By Josh Duncan
I recently was asked, what are the most important skills for a product manager?
I answered that there are range of skills that a PM is required to use from the standard technical and business side and to the important soft skills like communication and persuasion. I have been thinking more about the answer and think you can call execution the most important skill when it comes to Product Management.
Getting product out the door is one of the many metrics a product organization tracks and the product management team plays an essential leadership role here (see point #5 on Hiring a great product leader). In order to make this happen, a product manager has many responsibilities and tasks that need to be addressed. However, execution is not just about getting things done. Product managers usually have an endless list of action items that they need to address.
A few of the factors that product management must balance when prioritizing this list:
- What are the company goals for this year?
- What about next?
- What are the development capabilities and backlog?
- Where does sales need help?
- Where is the services team experiencing the most pain?
- What is the customer feedback saying?
- What is the customer data saying?
- Where is the competition at and where are they heading?
- Are there market dynamics that need be taken into account?
Execution is about understanding what needs to be done and how to get it done given the current set of constraints. It’s about figuring out what is important, what’s not, and then making sure it all happens.
An effective product manager must be able to see all parts of the equation while prioritizing everything that needs to be done. It may be a meeting with marketing to align on outgoing messaging. It may be working with sales to finalize pricing changes. It may be design sessions with the development and UX team on the next big feature release. The key being that not everything that is important is most important right now.
Execution is about getting the right things done at the right time resulting in the right product shipping on time.
What do you think?
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