Updated: Nov 24, 2022
Career insights by GGI is a new series by GGI sharing hacks and tips around management consulting, MBA, product management and public policy.
In this GGI career insight, we will be sharing insights into: the essential skills you need to become a good product manager.
Before we begin, you should know more about the role of a product manager. They are often called mini CEOs because they get a birds-eye view of the organisation. Thus, management consultants get good exit opportunities in product management.
1. Design Thinking
This involves first principle thinking. It means that you do not benchmark the solution. You keep the consumer problem at the centre and build products around it.
For instance, think of a search tool. It is a very common, but complex tool to build. There can be so many permutation combinations of the search results along with a lot of typos. Then there could be various search results which require rank order as well.
Good product managers try to be innovative. Your aim as a product manager should be to refrain from copying or pasting someone else's solutions.
Ofcourse, innovations automatically follow from a lot of first principle thinking.
As a product manager, you will be talking to coders, consumers, partners and other staff members. Each of them will have conflicting opinions and priorities.
This means you will have to ruthlessly prioritise on timeline, resources and features. A good product manager knows how to prioritise and stack certain things for later.
This largely involves your ability to take decisions and say no.
You have to question the morality of a feature and check if it is in the favour of the consumer. You aim to ensure that misaligned interests do not lead to a disaster.
Additionally, you will have to say no to a lot of features. Otherwise, the product tends to become messy. It is better to solve 1 consumer problem end to end, rather than solving 10 consumer problems with mediocrity.
You would be dealing with a lot of stakeholders within your organisation so good communication skills become pivotal. You have to know how to write good emails and articulate your thoughts well.
You have to be able to share your insights objectively both, verbal and written.
In the end, you have to measure the outcome, not just the output. Monitoring the key performance indicators is very important for your organisation's growth.
Author: Shatakshi Sharma, Co-CEO Global Governance Initiative, Ex-BCG Management Consultant, Former Policy Advisor, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change
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