The T-Shaped Product Manager
To do a great job as a product manager or product owner, you require two skills sets: product-specific and generic ones. As the name suggests, product-specific capabilities are limited to a single product or product portfolio. They include a deep understanding of the users with their needs, the competition, and the market trends. They also require an intimate knowledge of the product itself, including its value proposition, key features, user journeys, business goals, and KPIs. Finally, they demand an insight into how the company works and how things get done—what the company goals are, which processes are used, and who the decision makers and influencers are. As product-specific skills are crucial, I find that many product managers and product owners strive to develop these capabilities. But as important as they are, they are not enough.
In addition to deep product skills, you require generic, transferable product management capabilities, such as, effectively capturing the product’s value proposition, segmenting the market, validating product strategy assumptions, selecting the right KPIs, prioritizing the product backlog, and analyzing user feedback and data. These skills are not specific to an individual product, but transferable. They equip you with the expertise to methodically solve common product management challenges and they enable you to move between jobs and verticals if you wish to do so.
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May 12, 2017 at 10:27AM