Product Manager Skills from Four Product Leaders

Jackie Bavaro (Asana Head of Product)

I was on the debate team in high school and college. As a result, you learn how to take an argument or idea and break it down into specific components. For example, you have to take a complex problem and rationalize your solution to the problem with informed recommendations. As a product manager, it’s important to break down an issue into specific buckets in order to come up with the best approach. Said differently, you need to command respect among your peers to be successful. Ultimately, effective communication skills and providing an informed product summary are very important for career development.

Chris Maliwat (Artnet Chief Product Officer)

Through my years as a product manager, I’ve found that agility is one of the most important skills to utilize in advancing my career. Today, the product landscape is changing faster than ever. As a result, you need to be able to seize opportunities as they become available and be mindful of your next move. Many people confuse speed with agility. While conditions may be moving at a faster pace, you should not rush or make a rash decision. Instead, remaining agile in your career allows you to keep up with the times and react appropriately.

Renee Signore (Greylock Partners Executive)

There’s nothing wrong with playing devil’s advocate as a product manager. Too often, it’s easy to get lost in focusing only on the best outcomes. In other words, you need to go through the worst-case scenarios in order to cover all the bases that produce the best product solutions. Ultimately, product managers are in a great position to do this because they have to balance so many responsibilities. As a result, you’re able to consider all possible outcomes and create a well-informed product.

Brian Rosenblat (Goodreads Product VP)

As a product manager who’s worked in many industries, customer empathy is very important to ensure that you create meaningful products. Simply put, you have to get out and listen to people. This includes not only your consumers, but also the people who you work with every day. Ultimately, you have to build consensus within your team to produce the best results. Furthermore, these decisions need to be driven by what your target audience wants.

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