As you move on and complete an activity for a certain task, you should check it as completed. It sounds easy, but it works!

    This will help you focus on what needs to be accomplished to complete the task. You can also use your calendar to schedule reminders of these activities that need to be completed. 

    10- Time Management Skills

    What is it, and what does it cover?

    Time management skills consist of a variety of skills that will allow you to handle your time well. 3 of the most essential time management skills are as follows:

    1. Organization
    2. Goal-setting
    3. Planning

    First things first, you need to stay organized in order to maintain a clear idea of your responsibilities - what you need to complete and when. Being a well-organized product manager requires handling an up-to-date calendar, locating specific documents and files easily, and having a stress-free environment that's tidy enough to take detailed notes and create to-do lists.

    Secondly, setting goals is the next step to becoming efficient at time management. Having a well-organized goal-setting process might exactly be the thing you need to clearly understand your end goal and set your priorities straight to achieve it. 

    Another fundamental part of time management is the planning process. Being neat with how you plan your meetings and tasks will help you stick to your schedule, leading to long-term success and persistence. 

    Why does it matter?

    Time management skills are crucial because nobody has enough time to do everything that's required of them. A typical 21st-century problem. 

    Time management, however, provides a solution to this annoying situation - it helps you use your time productively and efficiently. You can think about it as a brilliant combination of prioritizing time and working productively since it helps people become better at working on what really needs time and discarding what doesn't. 

    How to get better at it?

    There are many online courses focusing on time management that you can check out, in addition to some essential books on the topic. 📚

    11- Delegation skills

    What is it, and what does it cover?

    Among all the management skills, delegation acts as the critical bond that combines all the key requirements of becoming a product manager. Delegation is a very useful assistant that lets you understand succession planning and gain experience to take on more responsibilities daily.

    It's a fact that product managers cannot thoroughly oversee a product development team without flawless delegation skills. This is because a product development team is created and made up of different team members, all of whom are responsible for different roles in the process. A product manager must be able to identify these team members' strengths and motives and delegate tasks based on them.

     Why does it matter?

    Delegation matters because when it's good, it saves you time, motivates your team, develops each member, and cultivates a successor.

    However, when it's bad, it will for sure demotivate and confuse your teams and creates a possibility of failure to achieve a certain task or purpose. 

    How to get better at it?

    Here are some online courses that focus on providing the learner with the knowledge they need to obtain better delegation skills. 

    12- Marketing skills

    What is it, and what does it cover?

    To give your all to your role as the product manager, you definitely need to invest in marketing skills. Marketing provides an opportunity for your product to be seen and your customers to be converted. As a result, marketing skills are a necessity for product managers as they generally must come up with numerous ways to make their products as appealing as possible to customers.

    Marketing skills include the ability to promote and deliver services and products in the most efficient way possible. Great marketing skills required by product managers generally include the ability to keep up with changing and evolving demands and develop relevant marketing strategies for big launches.

    Why does it matter? 

    It has always been important for your product to appeal to its audience. Marketing is just the tool to make it happen and keep making it happen. It's a way to keep the conversation going and keep your customers engaged and interested. 

    It's also a great communication channel that informs your customers about what you have to offer; thanks to it, your customers get to know more about the value of your products, how they can use them and get familiar with additional information that might be turn out to be useful. With marketing skills, you can achieve brand awareness and make your product stand out.

    How to get better at it?

    Here are 50 free online marketing classes you take starting today! Also, make sure you check out these gems; they're definitely worth reading.

    13- Interpersonal skills

    What is it, and what does it cover?

    Interpersonal skills are a certain type of social skill. They help you interact, communicate, and collaborate with others productively. Some familiar examples of interpersonal skills include emotional intelligence, empathy, and active listening.

    Product managers are naturally required to possess excellent interpersonal skills to be able to effectively communicate, impact, and lead the people they work with every day - after all, from clients and team members to bosses, product managers are constantly trying to get people on board with their product ideas and vision.

    Why does it matter?

    Product managers' good interpersonal skills include the ability to deliver good presentations, emotional intelligence, and skilled active listening, collaboration, and negotiating skills. When a product manager has these skills, it means that they are able to communicate and coordinate with external stakeholders throughout the development process of the product.

    Therefore, to make the product a big success, it is essential to have efficient interpersonal skills to make the best of team effort and collaboration. 

    How to get better at it?

    Here's a list of some of the best communication skills courses and certifications. 

    14- Leadership skills

    What is it, and what does it cover?

    You use leadership skills when organizing and managing other people to accomplish shared business objectives.

    For a product manager, leadership skills usually require the ability to motivate others and encourage them to complete a bunch of tasks, often leading to a shared goal. Leadership is not just one skill but rather a combination of numerous different skills working in harmony.

    Some skills that make leadership great often include:

    • Empathy
    • Reliability
    • Patience
    • Active listening
    • Positivity
    • Creativity
    • Dependability

    Why does it matter?

    Leadership skills help product managers oversee processes, guide their employees and steer them toward the achievement of dreams and goals.

    To make relevant decisions about an organization's goals and missions, product managers are required to obtain valuable leadership skills that allow them to delegate, inspire, and communicate efficiently.

    Final Words 

    As you can see, good products that we love and use every day don't just happen; they take a lot of skills, patience, background, and experience to be built. 

    Good product managers bridge the gap between a brilliant plan and a brilliant product by combining their key skills, business needs and user requirements to make sure the end product is beneficial to all parties.

    Some of the soft and hard skills product managers need experience in include:

    • technical expertise,
    • time management skills,
    • strategic thinking,
    • A/B testing,
    • coding.

    But don't worry if you don't have all the skills on our list; you can always experience it firsthand as an intern or find courses.

    You can further understand what it takes to become an efficient product manager and examine their skills by following the most successful product managers; find the list here

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What qualifications do you need for product management?

    To be successful as a product manager, you need to have basic -if not advanced- knowledge about business administration, computer science, product management, management sciences, etc. You also need to be good at time management, marketing, strategic thinking, and prioritization.

    Is coding required for product management?

    Being a professional coder is not necessary for product management; however, being familiar with it can greatly increase your technical skills and boost your understanding of other important matters.

    Can I become a product manager without experience? 

    Finding a position as a product manager without a solid background and experience is quite difficult, but not impossible. As you can imagine, it's a demanding job requiring many skills and responsibilities, so naturally, not every organization would be willing to hire someone without any experience.

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