You’ve heard of project management. But what about product management?
No worries; it’s easy to confuse them. However, there is a world of difference between the two fields.
Whereas project managers manage a series of operations that work toward a singular goal, product managers chart the trajectory of a product, manage its market research and customer outreach, and overall lifeline.
In product management, these necessary monitoring skills are core competencies. Mastering these core competencies under the tutelage of a knowledgeable mentor can make or break an aspiring product manager.
It should come as no surprise that product managers who score higher in emotional intelligence are also more likely to achieve success. In this field, emotional intelligence helps product managers navigate the potential pitfalls that come with managing a team.
A good product manager will know how to forge strong, trusting bonds with their team members and ideally, will inspire them to reach their fullest potential.
They will also be skilled in managing conflict between team members in the face of time and resource constraints and negotiating with investors when more funding is needed. That’s a pretty tall order for any type of manager.
A robust social awareness is also a significant predictor of a product manager’s success.
A good product manager should be able to tap into the pains and desires of their target market and play on them to achieve their desired goal.
This social awareness also means that they should be on the lookout for any potential concerns of questions that arise from using their product and strategizing how to attack and solve the issues that may present themselves most successfully.
However, let’s leave aside other people for a moment as we consider the kind of self-maintenance a successful product manager must do to stay in fighting form.
This self-maintenance mainly comes in the form of self-awareness and self-care. Self-awareness here means being able to objectively assess the emotional state of a person, situations, or persons involved in a particular case.
Most challengingly, it consists in leaving one’s personal biases aside in the assessment.
Self-care means essential physical and mental maintenance, such as physical exercise, a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and cultivating strong, authentic social bonds.
Improve Your Skills
So let’s say you’ve got the core competencies down and you’re a heck of a conversationalist. Even the most finely-tuned of these skills won’t help you much if you’re working for a company that doesn’t fit you very well.
A good company fit is crucial not only for a product manager’s happiness and fulfillment but in achieving professional success as well.
Companies differ widely in their general level of technical skill, culture, philosophy, engineering capabilities, and intra-company relations.
All aspiring product managers are advised to research their potential companies to get a good feel for which one suits them best.
Still with us and interested in pursuing a career that gives you room to grow? Check out our pick for product management certification programs hosted by our friends over at 280 Group.
This team of adept and knowledgeable product managers can help jumpstart your career in product management today.
Does your company have a solid project management process?