LinkedIn principal author Doug Winnie describes how a product manager is more of a leader than as a manager. As a product manager, you are the leader for the team so they are confident in what they are doing, how they are doing it, and that you are always willing to listen and hear what they have to say.
- View Offline
- Being a Product Manager requires a number of skills and disciplines, one of which is being a leader for your product team. And in this video, we'll look at the wide variety of skills that go into being a solid Product Manager. Although the title has Manager in it, you aren't actually Management. You are a leader. The Engineers, Designers, Marketers and Researchers don't report to you, you aren't their boss. The phrase that I hear a lot about Product Managers, is that they're responsible for everything, but in charge of nothing.
The most unique aspect of the Product Manager, is that you lead through influence. You can't bark orders, or say it has to be done this way. You are a partner with everyone on the product team. And while they aren't your team, you are all on the same journey to bring your product to life. As a Product Manager, it is more than just monitoring the progress of the work. It is also about being emotionally aware of your team. Are they happy? Are they motivated? Are they tired or burnt out? These are all questions that you should be thinking about, and have an answer to.
And then use the information to help guide you about how to proceed. Maybe you're pushing them too hard, and you need to defer some work till later to help lift up your team's spirits. One option is to move work that is in one phase, or sprint of development, and push it till later, freeing them up to have more confidence without feeling rushed. Maybe your team doesn't have the same clarity that you have, about what the product is meant to do, and how it will help your customers.
Perhaps you need to bring in some customers that you've talked to, and have a brown bag with the team to help them hear first-hand, what the product is meant to do. Or, maybe your team has a brilliant solution that you haven't considered, but they don't feel that you are listening to them, or want to hear what they have to say. You need to always be opened to listen. Sure it will be busy at times, but be sure to always have a way to hear suggestions from the team. They are experts in what they do, and their input can have huge impacts on what you do.
So yeah, you aren't their boss, but in a way that's an advantage. Leadership is different than Management. As a Product Manager you are the leader for the team, so that they are confident in what they are doing, how they are doing it, and they know that you are always willing to listen, and hear what they have to say.
- Types of products and industries
- Leading through influence
- Understanding your team
- Using an agile or waterfall development cycle
- Managing your product life cycle
- Researching your market, customers, and ideas
- Planning the product
- Building the product
- Releasing the product
- Refining the product
- Understanding when it's time to retire the product