“You have the Power to create Something from Nothing”

That’s what almost all Product Managers I’ve run into the last five years say as the number one reason for doing what they do.

The intriguing thing is that whatever type of Product Manager they are, there are several common characteristics that all of these professionals share.

Here is a list of seven distinctive characteristics that I have run into, which tend to repeat themselves across industries, products and locations.

  • PM’s I’ve met have enough skills and experiences to be effective in many, different business areas in a tech company, but are only true specialists in a few depending primarily on where they come from (i.e. Engineering, Marketing or Data Analysis). Therefore they are able to engage with their teams in the correct context at the right time. So trait number one is being an extreme generalist, in their view of the world.
  • The highly effective PM’s I know are running a business venture, not just a product, and they are fully aware that the former requires constant adjustment, since both the external and the internal environment is fluid. They are always thinking of new opportunities and weighing those against the priorities of the past, even if the past was this mornings’ team stand-up. As a result they tend to be masters of prioritization.
  • The third distinctive characteristic is that they say “NO” a lot. The typical ratio betweenNO” and “YESat any given point in time is usually 10 to 1, not because they are rigid but because the need to keep focused on the end-game, of delighting their customers.
  • Having a deep passion for their product, is an impossible to miss trait shared by many. Unless you are thinking about your product when you wake up in the middle of the night, you probably aren’t a highly effective PM.
  • A highly effective PM knows which is the right amount of time to spend on the Past, the Present, and the Future and when to shift their focus between what we did, what we are doing now and what we will do tomorrow.
  • As a PM they are always selling your product, which means that they are actively seeking out quality customer feedback on a regular basis regardless of the setting, whether that’s an industry conference, a local meetup, or your next door neighbor.
  • Continuous personal learning and professional development is the last but not least shared trait by successful PM’s, I know. He/she knows that they don’t know everything, and they strive to proactively address their limitations in order to make the right decisions for their product, aka when they see a gap in their skill-set & knowledge they fill it up.

These are the things I have learned and observed from talking to a new breed of emerging professionals, which have built digital products customers love and will continue to do so. Want to learn more on how-to-do, drop us an email and we will be happy to share our knowledge and insights with you!

For Hippocampus.io,

Christos Lytras – Managing Partner

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