Traits of a good product manager

I was asked what makes a good product manager.

The CTO explained they were having trouble finding the right candidate to oversee a key new product and were wondering if an internal promotion would solve the problem.

Knowing he had a hands-on development background, I asked him what he most valued when working as a developer.

“Clear requirements with thought given to business rules and edge cases, sized such that I could code heads down for a few days but not much more than that.”

I then asked him as a company board member, what he most needed from the product manager.

“Transparent delivery plans with any material issues flagged as they emerge, otherwise an individual who can make and own product decisions without his involvement.”

And what about shareholders, what did they require?

“A product that benchmarked favourably against competitors and retained the existing customer base, but not anything significant beyond this.”

These were excellent answers, and the dialogue helped the CTO better articulate what he was looking for in the new product manager.

Could the new product be delivered without a product manager? Certainly. Two people, say a business analyst and project manager, could share the role if they couldn’t find the right person.

If you are unhappy with your development team, they may need more detailed guidance.

Better software requirements can help with this.

Frank Ray Consulting. Software requirements for agile development teams, particularly remote, outsourced and offshore development teams working in financial services.

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