How to hire an effective product manager

22 October 2020

Modern product challenges require modern software solutions. Businesses often start looking for a product manager when they recognize the need for a specialist who will combine leadership and management qualities to make a project commercially successful. But how does one find a genuinely effective product manager?

Most product managers display some of these characteristics; top product managers exhibit most or all of them:

  1. Mindset - Top product managers’ thinking isn’t confined to the resources available now or in today’s business environment. They’ll propose highly disruptive opportunities and generate concrete plans for how to lead.

  2. Interaction - Top product managers are excellent communicators. They establish team communication and integrate new team members into the most challenging tasks required to meet the project’s goals.

  3. Facilitation - Top product managers understand how to gain 80% of the value out of any project with a 20% strain. They do so frequently, driving more and achieving compounding results for the product or company.

  4. Prioritization - Top product managers know how to prioritize projects. They evaluate projects judiciously. Some of these projects improve the business. Some projects protect against or remove a drag on operations, reduce technical debt, fix bugs, etc.

  5. Forecasting - Top product managers can forecast the approximate benefit of a project by applying their experience and leveraging comparable benchmarks. They also measure benefits and transfer this knowledge into prioritization and forecasts.

  6. Performance - Top product managers grind it out. They do whatever is necessary to ship. They recognize no particular limits to the scope of their position. As needed, they will recruit, escalate, and tussle with internal counsel.

  7. Technical background - A top product manager’s position does not demand a technical degree. They need to realistically understand the complexity of the backlog features they set without any costing input from the dev team. They should interact with devs to gain the best technical trade-offs.

  8. UI/UX design principles awareness - Top product managers do not have to be designers, but they should recognize superior design and distinguish it from good design. They should also promote diversity among their design counterparts or articulate directions to pursue improvements.

Nevertheless, we are not convinced that it is reasonable to expect all eight points in one person. Sometimes, you have to solve the current challenge rather than make a long-term investment. This approach is most convenient in partnerships with reliable companies with extensive market experience. 

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