I especially liked TimthePM's blogs on his story and his own survey about getting into product management.
This week I'd like to discuss the essential skills for these careers. Every job posting has a bunch of things listed for the skills desired. This excerpt is quite indicative of what I've seen in job postings:
"...a deep understanding of both the technology space and the business context, a highly intelligent and strategic mindset, a creative marketing instinct, combined with “six-sigma” execution ability."
I'm not exactly sure how anyone measures these attributes, let alone discovers them in a job interview, but this is an ideal view of either role.
Here is my short list of essential skills anyone in either product management or product marketing needs to have.
- The ability to Write
If you can't put coherent thoughts into readable sentences, then this isn't a career space for you.
- The ability to Present
You have to be comfortable, effective and engaging presenting either in front of small groups - as in a sales setting - or to executives or to analysts or to large groups. Period.
- The ability to Analyze
This can be either quantitatively or qualitatively, but you have to be able look at all the data you have and make supportable conclusions from it all. Whether it's where leads are falling out of your pipeline (and why) or hearing the third customer say the same thing (just using different words), you have to be able to figure out what it means and take action.
- The ability to Question
Asking questions - and going beyond the obvious answer to the "So what?" or "Why would anyone care?" questions is another core skill. This gets you beyond the popularity contests to the things that really matter to your buyers or market.
- The ability to Listen
We were engineered with two ears and one mouth for a reason. Both Product Marketing and Product Management disciplines need to be able to closely listen to what people are saying to hear the truth, what's really bothering them or what's truly important to them.
That's my considered opinion. I'd like to hear your views on the subject.
And please vote for my session at Silicon Valley Product Camp. Many Thanks!
Next Up: The paths into Product Marketing and Product Management