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This week we reached out selected great product managers asking them to share their insights on how to be a better manager.

We asked three questions:

  • What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?
  • What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?
  • How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

If you want to learn how Product Managers from startups and worldwide brands are dealing with their work, read on!

Nils Davis

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?


The most important thing in product management is making sure you’re solving a problem that a market has, and for which they are willing to buy a solution. So, I think that means the most important quality of a good product manager is the ability to find and validate those problems, and not simply build a product because it’s cool, or the technology is neat.


Or, conversely, if you’re in the situation where you have a problem and it seems to be a “solution in search of a problem,” that you’re very skilled at either exiting that situation, or finding a problem that your solution can solve.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


Generally, I have two challenges.


One is that I started product management before anyone really knew what it was, so I had to learn a lot on the job, and develop my own theories about what it all meant. (It’s one reason I put a lot of effort now into trying to explain what it is and how to get better at it.)


My other challenge is one that a lot of product managers have – we’re technologists ourselves, so we are seduced by coolness and technical interestingness, and because we’re humans, we think others (i.e., customers/prospects) will be excited by the same things, which of course is not true at all.


So, it’s always a challenge for me to remember that “I’m not my customer, and I don’t understand how my customer thinks or what they think is important.” But because I have to make the decisions on the product, I have to make sure to be in constant communication with customers and the market in general to make sure my decisions are based not on my thinking, but on what customers and the market actually cares about and thinks is important.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

At the moment I don’t think we PMs have a good way to measure our own effectiveness.


The ideal measure, which is not very useful in real life, is revenue. Product managers should be responsible for about $5-10m in annual revenue. But that’s really *forward-looking* revenue, so the metric is extremely lagging, and it’s very hard to measure in any case. (Well, revenue is easy, but contribution to revenue from an individual is hard.)


So what I’m more interested in measuring, not that I’m doing it, is a pipeline of new, validated business ideas that have been discovered by getting out and talking to customers and the market. Companies can’t grow without new business ideas, new product ideas, and that’s really one of the hardest parts of product management once you already have a product – getting the new ideas and turning them into new products that are successful.

Laura Klein

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

Probably flexibility (see how neatly I got around having to choose just one quality?). Within organizations, product managers often have to engage with users, team members, stakeholders, and partners. They have to understand the business needs and the customer needs. They need to effectively make use of both qualitative and quantitative data. And then they need to take all of this and make good decisions, often very quickly and almost always with incomplete information.


PMs also have to make sure that everything is getting done that needs to be done, even if it’s not technically anybody’s “job.” Great product managers transition easily between doing user research and motivating the team and getting buy in from the rest of the org and a dozen other things. This requires tremendous flexibility and the ability to manage lots of different processes at once.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

Before starting any project, I need everybody on the team to understand the success criteria, and I prefer that it be quantifiable. There is no single metric for success. One new feature might be successful if it reduced customer complaints by 50%. Another might be successful if it improved retention by 10%. Some projects are successful because they improve team health and reduce turnover within the organization or improve team communication so that things get done faster.


Once you know which metrics matter for any given project, you can measure the improvements you’ve made to those key metrics and then look at what that improvement cost in terms of time and resources. The trick is that everything needs to have a measurable goal before you start, or you’ll never have any idea whether you succeeded, failed, or ended up somewhere in between.

Jim Anderson

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

The ability to listen well. We tend to get so caught up in our busy lives, that we forget how to listen. What a product manager needs to understand is that the answers to all of their questions are out there – if they could only take the time to listen to the people who are telling them things.


Your customers will tell you what you need, your competition will tell you why your product is better, and your sales teams will tell you what is working and what is not working.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


As a product manager the biggest challenge that I faced was the realization that I really didn’t “do anything”. Instead, as a product manager my job was to convince other people to do things for me. This is not an easy thing to do when those people don’t work for you and probably have other people asking them to do things at the same time.


Over time I’ve learned how to get people’s attention and how to convince them that what I want them to do is really in their own best interest.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

I measure the effectiveness of the job that my product management team is doing in terms of how satisfied our customers are. If they are satisfied, then we should be getting more customers. The ones that we have should not be leaving. Everyone should be sending us requests to make our product better because they plan on using it both today and long into the future.

Catherine Shyu

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

I only have a quick answer to this because I’ve pondered it before – if I had to pick one, I’d say it’s empathy. You could have all the analytics and communication skills in the world, but if you can’t put yourself in your customers’ shoes and understand your their needs and pain points, you can’t successfully design products for them.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


I recently worked on a rewrite of a B2B SAAS application. The previous version had thousands of paying customers, and we were faced with a huge dilemma of how to iteratively release our new app to these customers for feedback.


The solution we came up with was to segment our customer base and release subsets of features to them as we finished. As the app gained more advanced features, we were able to bring on different customer segments. Even when you’re a large company, you can release iteratively – it just takes some creative thinking on how to do so without alienating your customers.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

At FullContact we have a saying that we’ve never met a metric we didn’t like. We have our company goals as well as goals set for each of our releases, and our OKR system keeps us honest about how we’re tracking towards success. For example if our company goal for 2016 was to triple revenue by Q3, then the PMs would track each of our feature/product releases by how much it contributed to the overall revenue.


Each quarter we’d look at our trajectory and adjust tactics based on how we’re doing. Tools that have been a great backbone for this: 7Geese, Segment.io (we do all our event tracking through this) and Indicative, and a robust data warehouse.

Roger L. Cauvin

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

Acquisitive learner.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


Marketing principles should drive product strategy, yet marketing principles are often counter-intuitive, so team members and executives don’t understand or agree with the justification for the product strategy. To overcome this challenge, product managers must educate the entire team on marketing principles.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

Interview team members to determine the extent to which they possess a shared understanding of the product strategy.

Justyna Wojtczak

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

The ability to make good decisions while being in touch with the IT team and stakeholders.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


Learning effective communication. Both between the client and the product owner and between the product owner and the team. Unclear situations cause problems later almost every time. It is a constant challenge to talk to the customer and to clarify his or her requirements.

In my case, the team is mostly remote, so it was necessary to choose communication channels and create a community-like team.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

As a startup, I try to get our feedback early, soon after releasing new solutions or changes in the existing ones. At this moment I am working on an experiment (http://getbadges.io) that allows me to measure the effectiveness on my team by tracking delivered features and project dynamics.

Steve Johnson

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

Desire to learn–from developers, customers, sales people, etc.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


As a new product manager, I was unclear on what was and what was not product management. There are many great frameworks for product management–finding one to adapt to your environment is key.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

Ultimately a product manager should be measured on the lifetime value of the product to the business–not this year’s revenue but profit over the life cycle.

Trevor Longino

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

Listen. Listen hard. Listen to people who aren’t in your scope of responsibility, to the people who don’t normally touch product in your company. Listen to everyone you can get to stand still long enough to ask their opinions about your new product, and actively look for good answers to every single complaint or concern you hear.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


People. Kontakt.io is a relatively young start up and we have a million great ideas, hundreds of which are probably sources for fantstic revenue.

But when you have 60 people and a million ideas, you have to pick and choose. So what I’ve learned is to exactly that: how to pick and choose what’s most important for this product and the importance of clearly communicating to everyone in the company why you picked the elements for a product that you did.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

There are two ways we measure this. One is simple return over costs of R&D and costs of production. The other is how well this product or that feature moves along to our eventual 3 and 5 year company objectives. If something makes a million dollars but doesn’t advance that core company goal, it’s time to phase it out for a new product that encompasses the existing revenue generating use case while also forwarding our main goals.


That’s not a hypothetical, by the way. We literally decided that exact thing about a product that generated a million dollars in 2015. null

Ope Adeoye

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

Ability to influence people. Peers, juniors and ESPECIALLY superiors. Once a PM has this on lockdown, (s)he can use it to navigate the rest.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


Keeping the team focused long enough on a direction. Especially Management and salespeople.


What have I learnt from it? If I can sell a strong enough long term vision and demonstrate early incremental success, it’s a bit easier to drive focus on the remaining part of the journey because I can say “you see!, it’s working… stay on the course”


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

Growth of a key metric we all agree on. e.g. gross profit, or monthly active users.

Mark Bigault

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

Diplomacy.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?

In a previous role, it was negotiating with a third party to create a classified business model that was profitable for everyone, while also being timely and a great user experience. Building great products where you don’t own the roadmap can be challenging, but often leads to the best combination of features for your audience.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

Engagement and revenue.

Magdalena Czech

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

If it has to one thing, I’d say it’s good leadership. In the end it boils down to creating the right conditions and vision for your team (developers, designers, testers, support, salespeople) to be inspired and motivated to build the best possible product together. Practically speaking, I mean – properly communicating goals, motivating teamwork and giving a good example of work ethic yourself.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


In agile software development projects, managing changes is always the biggest challenge. Especially in a start-up environment; at RightHello we’ve already changed the basic functionalities of our software and the following business model 3 times over 2 years.


The hardest thing to get used to is that the biggest success often lies in letting go of “beloved” functionalities, instead of continuing their development and implementation. So you have to plan, but not get too attached to your initial plans. In this context, the winning managers are those who think on their feet, are able to adjust their vision, listen to the market and tailor products to what the market needs.


Remember to actually analyse and implement what you learn, don’t just look for confirmation of your own ideas.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

We have two groups of metrics:


The first important group tells us about business viability, here we measure the actual value delivered to users. These metrics tell us whether our changes have a visible (and positive) impact on users. In this context, we mainly measure if users are satisfied with the quality and quantity of delivered data, plus our product’s UX. We use quantitative methods and do quality assurance interviews.


The second group of metrics tells us about how efficient our team is. Here we depend mostly on estimating tasks in “story points” (a term from the Scrum methodology), and the feature-to-bug ratio. We use timeboxing in case of experiments that can’t be estimated using story points .


Having good metrics we can easily set goals and measure how far we are from reaching them – “we’re at a point X, our goal is to reach point Y in a Z number of weeks”. We’ve been through a few stages at RightHello – from not measuring anything at the start, to measuring everything we can.


However, there is such a thing as “too much data” – when information becomes noise and you lose sight of your priorities. That’s why we pushed hard to reach the point we’re in now – following over a dozen of crucial metrics, with a few strategic ones added into the mix.


The key is to measure performance consistently and repeatedly. On the other hand, at some point you accept the fact that nothing is set in stone in start-ups. That’s why in this environment, you need to always ask yourself whether your metrics are still valid and informative, or if there are things you should be tracking but aren’t at the moment.

Jason Shen

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

The ability to think across disciplines and both understand and communicate needs + priorities between business, technology, design, research, users and other stakeholders.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


The ultimate challenge of building products is that it is hard to know what will work. You can have an incredibly well engineered, beautiful, and user centered product and it can still fail. Running a good process is how you steady a team’s morale – keeping it up when things don’t work, and not getting cocky when it succeeds wildly.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

The most important measure of productivity is time my team spends working in alignment, with a clear understanding of expectation and goals, on efforts they believe will have major positive impact.

Paul Yokota

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

Dedication to continually learning about your customers. Customer needs are constantly evolving with new technology, trends in your market and even their level of familiarity with your product. The worst thing a PM can do is to decide they know everything about their customers.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

The key way to measure effectiveness, regardless of what kind of product you are building, is in terms of validated learning. A feature that fails isn’t waste if you learn how to deliver more value to your users. Optimizing this kind of “ROI” requires validating your work as early as possible (putting early prototypes in front real users, for example) and being disciplined about closing the loop and measuring the impact of what you ship.

Katz Boaz

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

The ability to know when to say “Yes” and when to say “No”.


Usually, everyone is saying that the PM needs to know when to say “No”. I personally love to have a positive attitude, so the first answer I try to give is “Yes, but I need to check it deeper.” After this you can come back with a great “No” answer.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


The biggest challenge is prioritization. You can read my take here:

Prioritization is Hell.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

We have a process where we score our performance from 1-5 by the different stages of the Product Manager work for every feature delivered (Brainstorm, defining KPIs, UX quality, Speed of work etc).

This enables us to understand where are the weak points we need to work on.

Beata Zielinska

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

Listening to the each part of the team involved in the product development and the ability to add priority to each voice, depending on current goals.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


Lack of technical background is the biggest challenge for me. I have learned that specifying new features and talking to developers about them is sometimes very difficult. From the developers perspective, there must be a will to listen to what the non-technical person wants from them. Only when two sides understand very well what the new feature is for and how it should work, there is a chance that the project will go quickly and smoothly.


In other words, team cooperation happens only when each side is able to listen – be curious and ask questions to understand the other person’s perspective no matter what is his or her background experience.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

In Sotrender, we use agile methodology in product development. The features, which are the most important to develop from product perspective, are our Sprint goals. We spend time on specifying these features trying to describe how the feature should work, while at the same time looking at it from technical perspective.


If our estimations are fine, then we release the new feature in the predicted timeline, which means the whole team worked effectively on planning and execution of that plan.

Michal Stefaniak

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

One of the main qualities that a product manager should have, especially in a small company, is the ability to effectively handle multiple tasks at the same time. When your business is growing quickly, you have to not only keep track of a lot of data, metrics and issues, but also be able to think in broader terms and maintain a vision. So, to answer your question – a good PM needs to be great at multitasking.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


The biggest issue for our company, which is a B2B SaaS, is lowering the barrier to entry – namely making the onboarding experience as easy as possible. Our main objective is to make the initial experience as smooth and inviting as possible, so that users actually use the app and input some data into it.


On the other hand, users expect our software to be modular and feature-rich. Reconciling our app’s broad scope and ease of use is hard, but the overall lesson is clear to me – usability, especially as experienced during the first few minutes after signup, is king.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

Both at InvoiceOcean and Sugester, we consider our work effective when our customers are satisfied. Satisfied customers are happy to pay for our services, and also likely to recommend them to their friends. Our notion of effectiveness is centered on customer satisfaction.


Sugester, which is our newest project, allows us to easily track and measure customer happiness after every interaction. This is our main metric – our experience shows that customer happiness is always soon followed by increases in revenue.

Lauren Nham

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

The ability to identify and capture value. This translates to discovering value for customers and stakeholders, making tradeoffs and determining the best path to bringing these to life.


Product Managers are often tempted to focus on delivering value to internal stakeholders, the squeakiest wheel or the de facto “HiPPO” (highest paid person’s opinion). Moreover, companies with nascent Product practices often treat Product Managers as glorified project managers who focus solely on delivery.


A mature Product-focused company dedicates equal if not additional time and resources to Product Discovery who we’re building for and why) to optimize their ROI.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


One of the most understated challenges Product Mangers face is politics.

Most discussions and writings on the world of Product is focused on product discovery and delivery. In my early days as a Product Manager, my evangelism was solely focused externally towards potential partners and customers.


I painfully learned that a successful product launch requires the alignment of sales, marketing and operations – all much more than simply the daily interaction with design and engineering.


To become a successful Product Manager, one must readily embrace the role of the diplomat and navigate the complex web of politics that often arise as interests and incentives may not be aligned.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

Simply put, the Product team builds products and features to support a company’s business objectives. As such, the hallmark of a great Product team is one that effectively (accurately) and efficiently (timely) achieves adoption of the developed feature or product and the resulting conversion (business objective).


In short, common key metrics are development velocity (speed), defect rate (quality), engagement (adoption) and conversion (goal).

Przemek Pipiora

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

Interdisciplinary abilities. A great product manager has to be good at many different aspects. Like an entrepreneur, who takes care of a business he owns: he has to know the market and know the users of his product.


A good product manager is also an evangelist who educates and spreads word about the product all over the world, while thinking about the financial outcome of product development strategies. Only a person who can thrive in this specific kind of environment can be a good product manager.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


The biggest challenge for me as product manager, and a part of a team, is to share the vision behind the product with developers. They take care of the technical aspects and naturally they think mostly about the completed task.


So, the challenge is to make an entire team understand the vision, and why their work is important to achieve business goals our users have. Clean code won’t make users happy.


Product that help users achieve their business goals will. The key to success here is to be open-minded, communicate clearly, and work together so everyone understands it’s not about completing tasks but about building a great product.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

User satisfaction is the biggest indicator if the work is effective or not, and the biggest prize for team efforts. Many people use factors like number of task completed within a sprint or quantity of finalized story points.


There are products with a bigger number of tasks completed, that have no additional value for the user, and that user doesn’t see it as an effective tool. That’s why it’s user satisfaction that is the highest and truest factor. A simple and quite effective way to track it is via the NPS Survey.

Ewa Wojciechowska

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

The most important quality of a good project manager is an ability to prioritize. A product manager must look at a big picture, set realistic goals and know what to focus on at the moment.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


The biggest challenge each product manager faces is the confrontation between Expectations and Reality.


 It’s easy to see a great product in your mind’s eyes, but making it work with resources available is an entirely different thing. It’s not only about creating a realistic roadmap and the execution of your project, but also about flexibility and openness to feedback. One of 13 Toyota principles describes that situation perfectly: “Utilize rigorous standardization to reduce variation, and create flexibility and predictable outcomes.” 


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

We use a couple of metrics to involve all aspects of product management. They include:

  • operations (speed-to-market, product adoption),
  • customer engagement (monthly unique visitors, monthly active users, user/customer conversion rate, number of sessions per user, session duration),
  • revenue (product revenue, product margin, profitability, Customer Lifetime Value).

Such approach allows to spot the problems or things to improve as soon as they appear.

Sachin Rekhi

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

As a product manager you neither build the product nor manage the people that do.


You have all the responsibility for the product’s success but none of the actual authority to get it done. Given this, the most important skill of a product manager is influence without authority: being able to effectively influence key stakeholders on your team (such as engineers, designers, peer product managers, executives) to achieve your desired outcome.

To do this successfully you’ll need to inspire the team, build your own conviction and credibility, and invest in relationships with all stakeholders.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


Looking back on my career I’ve realized that the most frustrating moments I’ve experienced have often been due to ineffective decision-making on the team resulting in heartache over getting decisions and what I believed to be the right decision made.


I’ve realized that to prevent this frustration, you need to invest in the decision-making process itself. How do decisions get made on your team? The best product managers drive this process and focus on establishing themselves as the curator (not the creator) of the best ideas, make sure everyone feels as if their opinion is heard, and effectively communicate the decision-making process itself.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

Product managers are ultimately responsible for the success of the shipped product. Therefore, the effectiveness of the team should be measured based on the success metrics for the product itself. Depending on the product manager’s role, I look for the right acquisition, engagement, monetization, or customer delight metrics that are most appropriate to measure the output of their extended team.

Izabela Piotrowska

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

Empathy.


If I have to chose just one I would say empathy, because it’s easier said then done.


A product manager – a good one – should be able to empathize with the customers. He should understand their needs, pains and problems, and prioritize to deliver the right solutions based on that knowledge.


Sometimes their needs are not obvious nor direct, so he has to know how to talk to people to get that from them. I wouldn’t limit empathy to customers only – A product manager should empathize with internal stakeholders as well. He can’t ignore them.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


1. CEO not agreeing with my product decisions.


What I’ve learned from it is:

  • First, do have facts and figures at hand to back up your arguments. Your desigions should be grounded in data and even CEO can’t argue with data.
  • Second, he might have a point, so why not go over the idea again.
  • Third, have a transparent roadmap and communicate smaller steps you take.

2. Managing more than one product at a time – it feels like you have to know everything, do everything and day is never long enough.


Lessons learned here:

  • Be realistc – no wishful thinking.
  • As buddhist say “If the problem can be solved, why worry?” If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good.
  • Don’t even try to multitask – focus and stick to your priorities.
  • Believe in your ideas when they are supported by facts and confidently deliver them.
  • One person opinion is good for inspiration, not decision-making.
  • Communicate clearly with your team and trust that they can deliver.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

We are managed through objectives introduced by my CEO and it works pretty well in terms of effectivness. You just know what you need to deliver and where to direct your energy.


There are many temptations, other things that should be done, but big objectives help you stay on track. What’s good about it it’s the transparency. I introduce the big goals to the team and we are all in this together. In the end, the effectivness is how close we got to the goal in a given time and at what cost/effort.

Anders Granlund

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

Structure – (being able to structure a vast amount of information).


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


Taking responsibility for a new product line with no backlog associated to it. Learned to build the backlog bottom up, and verify the priorities with a lot of different internal stakeholders.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

We measure the perceived quality of the products rolled out as well as revenue streams and sales funnel forecasts. But the best measure is probably KPIs and other independent ways of measuring our customer satisfaction.

Marcin Grochowina

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

Asking the right questions.


This is the best way to really get to know what a business needs. As a project manager, the most important thing for me was not only understanding the technical specifications of the functionality that’s being added but also how it benefits our customer.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


Probably the frequent problem of getting tasks with unrealistic deadlines. Managing this kind of situation means you have to have very clear communication channels with everyone involved. You might not be able to make everybody happy and give them what they want when they want, but organizing your priorities and learning from feedback can help to get the job done while making sure you don’t let anyone down.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

The Churn Rate is very important here. Hard data can always tell you if your product is fulfilling the expectations of your customers or not.

Generally speaking, we try to develop functionalities by thinking about them in terms of MVP (Most Viable Product) and monitoring the response they get from users. Then it’s a matter of expanding the ones that get the best feedback and highest levels of interest. FreshMail’s experience shows that sooner or later, even functionalities that didn’t get a big response initially can find an audience later. When that happens, we are happy to go back and expand or enhance them on the basis of feedback we get.

Sandeep Singh

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have? (just one)


A PM's gamut of work is fairly broad ranging from strategic product planning to delivery and execution to post product delivery support and evolution. There are many skills that a PM must exhibit including brilliant communication and people skills, business acumen, engineering and design skills and project management. However, one quality that I personally feel separates great PMs from good PMs is excellent decision making. At VWO, we strive for data driven and timely decision making. Be it something as small as changing colour of a button or as major as ruthlessly defining and sticking to the minimum viable product definition, in her day to day engagements, a PM is required to make some key decisions in all sorts of areas. We keep following points in mind while making decisions:

  • A good enough decision today is better than the perfect decision tomorrow. Time is of essence in a fast and agile world like ours.
  • A decision that's not backed by data is just an opinion. D3 – Data Driven Decision making is what we strive for.
  • That said, if you're not judicious, D3 could be a deep rabbit hole where you drown in too much data. We go for just enough data to support the decision saving ourselves from analysis paralysis.
  • A PM has the ultimate ownership and accountability when it comes to decision making. She can seek opinions, but has the power to over-rule if required.

What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what have you learned from it?


As a relatively young company we need to ship product at neck breaking pace. The biggest challenge with this is to ensure that we are not just delivering the product fast, but also product that is the right market fit, i.e. it addresses the right pain points for customers and delights them.


We have learnt our lessons in this area and have incorporated an ongoing cadence of seeking feedback from customers, users, analysts, and internal stakeholders as early as possible in the planning and UX design phases (not in the development phase which would be too late) and change direction as needed. We are currently working on setting up a product-customer council where each PM would nurture a group of ~20 customers and few analyst relationships. This focus group would be key in generating and validating ideas for product strategy, design, usability and pricing.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work? (think ROI)


As hard it is to quantify the impact of PM team, we measure success of PM team as a group and individual contributors within the team against following criteria:

  • Success of the product delivered: the definition of success may vary from product to product, but in general, we measure product success from how much the product contributed towards key business goals and overall adoption of the product.
  • Velocity: 'Just ship it!' and 'If you're not shipping, you're dead' are some commonly used punch-lines within product team. We are an agile shop and strictly time-box all of our major product initiatives. While we are dead focussed on delivering the right product, we also ensure that we do not get carried away with the ever elusive 'perfect' product. A good enough product in the hands of customers is valued 1000 times more than a so called perfect product sitting on the shelf!
  • Process: As a relatively small company with very open culture, we do not want to be slaves to the process. We believe in introducing just enough process to keep us efficient and agile. We practice Agile product development methodologies (Scrum, Kanban, and Scrumban) and a PM's commitment to these is considered a key performance evaluator.

Tomasz Przyjemski

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

One could list a number of must-have qualities like ability to plan, experience, knowledge of the product, people skills etc. and each of them would seem indispensible and of equal importance. In fact I think there is no such thing as a holy grail of product management or a single most important quality. It’s rather a set of skills.


Depending of one’s managerial STYLE, two people can achieve equal success with a very different focus on which skill is predominant or used most effectively. You know, there are many ways to win a war or put pieces of a puzzle together. Having said that I’ll tell you which skill I use most happily. The small problem here is that when I come to think of it I have a hard time giving it a name.


So what I do like doing and what describes my STYLE is learning and then thinking of ways of implementing this knowledge for the product benefit. We are talking here about a mixture of being open for the new, command of analytical skills, innovation and propensity to experimentation.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


Days, weeks and month are filled with a plethora of little challenges. And my lessons learned are their sum total rather than an enlightenment coming from a one big test. When you are in a matrix management environment, the success of your product depends not just on you but on a sometimes frighteningly big number of people. You have to learn to become effective. And that means learn to become a nuisance.


Don’t let your stakeholders, business partners, subordinates and superiors forget what you need from them. Be persistent. Remind them. Call them, email and meet them repetitively. Let them do this thing for you as a price to get rid of you. It works.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

As a team we always set a number of KPIs to observe, They’re indicators if our work yields results. Of course in order to be profitable we also closely monitor our costs. Sometimes it’s very easy, for example if we do an Adwords campaign, sometimes it’s more complicated when we’re dealing with a long term investment.

Adam Pachucki

http://everytap.com/en

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

There’s this one thing that isn’t only important but is the basis without which you simply cannot build a successful product. It’s the capacity to view the product from the perspective of others and understand the impact it has on them. Simply said, it’s empathy. You need to consider lots of different objectives and constraints while juggling solutions until you get close to the point where it all feels fitting perfectly. You need to have desire to understand people (users, team members), technology capabilities and constraints, and business objectives.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


The biggest challenge is rather simple but persistent and it never ends. It’s trying to solve the problem with a perfect solution. What I realized is that it’s impossible to find that holy grail answer. Becoming aware of this isn’t a very comfortable feeling but it enables you to get to a mindset that opens you up to different answers to a stated problem and is focused on continuous improvements.


The issue here is how to recognize what’s good enough and what’s worth being reconsidered but you may solve this by measuring the impact.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

We’re at a stage where effectivness of our Product Team isn’t measured by financial returns as we haven’t yet really figured out how our core metrics would translate to revenue streams. What we did is that we defined a set of such metrics and started measuring tightly the impact of product improvements and new features against them. We try to find those that bring the biggest changes in numbers and spend our time on them until the impact of further improvements gets weaker.


What’s equally important, although more difficult to measure, is open user feedback that we seek and encourage tirelessly. We do guerilla user testing before building a potentially important thing and ask directly for feedback as soon as we start seeing people interacting with it through our monitoring tools. From the very beginning we made an effort to be able to easily monitor core metrics and ways users interact with our product in a very detailed way, and it pays off everyday since then.

Agnieszka Golanska

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

I’d say inquisitiveness.


Product management is a fundamentally multidisciplinary job. Taking care of the business needs and ensuring that the product stays user friendly is not enough. Good management requires an understanding of the technological side, how your product works and how it could work better, how are you able to develop it using the resources at hand, making sure that the status quo you are used to does not hinder your efforts, identifying user preferences etc. – this means neverending tampering, adjusting and keeping your IT efforts up to date.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


This may sound cliché, but accommodating both the needs of advertising business and our readers’. The development of high-quality marketing, which has been the source of many case studies at polish conferences over the past years, still hasn’t changed our day to day reality. My main lesson since day one is that nothing will make your user treat you seriously if you don’t offer them the same in the first place.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

Officially – invariably it’s accomplishing the assumed yearly revenue in an era of nose-diving display profitability. Privately – the lowest possible number of projects without an assigned deadline and every point I can add to our mobile Page Speed Insights score.

Piotr Ziewiec

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

It’s raw intelligence. Person responsible for such complex interdisciplinary area should really understand what is going on in other parts of the company. Others would say “communication skills” but that is the second one.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


The hard thing for me is saying “no” the right way. Colleagues approach me with hundreds of product ideas knowing that I can decide to make them happen. Most of these ideas are not really that good or consider only single point of view, so I have to reject them or put them into distant part of pipeline. The tricky part is to say “no” with respect and proper explanations. It’s easy to just ignore these suggestions, but that kills involvement and enthusiasm of your co-workers which will never come back.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

We have created lots of charts showing us most important metrics. They should always go up, and that’s it, congratulations – you got traction. There are also some more sophisticated metrics connected with ROI but I rarely measure team’s performance according to them. I think that ROI-terror in R&D work is a bad idea, as strict control kills creativity. People prefer safe solutions with proven outcome but limited results, and that is not what I want.

Kamala Kuzmicka

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

The most essential skills for effective product management are communication, ability to prioritize, strategic thinking and good understanding of the user experience. But to be a truly great product manager, I believe it is very important to have passion for what you do. This can’t be learnt – a great product manager is obsessed with constantly evolving their product, is proud of it and excited about innovation and new technologies in their industry.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


I think the biggest challenge for me was to change one way the business worked by convincing key stakeholders to be able to make decisions based on the data rather than on intuition or opinions. Testing ideas and products before they get implemented, in my opinion, is the key to success.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

In an ecommerce business it’s possible to measure the effectiveness of the product with indicators such as conversion rate, average sale value and of course, net revenue. User engagement is an incredibly important factor as well – therefore controlling bounce rate, pages viewed per session and the time spent on site is crucial to understand the success of an initiative.

It’s worth noting every product is different, and depending on the objectives, different measurements have to be used.

Zuzanna Stanska

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

Empathy.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


Finding those crucial elements of the product that allows us to scale it on two levels – expanding the user base and earning more. What I’ve learnt is that you may think that you know your product from the inside because you’ve built it but without constant work on that you will achieve nothing.

Vidhu Saxena

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

Most important quality in a Product Manager: A product manager should be able to sense the needs of his customers and users.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


The biggest challenge I had to face was learning how to promote the quality of content from paid sources, which bring revenue. I understood how to articulate that problem and how to explain the long term benefits of promoting quality over quantity (to my customers).


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

I measure my ROI through responses and clicks on contact advertiser buttons. I need to be able to make some sense out of these.

Malgorzata Traczyk

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

In my opinion, being open-minded is one of the most important qualities of product management – not only in work, but also in private life. A product manager has to cooperate with several departaments, which have their own priorities and goals. Sometimes it is very hard to make everyone happy, you have to be very flexible about it.

 

That’s why it is so important to listen what others have to tell you and to learn from them. When you want to do your best as a PM you have to be a good psychologist and know how to negotiate with people.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


As it was my first time that I had contact with people working in IT department, the biggest challenge for me was to learn how to communicate and provide deliverance to them.

 

Despite the fact that I was studying psychology and I thought I was full of empathy, at first I was in shock. I felt like I was asking questions in Polish, and IT guys were answering in Chinese. Completely two different worlds.


It took me a lot of time to understand what I should do and how. What have I learned from it? That there is no simple way to achieve success. When one way doesn’t go well, there are 10 other possibilities.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

I don’t have a good answer to this question.


Uxeria is a small startup (today it’s 8 people). In our team we have a Key Account Manager, Researcher, Marketer and others. But sometimes I think that those positions are only labels, because these roles aren’t strictly assigned to us. If we have a lot of work we help each other and do things that are not our responsibilities. For example, besides my work as a PM, I also make research, write articles on the blog and do other things. It’s a classic start-up where people have to be interdisciplinary. We don’t calculate ROI for 1/5 time to one person, and 1/10 time to the other.

Our success is a fruit of work of us all.

Valentin Radu

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have? (just one)


I think the ability to prioritize is the most important quality a good product manager needs. And that includes the ability to understand all the demands from the customers and your team and also decide which one to go after, based on data insights.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what have you learned from it?


The biggest challenge we were facing on the product was to understand which features are the most important and need enrichment. In this fast-paced environment of conversion rate optimization, our product has an integrated approach. That's also good, but also bad. Cause there are customers that think if you are doing too many things, you can't beat specialized tools. For us, that meant the challenge of making the product at least better then all of the stand alone solutions.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work? (think ROI)


Looking at the product, first we have the NPS – if the customers are happy, that means we are doing the right thing. Then, if we have a positive ROI for each feature the platform is delivering, if the overall LTV vs CAC ratio and MRR is looking good, that means we are building a healthy product.

Magdalena Sitarek

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

There is very often a misconception that a good product manager knows how a feature is built and what is to be build. We think that might be not entirely true.


Knowledge is important but outstanding PMs are above all great and efficient communicators; as people who manage different people with different knowledge and expertise we have to be able to communicate clearly the vision and the tasks to everyone involved in the project. Also product management is about building & managing relationships between teams, clients & company, between the product itself and its final consumers; for all of which communication is the key.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


Most of managers are great strategists.


There are times though when their most important objectives are slipping further and further away as the day is taken over by significant number of urgent, but less important tasks and bugs. If that happens, it’s good to stop and reconsider your roadmap – what caused the situation, what is the most important at this moment and whether you need to revise everyone’s expectations or come back to the main focus.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

One of the most essential metrics in terms of team’s effectiveness and product (feature) delivery are Epic and Release Burndown charts. These track the progress of development over a larger part of an app. Since a sprint may contain (and usually does) work from several epics and versions, it’s important to track both the progress of individual sprints as well as epics and versions the most crucial for the success of the project.

Nir Eyal​​​​

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

Without a doubt it’s curiosity. A great PM never stops asking why things are the way they are and how they can be improved.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


My biggest challenge in business is staying focused on the piece of the enterprise I can affect while being ok with the fact that so much is out of my control when it comes to the ultimate success of the company. Not worrying excessively about investors, employee issues, market conditions, etc and just focusing on building great product isn’t easy sometimes.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

It’s important to have a guiding metric but I think that metric is dependent on the business goals and stage. Sometimes it’s important to make high engagement the goal while at other times it should be growth or monetization — it really depends on where the business is at that moment.

Bart Kiszala

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

The most important quality of a product manager is the ability to deeply understand underlying need or a problem customer experiences and based on that knowledge provide an elegant and simple solution.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


It’s related to the above. It’s easy to give up, stop too early and never understand a true customer need. Only people who are obsessed about customer can create right solutions for their problems. You should only work with such people


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?


 

Each product release should influence one of two things: customer retention or customer acquisition.  When working on a project there always should be a goal influencing one or both of these metrics.

Lukasz Lazewski

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

Imagination – the ability to see how all pieces work together, how each change fits in or damages the flow in some way. Additionally, knowing how the product has evolved and will develop. That’s why imagination is a critical trait in PM to me.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


It’s super challenging to get everybody in the team on the same page regarding incoming changes and to explain what does and what does not make sense. Mostly  because as a PM you are one of not that many people on the project who can actually see the whole picture, both general vision and all the legacy. However, often PM needs to explain his vision to involved parties so they can understand impacts of the demands that they make.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

We are able to directly see how product team tasks reflect on business team goals and results. A great example is how we can increase the number of marketing campaigns per each campaign manager within the company.


We constantly measure how we can deliver better results in the campaigns (accuracy) and happiness of our customers.

During planning it’s my responsibility to break down the incoming requests from business to smaller milestones and tasks for each developer. We can see product development almost in a real time. Then, we can measure it against the factors mentioned above. Knowing our monthly campaign budgets vs tasks we are able to deliver each month, gives us a pretty good understanding of how our money spend in the product team grows the business.

Luke Deka

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

The most important thing is to be able to understand people and business. As a product manager you’re at the crossroads of sales, marketing, development, customer success and founders. In product development process it’s absolutely crucial to understand and filter all the problems of each group with different interests and goals. At the end of the day, you’re the one who is translating those problems into features and putting them on the product roadmap.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


So far, the greatest challenge in Growbots was our MVP development process. We started building our Dev team from scratch in January 2015 with the goal of launching our platform (with paying customers on board) by May 2015.


That was crazy! We were truly motivated, because we got accepted to 500 Startups (Batch 12 in San Francisco) as the only company without product and we wanted to show the product (with decent traction built from pre-orders) on our Demo Day in May. 2 things which we’ve learnt during this time: first of all our amazing team is able to deliver everything at any time.


They were absolutely awesome, dedicated and they believed in what we do. Secondly, product development takes some time and you shouldn’t develop the software in a rush – long story short software was ready, but not for the customers. The biggest challenge now is flexibility – it’s a never ending search for better and better solutions, redefining the entire reality (product, process, duties in team etc.) over and over again. You need to be prepared for that, if you want to get the rapid growth.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

In Growbots we measure effectiveness of product development in two ways:

  • internal effectiveness, which is connected to the level of teams’ engagement. We need to know how our sales, marketing, development, customer success influence the roadmap. In product oriented company every single person is taking part in product development.
  • external effectiveness linked to the level of product competitiveness on the market and customer satisfaction. Our main goal is to make our customers happy and successful! It means we need to be BETTER than our competitors in any aspect and our decisions on the features are made to optimize our customers’ time efficiency and success rates.

Luke Banach

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

Communication. Crucial part of product owner job is quality of communication – with stakeholders, customers, users and, in the end, with all development team members.


Sometimes, product owner has good news to share („we shipped a new feature”), sometimes has to be a devil’s advocate („yes, you’re right but we have another priorities on our list”). But in both situations product owner should know how to communicate his own point of view and, finally, convince the interlocutors.


Product owner with a great communication skills is also a someone who can motivate scrum team to build fantastic projects. And is the guy who know how to share the ideas across the company and make people involved in every project or initiative.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


To setup vision and roadmap (aka: product backlog) for a mid- or long-term plans. Scrum is lean/agile methodology without any instructions and commitments how to prepare long term plans. In the other hand, mid/long-term plans are important for the product owner to be sure in which directions we should go (as a company). Another problem is – how to build great product roadmap with general ideas but without any detailed acceptance criteria? And how to estimate such ideas?

I’ve learned that such roadmap is helpful and shippable for all company member only when you engage a lot of people, from different departments, to work together on that roadmap.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

ROI depends on our goals. And goals depend of type of the projects. Mostly, we’re calculating:

  • how desirable this project or idea is
  • how can influence on our revenues (for new customers) or churn rate (for existing clients)
  • how expensive is (in hard cash)
  • how important is for us compared with other priorities in product backlog.

David Villaumbrales

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?


Empathy. I don't know If its the most important; but it is, at least for me, one of the most necessary qualities to take forward a project.


Empathy, not only towards the customer needs, but also towards all those involved in the product design and development: towards the objectives of business department, to the constraints of the IT department, to the imagination of the creative department, to the shortage of resources of content department.


Consider that behind those "departments" there are people with their own ideas, needs and projects. The hardest thing is to align and focus all those sensibilities to those who, finally, 'feed' us: our customers.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


The biggest challenge that we've found so far has nothing to do, a priori, with the "digital" product. The challenge was this coexistence with the "paper" product " and the need to work in parallel on both channels –digital and paper– to offer a product that meets the needs of the customer, regardless of their digital skills.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team's work?

 

We try to measure our effectiveness as a team in relation to basic metrics based on the behavior of our customers, and the impact of our product in their daily work. For this, we basically look at the following:


1. Activation


This is, perhaps, the concept that we can establish a more direct link with the ROI we have a line of sight between the product cost, selling price and margin that leaves to us.

  • How many of our clients activate our digital product?
  • How many of them use it exclusively or combine it with the paper?
  • What are the most effective channel to achieve this leap to digital?

2. Use

  • How much time spend our clients using the product?
  • In what way they use it, in what context?
  • How many products use our different kinds of customer?

3. Satisfaction

  • How many customers are having problems with the product?
  • In wich waty and in what platforms?
  • How long we solve it and with what level of satisfaction?

In Use (2) and Satisfaction (3), the ROI is not as clear or immediate. But that metrics help us to identify current problems and future customer needs. This allows us to improve the service we give to them, facilitating the recurrence in the purchase, the use of our products and the loyalty and confidence to our digital proposal.

Luke Miazgowski

https://usabilitytools.com

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

There is no one perfect quality. There are many different ones, but all are related – we must understand our users, their needs, how they want to use our products, and we also must fit to the market.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


Prioritizing – why something is more important than other tasks, for whom, how this will influence all of the users, what is the key value, and how costs and income will look after a product update.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

Through the number of sold plans. Also, we track the number of (solved) client issues (it means people are using our tools). Improvements introduced in right, planned beforehand order.

Hubert Wawrzyniak

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

Being customer focused. Or even customer obsessed. Only then you will be able to create products and services that your users will really love.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what have you learned from it?


My biggest challenge involved speaking with stakeholders (including head of product) about a vision of a product itself and how we should get things done. What I’ve learned from it is – always be true to yourself. Believe in what you do and fight for what you believe in. Even if the final decisions will be different from what you wanted, you’ll be able to keep your head up high.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

It depends on a project. Different features require different set of goals and KPI’s. Sometimes it can be revenue, sometimes number of leads, sometimes user satisfaction level. Once those KPI’s are set and known by all members of the team – they become our measure of success.

Sebastian Przyborowski

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

I feel like answering a question about one favorite movie. It’s extremely hard null


Choosing from some of the crucial skills of product manager like communication, experience, deep understanding of business goals or interdisciplinary knowledge, I would say the last one is most important as it determines proper communication with different team members and a better understanding of business objectives.


It also impacts how good you can hold to clear product vision so  that everyone on board would be motivated and have detailed and measurable targets set up. You don’t have to be number one in every aspect of the product, though you have to understand each aspect of the process.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what have you learned from it?


My latest challenge that took me some time was to quit with micromanagement. This is something that I have inherited from a small team. At the beginning, I had to build every little aspect of our product. Then we started to grow our team and this was obviously a blocking issue.


We are trying to take some things from Holacracy organization structure and place it into small agile teams that are able to manage themselves for most of the time.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

There are two areas that we use to track our progress and measure effectiveness. During production process and after deployment. Before we launch we’re attaching metrics that indicate improvements using the agile methodology and for most common that is time and quality of deliverables. So we are tracking the ability for each team member to deliver and the amount of iterations that need to be done before we can say that the result is close to ‘perfect’. After deployment, we try to set up metrics that are connected to business objectives and are determining overall ROI of work that we have had done.

Maliwan Savage

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?

 

Passion for your products.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what have you learned from it?


Stakeholders, you can’t satisfy everybody. You have to learn to satisfy the majority. Think Pareto in every decision.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team’s work?

 

Lead measure – know how the team are doing (delivering) against the overall roadmap plan.


 Lag measure – the most important measure is the outcome of each change / improvement to the product. You need to know where you are (performance) all the time by looking at the impact it has on the customer experience, the conversion and the overall revenue. 

Marcin Maciejewski

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?


I believe it is empathy. Being an ear to your customers and users is the best one, serving as a Product Manager, can add to the team.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


It was hard (and sometimes still is) to step out of the office and approach regular people with the mere idea of the game we are working on. It is natural that we try to minimize the moments of rejections but it is also inevitable in our job that from time to time we might hear "don't bother me, I don't care."


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team's work?

 

I have a very nice metric which is a number of smiles of the little users. If we spend less than a stuff month to get a 1000 smiles I assume we are fine. And as usual in mobile gaming world number of downloads and time spent in the app go just after that null

John Peltier

http://johnpeltier.com/blog/

What is the most important quality a good product manager should have?


The most important quality for effective product leadership is influence. Product managers have to be able to present a compelling case justifying decisions based upon the right inputs, not their own opinion; and deliver that to the decision makers to drive the product or portfolio in the right direction.


Even if they listen to customers and stakeholders, without learning influence, product managers are merely backlog managers.


What was (or is) the biggest challenge you were facing and what you have learned from it?


Prioritization is both the biggest challenge and the objective that evolves every day for a PM. A PM must be able to prioritize the features needed in a product, but also the needs of internal stakeholder groups.


But if the PM doesn't prioritize gathering enough quality input over the ever present tactical demands, the treadmill can spin for months without the PM delivering meaningful impact.


How do you measure the effectiveness of your and your team's work?

 

Product managers should be measured against the right KPI. One of those KPI should be the number of customer calls or visits conducted.

Beyond that, since product strategy is in place to support business strategy, the product team's KPI should line up to support company priorities–whether that be new revenue, decreased churn, growth of a given line of business in particular, etc.


That was a long read! But a very informative one. As a writer preparing this article for our readers, I must say I’v learned more about Product Management that I could have ever expected.

But, do you think this is the end? There is much more to learn and there are many more experts wishing to join the list as we speak. Expect the list to grow bit by bit every day with more managers chiming in with their knowledge.

What about you? Wish to join the list? Or maybe you have someone we should reach out to? Head to the comments section and talk to us with your suggestions!

Torsten Tromm

About the author

Torsten is CEO and founder of Userpeek. He is an old stager in the online business with 20 years of experience as an online marketer, conversion rate optimizer and UX strategist.

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