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Managing Product in a Tech-led Startup: Advice from a Product Manager

Jugnu | Dec 15, 2021

I often get asked this question: How do product managers help make a difference in a tech-led company?

Product managers provide the expertise needed to lead and make strategic product decisions.

While it has been said that product managers are “mini-CEOs” of a product, it is more accurate to say that they are leaders at the intersection of business, technology, and user experience (UX). Martin Eriksson, founder of ProductTank, describes the role of a product manager through a Venn Diagram (trust product managers to come up with Venn diagrams as definitions!):

While the diagram may make the role look like a fascinating combination of three departments integral to the success of any company, in reality it only depicts the insurmountable challenge that all product managers face: striking the right balance between all three.

Great product managers are visionaries. This is because the role spans many activities from strategic to tactical and provides important cross-functional leadership — most notably between engineering, marketing, sales, and support teams. From my experience, I’ve compiled a list of notable qualities that are essential to a good product manager:

 

1. Empathetic towards end-users

They feel the pain of the end-user and plan to alleviate the pain.

 

2. Good at Negotiation

They know when to say yes and when to say no.

 

3. Excellent Elicitor

They know how to ask the right questions without leading or influencing answers.

 

4. Collaborative Leader

They never act authoritatively rather they’ll support, inspire and bridge the gap between product people and relevant stakeholders.

 

5. Strategic Thinker

A product manager is a mini-CEO of sorts. He needs to understand the current product strategy and how it aligns with the overall company strategy.

 

6. Passion for Products

Product managers should love products “full stop”. They should be able to identify what needs have not been met and how they can be improved.

 

7. Sense of Design and Experience

A great PM will not only think of the overall design of the app/product but will also design for a better user experience.

 

8. Data-Driven Problem Solvers

They take a data-driven approach to understand the problem and use evidence-based decision-making in their communication.

 

9. Process Optimizers

Product Managers will also find process gaps and leverage tech to optimize the process.

And that’s just the beginning! Being in product means constantly evolving, and learning to stay abreast of the latest developments. In a field where every day brings with it new learning challenges, the list of qualities in a good product manager can go on and on.

 

 

Syed Muhammad Mohamman

The writer of this blog is a Product Manager at Jugnu who loves to eat Coco Pops and Nutty Granola for breakfast. He is a 90s kid and hence is officially part of the coolest generation that has ever walked the earth. Football (Arsenal – COYG), MMA and COD are things he prefers to indulge in if he gets time from work, family and friends. You can follow him by clicking here.

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