10 Tips on how to be an Awesome Product Manager

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Ten tips to help new product managers get started in their role

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10 Tips on how to be an Awesome Product Manager

  1. So you’re a product manager now?
  2. Hooray for you!You’ve got a new product management job!Not many people have formal product managementqualifications. And product managers tend to comefrom diverse backgrounds.It’s likely you may have some questions
  3. Questionhow can you get off to a flying start? Answer: Follow our 10 tips!
  4. Find the right people to talk to Sales Customers Marketing Rejectors (Non-Customer service Customers) Operations Partners R&D Suppliers Engineering Distributors Finance Journalists & Bloggers Industry analysts
  5. Ask smart questions1. What are the biggest problems you’re facing? What impact do these problems have?2. What problems does our product solve for you?3. What are the reasons that led you to buy our product?4. What do you like most about our product?5. What do you like least about our product?6. If you could change one thing about our product what would that be? Hint: take lots of notes
  6. Then ask more smart questions! You’re new, so you can ask one or two dumb questions too
  7. Analyse• Collate and review your data• What are the key points?• What comments were most significant?• What’s working?• What’s not working?• What else do you need to know?
  8. Don’t jump to solution mode!
  9. Sounds dumb, doesn’t it?• You’d be amazed how many product managers are unfamiliar with their product• Take the time to interact, consume, use or play with your new product or service• Personal experience gives you depth of understanding that cannot be obtained from customer feedback alone• If you’re getting confused – imagine how the customer feels!
  10. Describe your product• List out the features• What are its strengths?• Isolate shortcomings in your product• Don’t listen to those who say “We can’t fix that because…”• Think how this contrasts with competitors• Keep an open mind – and remember it’s all about the customer
  11. Measure the right things• Take a good hard look at the numbers!• Combine qualitative insight with quantitative grunt to create a clear view of the product’s performance• Check these against your job’s Key Performance Indicators – are these measuring the right things?• Analyse trends and changes – a dip in sales could mean many things: a price increase, new competitor, seasonal demand drop
  12. Square pegs, round holes• If your product doesn’t generate revenue, don’t assume you don’t need to measure performance• Once you’ve collated and analysed your product’s KPIs determine if the numbers have over or under performed.• If changes to KPIs are needed review with your manager and refine accordingly• Use the KPIs as guidance in all your initiatives to ensure you’re working on the right activities
  13. Dig around in the office• Find existing material – market reports, product plans, sales collateral etc• Try to find up-to-date versions – and old stuff to see how products have evolved• Ideally you’ll want to find market requirements, product requirements and product plans• See what info you have on competitors too
  14. External sources• Go online and start researching• What are people saying about your product? Is it true? Or are there misconceptions?• Find reports, white papers, blogs and other content to help you shore up your industry and product knowledge
  15. Putting ideas into actions• Now that you understand your market, customers and product it’s time to articulate• Refine product requirements, defining where changes and improvements need to be made• Enhance in-life documentation• Prepare different documents for different audiences• Keep these files secure and centrally located so that they’re easy to find and update
  16. You’re the product ambassador• You’ve done so much hard work• You know exactly who the customer is, what they want and how your product delivers• It’s your job to communicate this internally• Go back to all the people you spoke to early on – and share what you’ve found• Give them resources and support – product managers are team players
  17. Pump up the resources• Update collateral• Refine presentations• Train sales and service teams• Engage with marketing communications• Keep senior management in the loop• Tell the customer – and converse with them!
  18. Develop a reputation• As a product manager, it is important for your own professional development and for your customers that you continually strive to be the best you can be• You’ll find it easier to work with and influence people and outcomes• You’ll help keep the customer front-and-centre of mind of the business• This helps enhance recognition of the product management profession
  19. But what is “Best”?• Understand your personal objectives – know why these matter• Align personal objectives to business objectives• Create a plan to meet and exceed these• Focus – work out what is most important and put most of your effort here• Deliver the best work for your audience• Ask for help and feedback – be humble, and find out what you can improve in your performance
  20. Be better than best• Plan to update your skills• Continued learning helps to improve your weaknesses and enhance your strengths – Attend conferences and industry events – Undertake short courses – Take part in free webinars – Join a professional association – Read blogs, listen to podcasts and watch online videos related to your field – Teach others – often this is the best way to learn
  21. Work should be fun• Inject a bit of passion and fun into your role• Encourage creative thinking, fresh ideas and engagement throughout your team and organisation• Crazy ideas are sometimes the best so encourage openness and experimentation• Go into each day positive and think how you can make a difference
  22. In summary Good product management is about delivering products that customers love. Product managers use logic, insight and a degree of creativity in defining, developing, deploying and maintaining these products. Product managers must guide and collaborate with other parts of the business and external stakeholders. Product managers have a duty to deliver financial benefits to their organisation.
  23. Keep discovering• There’s always new opportunities for your products• Keep the focus on your customer and understand how they’re evolving needs can continue to be met by your product• Discover new opportunities and guide the business to capitalise on these• The product management discipline translates well across industries so never fear taking a leap of faith into a new role further down the track!
  24. In summary Good product management is about delivering products that customers love. Product managers use logic, insight and a degree of creativity in defining, developing, deploying and maintaining these products. Product managers must guide and collaborate with other parts of the business and external stakeholders. Product managers have a duty to deliver financial benefits to their organisation.
  25. brainmates helps clients to define, develop anddeploy products and services.Our insight and expertise ensures these arecompelling, competitive and profitable.Contact us to learn how we can help you.www.brainmates.com.au info@brainmates.com.au

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