Tuesday, September 14, 2021

How to Become a Product Manager – Guide for 2021

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Last Updated on August 14, 2021 by Mandy Schmitz

How to become a Product Manager

Many people feel amazed by the thought of becoming a product manager because everyone loves this job. Moreover, the product manager’s salary is also handsome, and there is also a high rate of growing opportunities. Generally, the average salary of a product manager is “$120,000” USD every year. Besides, product managers grow, and they can become CEO, founders, and many other high-level executives.

There is no doubt that the product manager’s job is very significant and necessary. In every software department, there is always a product manager. Some developers and designers are dependent on the direction of product managers. Unlike software development and visual design, product management is not a degree or specialization course in universities nor colleges. Subsequently, one can get a degree in computer science and become a developer, or one can get a degree in Graphic Design and become a designer, but no degree offers you to make a product manager.

Particularly, there are many people out there who are not even aware of what a product manager is. Whether they know what product management is or don’t, all the people still feel the thrill to know what product management is. Thus, their interest makes a lot of sense. As product managers normally ask for high compensation and is among the most respected and appreciated profession in the world today.

Besides, there are many online product management courses for developing skills and understanding this job. Generally, everyone can join them, to learn the basics, develop relevant skills and score a job as a product manager.

What Is A Product Manager?

Product Manager
canva.com

In brief, a product manager mostly connects design knowledge, business strategy along with consumers’ needs for developing a product that would be feasible, relevant, and valuable. Also, product managers mainly focus on product optimization to achieve the goals of their business and users’ necessities while also maximizing the Return On Investment (ROI). Furthermore, the product manager can manage all the white spaces or empty spaces around the product. Product managers have a responsibility to strategically take care of the situation and drive the development of products. Moreover, Product managers research information, set the vision of products, communicate the vision to stakeholders, and develop strategic plans.

As every product has a different client, business, and developer constellation, it is profoundly different for every product manager because the white space they inhabit is separate. As such an instance, an API product manager may have consumers who are all engineers. This could mean that the product manager needs to have much better tech knowledge. As another apparent reason, the “consumer product manager” could serve millions of customers and therefore needs to be highly quantitative. For example “B2B product manager” could represent just a hundred total customers and thus needs to be highly qualified for “change management,” stakeholder management, and meeting objectives.”

To be able to prioritize tasks, he or she must first understand which tasks are more important and urgent. He or she also has the ability to remain focused on the company’s goals and visions. Product managers also need to be capable of leading team meetings, presenting talents, and conducting thorough interviews.

What Does A Product Manager Do?

Several responsibilities are assigned to the product manager. However, these responsibilities vary and depend on the size of the company or organization. Generally, in larger organizations, product managers are mostly embedded with their team’s specialists. Furthermore, analysts, marketers, and researchers help with the day-to-day working criteria or execution. Similarly, they draw designs, they find bugs, and they rest prototypes. Usually, product managers have much more help and spend most of their time aligning these stakeholders behind a specific long-lasting or long-term vision.

On the flip side, the product managers at many smaller organizations spend much less time making everyone agree on something. Still, they spend more time doing the works on hand that explain a vision and see through it.

Here are some primary tasks of product managers:

  • Develop and advocate product plan
  • Representing and understanding the needs of users.
  • To monitor the market and to develop competitive research and analysis.
  • To define a product’s vision.
  • The alignment of stakeholders all around the product vision
  • To prioritize the product capabilities and features.
  • Create an environment where brain-sharing employees work all across in a larger team and empower employees to make their own decisions.

What Are The Key Skills Of A Product Manager?

Product Manager skills
canva.com

For a product manager position, many necessary skills are required to do well in this job.

Here are some core sets of skills that are necessary for a product manager:

1. A General Understanding Of Data

Having a General Understanding of Data doesn’t mean that one has to be an expert in statistics or mathematics. But it is required to have at least basic knowledge on the subject. A product manager must know how to interpret and read the data accurately, which are required skills in this field. Product managers contact many other departments, so they must have the basic knowledge of other departments.

2. Industry Insights And KPIs

The primary skill of a product manager is to have full knowledge about industry and market trends and to be able to track and set the main KPIs, for instance, cost, customer acquisition, daily active users, customers conversion rate, user churn, feature usage, customer satisfaction, customer lifetime value and net promoter score. Product managers must have the ability to know and define the case’s use and then clear the personas of customers. They must leverage the customers and data feedback to find the essential products that can fit into the market. People might think that directly speaking with customers is the sales responsibility and customer success teams’ responsibility. Still, product managers have a lot to gain and analyze while directly communicating with the users.

3. Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking skills are a must-have. This ties in with having a good and critical insight into the competition and market. Strategic thinking needs one as the product manager to help the team define its vision and then work hard toward that vision with achievable yet realistic goals.

The process of strategic planning needs good and thorough skills of forecasting, with rational, logical, and critical thinking, definitive and inductive reasoning skills with the ability and power to be decisive the need and ability to ask or inquire the right question at the right time, with good skills of delegation and with the ability to see and set achievable, realistic goals and stay firm with them.

4. Basic Business Skills

Having the necessary business skills does not mean that you have to acquire a degree in business. Still, on the other hand, it is also necessary to have at least some basic business skills to operate thoroughly. One might know all the “ins and outs” of the product. Still, it is also required and one needs to be aware of what is happening in the organization. This is because this can have an indirect or might be a direct effect on the product’s development.

5. Design and User Experience Knowledge

The basics of all skills are required and value to have a decent and enough understanding of UX designs. This skill is crucial for product managers and the world of SaaS. For SaaS companies to become successful and succeed, they have to provide a closed experience with customers. The UX helps to dictate its success, so its primary and general knowledge is mandatory for all the product managers.

6. Other Common Skills

The above are some technical skills required to have product managers, but there are other essential skills required to have, including team building and teamwork and excellent time management skills. Time management is a must-have in product managers. The reason is specifically necessary because one is working with several teams and stakeholders at a time, so the candidate needs to manage their time and skills wisely, specifically if there are large chunks of time consumed by the meetings.

In addition, preparation of documents, compiling of reports and preparation of documentation, good skills of delegation and project management. They should also empower all those who are working around them. To have skills of prioritization, he or she must know what tasks are more critical and urgent. He or she also has the skills to stay on the objectives and visions of the company. They are able to lead the team meetings, skills of presentation, and confirm robust interviews.

7. Interpersonal Product Management Skills

Interpersonal skills are mostly God-gifted. Although practice can make a man perfect, these skills are still compulsory for every product manager. This is not a part of their curriculum, but they need to develop these skills to succeed in their field.

8. Communication Skills

It might seem self-evident that one must be a good communicator, but good isn’t enough in product management 😉. The Product Manager is the spokesman for his product and the customer’s voice for his team members, he/she works with a wide range of different teams and deals with various stakeholders each day. He also needs to clearly articulate his product vision and plan to his team as the spokesman for his product. People often neglect the importance of communication. A partnership may well be rendered or broken by a lack of contact or the wrong kind of communication. As a result, as a product manager, you had to have good leadership skills.

Having healthy and good communication skills is essential to become excellent, captivating, and valuable, being diplomatic, and having the excellent ability to listen carefully. It is also necessary to have the skills to empathize with others and be respectful towards others’ feelings. One must need to motivate and empower his team and build trust and healthy companionship with them. It is also required to empower your team members and give them the courage to make decisions.

9. Negotiating Skills

As the product manager working with several team members and different stakeholders, they all have several interests. Hence, a product manager has to be a go-to person for any priorities, and everyone can be sure that he will manage the conflict and every crisis. When it comes to the need for compromising, that’s the whole point of negotiation.

However, it must never come down to the point of meeting in the middle of the point to make it simple because one party might have much more sway than any other party. It must not work this way, especially when someone is creating a particular product for their customers. It is necessary to develop customers’ culture when it comes down to the point of decision making for the customers, and it should be implied.

Product Manager Salary

Product Manager salary
canva.com

The average national salary for a Product Manager’s designation is “$108,992” in the USA. By filtering through the location to see and analyze the salaries of the Product Manager in your area.

  • Director, Product Management ($149K)
  • Product Management ($109K)
  • Associate Product Manager ($96K)
  • Program Manager ($59K)
  • Project Manager ($66K)

How To Become A Product Manager

An individual can become a product manager with the help of the three paths mentioned below:

1. Specialized Training

As discussed above, most universities and colleges do not give degrees in product management. One has to do specialization or any other training to become a product manager. In this matter, the first path is to get specialized training. This is the fastest path, and one can take online classes and online product management courses. Here you learn the tools on product management, and you grow stronger with product management.

2. MBA Program

The second path that you can choose is to go through the MBA program degree. Some people generally gather almost 4 to 5-year professional experience, go through the MBA program, and then land on a junior post of product management. There is the extreme benefit of an MBA in product management. This is an excellent building step towards your leadership skills and product visions.

3. Learning The Job

The third path is learning about the job. While learning you can get a junior product management post, you gradually build your experience and skills while learning on the job. This is somehow the slowest pathway.

Product Management Certification

Certification
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Several certificates can be taken to become a product manager. Here are these below.

1. Product Management Certification Programs By Product School

Product school certification
productschool.com

Product School mostly offers three different certificates of product management. The certificate of product management is the main building and base block for those looking forward to a career in product management. This course majorly covers very basics like assessing the targeted opportunities, building software predictions, and launching an excellent product system. The product leader’s certificate needs much more product management experience, and it demands a complete grip on the technical skills, DevOps and data analytics.

Click here to enroll yourself in Project Management Certification Program by Product School.

2. Product Management Certification By Pragmatic Institute

The second certificate is Pragmatic Institute product management certification. It takes pride for many decades to experience product management’s roles and its instructions to bring the creative into and reach its main product management track course. This certification usually covers the more defining responsibilities and roles.

Want to enroll for Product Management Certification By Pragmatic Institute? Click here.

3. AIPMM Certified Product Manager Credential Through 280 Group

The third one is the most rigorous certification in the partnership in combination with international product management and marketing. This is the largest association based on product management in the world. Two hundred eighty groups gave exclusive authorization for offering life, in-person, and on-demand certification courses.

Click here to reserve your spot for the upcoming AIPMM Certified Product Manager Course.

4. Product Development and Management Association’s (PDMA) New Product Development Certification

Product Manager npdp certification
pdma.org

This certification is offered by the PDMA (Product Development and Management Association). This is a professional certification that is recognized internationally and a well-known body of knowledge. More to this, NPDP Certification is also differentiated by its status of not-for-profit as the organization of the recognized international academic along with professional experts and aimers.

Begin your New Product Development Certification by filling up this application form.

Product Owner vs Product Manager

Both the terms product managers and product owners are interchangeable and, most of the time, overlap each other. There is no doubt that the roles of product owners and product managers both are different. Following are a few differences between the product manager and product owner.

  • Product managers are the strategic part of the team. They mostly focus on the vision, market, and company objectives of the product.
  • Product owners are considerably more tactical. They help translate product managers’ strategy into actionable tasks and with agile cross-functional working teams for making sure that they are executing the needs and requirements.

Product Manager vs Project Manager

Product Manager

  • They have a responsibility to strategically take care of the situation and drive the development of products.
  • Product managers research the information.
  • They set the vision of products.
  • Product managers communicate the vision to stakeholders.
  • Develops strategic planning.

Project Manager

  • Project Managers plan the project timeline.
  • They are responsible for overseeing the development plans and their execution.
  • Breaks down the search into task initiatives
  • They allocate the resources.
  • Monitors the completion of tasks.

Want to know more? Check out our detailed guide on how to become a project manager.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a product manager is the one responsible for identifying new product opportunities, performing market analysis, generating product requirements, deciding specifications, manufacturing timetables, pricing, and time-integrated plans for product launch, and designing marketing strategies are all part of the product development process. Particularly, he specializes in the research required to acquire consumer information to determine the needs and preferences of existing and potential consumers.

A product manager advises regarding design choices and the scope of current and future product lines by analyzing product needs and standards, evaluating new product concepts, and product or packaging updates. Besides that, he evaluates market rivalry by comparing specific product features with competitor products. A product manager is a well-rounded individual with a variety of different skills, so this job is not for everyone, but it can be a rewarding career for the right candidate.

Mandy Schmitzhttps://mandyschmitz.com
Mandy Schmitz is a freelance consultant and project management expert with 10+ years of experience working internationally for big brands in fintech, consumer goods and more. Join me here on Changeaholic.com to learn how to optimize your business operations and find the latest software reviews.

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Mandy Schmitz is a freelance consultant and project management expert with 10+ years of experience working internationally for big brands in fintech, consumer goods and more. Join me here on Changeaholic.com to learn how to optimize your business operations and find the latest software reviews.

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