Product Manager Skills List and Examples
Successful product managers are ambassadors of the product that they are carrying from conception through production and final launch. They must understand the market they are targeting with their new product and the competition it will face.
They are also responsible for creating and executing a successful strategy that will ensure the seamless and cost-effective passage of their product through its research, development, engineering, manufacturing, “go live,” and distribution cycles; as such, this job requires top-notch problem-solving skills and analytical abilities. Here are some of the most important skills employers look for in a product manager.
Top Product Manager Skills
Product managers influence numerous groups – from customers and sales personnel, to marketing, finance, and engineering teams. Thus, they must be able to communicate and disseminate their vision to everyone effectively.
A product manager truly is the “Renaissance Man” of a company. More so, perhaps, than any other profession, product management requires a solid grasp of the demands of several different disciplines in order to communicate productively across divisions. Although not an engineer, s/he must have enough technical knowledge to understand a product’s structure, composition, and applications. Although not a marketing specialist, the product manager has to know how to analyze market data and brand / position the product.
Although not an accountant, s/he has to predict costs and manage budgets.
Solid presentation skills are a necessity as the product manager is president of the product s/he's in charge of and has to get others on board with his or her priorities. When resources are limited and other products are also under development, he or she must be able to champion the product so that it enjoys a timely and successful launch.
Strategic thinking begins with posing the right questions, then understanding the market and competition, and finally with defining the product's road map. The product manager must be able to forecast how much time each stage of the production cycle will take, position their product to take advantage of market cycles, and formulate strategies to control costs and manage risks along the way.
Analytical skills follow on the heels of strategic thinking; it's about researching and analyzing the right data to make product decisions with profit in mind. This is a data-driven skill rather than acting on instinct or innate response. A product manager with solid analytical skills knows how to use data (whether it's paltry or prolific) to crunch numbers and create solutions for business strategy, product development, and pricing outlook.
Product Manager Skills List
Here are comprehensive lists of product manager skills to highlight for resumes, cover letters, job applications, and interviews. Required skills will vary based on the job for which you're applying, so also review our list of skills listed by job and type of skill.
Personal Attributes: There isn’t an employer in the world who doesn’t value a strong work ethic in their employees. One’s work ethic isn’t merely the ability to come to work on time and avoid absenteeism; it’s also supported and / or enhanced by the following personal attributes.
- Ability to Meet Deadlines
- Attention to Detail
- Critical Thinking
- Data Driven
- Motivating Others
- Problem Solving
- Quantitative Skills
- Team Player
- Time Management
- Working Independently
Interpersonal Skills: These are the “people” skills that enable employees to build a positive personal rapport with customers, peers, and supervisors. Often described as “soft skills,” they are nonetheless as important as acquired “hard skills” like product management or computer proficiency.
- Customer Service
- Facilitating Meetings
- Influencing Others
- Leading Cross-Functional Teams
- Maintaining Composure Under Pressure
- Managing Partner Relationships
- Relationship Management
- Verbal Communication
- Written Communication
Product Management: Here are the core industry-specific competencies you’ll find listed most often in the “Work Responsibilities” section of job postings.
- Developing Cases for New Products/Features
- Developing Pricing Frameworks
- Developing Strategies for Product Launches
- Developing Value Propositions
- Driving Product Strategy
- Evaluating Advertising Proposals
- Managing Risk Through the Product Cycle
Positioning Brands and Projects: Because product managers must work in tandem with marketing departments, they need to be well-versed in these positioning strategies.
- Product Feature Definition
- Product Implementation
- Product Improvements
- Product Launch
- Product Strategy
- Project Management
- Visual Representation
Analytical Skills: These logical thinking skills range in scope and application from accounting and financial forecasting to quality control, product distribution, and marketing.
- Creating and Managing Budgets
- Creating Distribution Strategies
- Customer Analysis
- Defining Objectives
- Defining Requirements
- Financial Analysis
- Forecasting Sales
- Managing Social Media Systems
- Measuring Effectiveness
- Measuring Product Functionality
- Measuring User Acceptance
- Researching Market Trends
- Responding to Changing Demands
- Synthesizing Data
- Tracking Progress
- Translating Customer Feedback into Product Modification
- Understanding Customer Segmentation
Software Skills: Here are a few software programs and technical processes you’ll be utilizing as a product manager.
- Agile Software
- Competitive Analysis
- Compiling Status Reports
- Microsoft Access
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft Project
The Importance of Keyword Phrases
The keywords and keyword phrases listed here are those that are frequently programmed into the applicant tracking systems that many employers now use to provide initial review of the hundreds of job applications they receive. These systems rank resumes based upon the prevalence and positioning of these keywords in a resume and cover letter; resumes that do not incorporate many of these phrases are gleaned from consideration.