As a Product Manager, your job is to make sure the tech team is building the right product – and building it in the right way.
Although you will need to have technical conversations with the tech team, you don’t need to be the most technical person in the team. Rather, you need to complement the skills of the tech team by using skills that specialized developers may not have.
As well as having excellent soft skills – like being a good communicator and having excellent persuasion skills – there are some very concrete technical skills you’re going to need to start a career in product management.
Here are five important things to learn before embarking on a new career as a product manager:
- Conduct structured research and design experiments
Life is too short to build a product that nobody wants. The product manager must ensure there is a product vision and the whole team is clear on it and believes in it. Behind any good product vision is solid product research. In order to know how good an idea is, you need to research the competition, identify a market segment and find and interview potential customers and develop target personas.
- Wireframe a prototype
Prototyping will become second nature when you start working as a product manager. Building a wireframe prototype will help stakeholders understand, visualize and give feedback on your product. It will also help you to validate that the essence of your solution resonates with customers before you start building the product.
- Build a product roadmap
Roadmaps help you define and share the direction your team will take in order to make your product vision a reality. Using tools like impact and story mapping will help you create a goal-oriented roadmap that shows how you will get there. There’s an art to building a functional roadmap and this is something you’ll need to master.
- Write agile requirements
Once a roadmap has been agreed with major stakeholders, it’s time to break down the major parts of that roadmap into individual features. In order to define the details of a feature to be built, product managers must be able to translate requests into user stories and acceptance tests. You also need to be able to write all of the documentation surrounding your product, whether that’s for your team or for your non-technical clients and colleagues.
- Map out data structures with UML
Most of our lives are spent weaving in and out of systems, whether you realize it or not (think public transport, doing the groceries), so you won’t be surprised to learn that this also applies in tech. You’ll need to map out the systems that work together in order for your product to function and UML (Unified Modeling Language) will help you with that.
If you’re interested in starting a career in product management, OpenClassrooms offers a degree program to prepare you for that. Whether you’re about to join the workforce or are looking at a career change, you can get qualified in just one year and benefit from our job guarantee.