Product management best practices (with soft skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 November 2021

Creating effective products can help companies grow their customer base and sustain existing customers. To understand how to maintain this for a successful business, product managers typically have adequate product management skills. Knowing the best practices and how to implement them can help you determine how to best prepare your team for success. In this article, we learn about the product management best practices and the soft skills you can use as a product manager to be successful.

Product management best practices

To understand the product management best practices, becoming familiar with the role of a product manager is important. The product manager is responsible for managing the team that creates a product. This includes all stages of its production, including development, marketing, pricing and launching. This position also changes based on the size of the organisation.

A start-up company may give the product manager a significant number of tasks and a wide range of responsibilities. A product manager in an established business may have a more refined role. Accounting for the size of the organisation could indicate your range of responsibilities. The best practices of any role are the established set of guidelines and procedures which you could adhere to for maximum success in your job. Here are 10 best practices for product management:

Have fluid vision

Being able to manage a product from the development stage to the customer purchase stage can be an extensive process. Remember the original vision that you had for the product. This could help you recognise if you are on track to produce the product that you had originally intended to or if you have diverged from that plan along the way. Allow your vision to evolve during the process. If you find out that your plan may not work, allow yourself the freedom to develop the vision so you can produce the best product possible.

Related: Product manager interview questions (with sample answers)

Form good relationships

Your job as a product manager could require leading a large team or working with many stakeholders outside of the company. Forming good relationships with colleagues and clients could make your job easier if you decide to sell your product in the future. Forming strong professional relationships could require improving your communication and interpersonal skills.

Communicate with your team

This role is not only about the success of the product. It is also about how a product manager guides their team, collaborating to make the product a success. Communicating effectively with your team members could improve your efficiency as a manager. This allows you to describe your ideas thoroughly or delegate responsibility more effectively. Having excellent communication skills may also mean that your team respects you and your decisions, resulting in a more positive working environment.

Related: Top strategies to define your team's roles and responsibilities

Plan effectively

Try to plan every part of the production process. There are many stages involved in producing a product, and knowing the details of the next stage could help you improve the efficiency of the process. Determining what you would like to achieve from your product could improve the overall success of the process. Having a detailed plan could also mean you stick to a more rigid timeline and avoid missing deadlines. Consistently sticking to deadlines may help you impress your manager or external stakeholders.

Understand the market

You can create your product for a specific function or purpose. Knowing the reason and market behind this purpose could help you design and make a product well. Understanding the market could improve the product as you know the other items available to consumers and the specific gap in the market that your product can fill. Knowing what products are good, bad, old and new could also help the design and marketing processes.

Understand how to advertise the product

The management process doesn't end once you design the product. Marketing the product so it sells well is part of a product manager's role. Having a good understanding of the target demographic, where they shop, what they watch and why they need the product is a good way to begin the marketing process. This could determine where you could sell the product for maximum revenue and where you could market the product for maximum exposure.

Understand the customer

Before designing the product, conduct some market research. This includes researching who the target customer is, what they demand from a product and the design that they would consider most appealing. Market research involves talking to potential customers about what they need and what they want. You could also conduct market research after making the product. This can help you understand what the customer likes and dislikes about the product. This gives you insight into what you can change about the product or thoroughly describe during the marketing stage for maximum sales.

Use the product yourself

Take the time to use the product yourself if you can. Using the product can give you a deeper insight into its functions and how it might perform for customers. This could lead to making improvements to the product that you wouldn't have considered previously, potentially improving its overall success.

Consider outside opinions

You are most likely working with a large group of people in the company. These colleagues could have valuable insights into different areas of production or opinions about your product, which they could share. Consider asking your colleagues for their professional opinion to help bring in as many perspectives as possible. This could help your product become successful and sell well.

Related: What does collaboration mean in the workplace?

Don't rush the development

You may have an excellent product and may be very excited about the product and want to sell it as soon as possible. It's important not to rush the development stages. You may miss out on a crucial detail or design quality if you don't sufficiently develop the product. Try to make the product as user-ready as you can rather than rushing its release and having a less finished result.

Soft skills for effective product management

Any product manager is more successful with the help of their pre-existing soft skills. These can make you better at working with and leading a team and also improve the product itself through your approach to working. Here are five soft skills which could help you work as a product manager:

Communication

Much of product management requires good communication skills. This could be in working with your team or working with outside stakeholders. You may present to your employers about the progress of the product or discuss the product with colleagues in different departments of the company. All of these interactions would benefit from good communication skills and taking time to improve your communication skills.

Related: How to improve your communication skills

Leadership

The main realm of a product manager is in the job title: management. This could mean that you manage the team which develops the product, then oversee its production, marketing and sales. By having good leadership skills, you may be able to more successfully communicate your vision, delegate responsibilities and direct the future of the product. Good leadership skills could also bring up the morale of your team, which may improve their work and the overall quality of the product.

Organisation, time management and multi-tasking

These three skills are highly beneficial to any person working in a management position. Organisational skills could help you understand the direction of the product and what you and your team may focus on next. Time management skills could mean that you keep to deadlines so there are no delays in getting the product to the next stage of the production process. Multi-tasking could mean that you can work on multiple aspects of the process simultaneously and improve your productiveness.

Related: Product manager skills: 15 essential hard and soft skills to develop

Negotiation

As a manager, your work could include negotiation with other people. This may be within the company, for example negotiating more time for an area of the production process or a higher budget, or outside of the company, for example negotiating an aspect of advertising. Good negotiation skills could improve this area of your work by allowing you to communicate your point effectively and get the best for your team and for the product.

Adaptability

You may have a vision for the product. Being adaptable could improve your working life and overall skill at the job because you could recognise the need for a change and allow the change to happen. This could be in anything from the target market of a product to the design. Adapting to changes could make your working environment more dynamic and may even improve the product in the long run.

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