Core skills matter when recruiting the rare breed!
Ideally any employee should have a good understanding of not only his/her own job but also how the machinery works further from home. Never is this clearer (except for C-levels) than in the Product Manager role.
The role is almost comically like the coordinator of everything. Sales people will sell the product. Marketers will market it. The R&D people will develop what (they think) you want. And you are spending the money someone else allocated for you...
So do you understand “the life of the other”? What makes them tick? Do you have a working relationship?
At the core of this interesting but demanding role lies a terrible truth. You will have to get along with them all, over many years. You will have to understand their quirks and oddities. And you will have to love it (well, most of the time anyway).
What does this say about the core of the skills?
A few simple facts of the Product Manager role:
- You will have to understand other people (a genuine interest in)
- You will have to understand the technology, the market and the money
- You will have to structure all kinds of information and make decisions left, right and center
- You will have to run a marathon with the product, keeping a tactical eye on the strategy
- You must have the will to win
As for any job of such a nature, it will come down to having the energy to perform over long time. Nobody can do it unless they like it and have a keen interest in the areas.
Sure - as we all do - it is possible to compensate a lack of this by more of that, but unless your core skills are pretty well balanced, it is going to be just too tough.
The Product Manager is the self-contained proxy version of most other roles in the company! A pretty good sales guy, a capable communicator, technically adept and a good people leader with a structured approach to getting jobs done. And so on.
Any well-performing company must develop this rare breed of people. A wonderful and never-tiring asset that keeps the entire company going as long as there is a market out there.
So, where does this lead us? Clearly the requirements on the personal profile of a Product Manager can appear daunting. Much comes down to pure energy and spirit, but failing to recruit with core skills in mind is a dangerous path. If done correctly however, the company will market, sell and prosper.
And YES, the Product Manager IS the master of everything! Right?