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You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for a comprehensive guide that will give you practical tips on how to build a successful career in product management. Some people are naturally drawn to product management but have no idea what it involves. 

In this blog post, we will discuss what a product manager is, the skills they need in their current role and what companies hiring now are looking for in fresh new talent. This blog post will give you a summary of all the critical questions and top considerations when deciding if becoming a PM is right for you.

Who is a product manager?

A product manager is a role in virtually every tech company. Product managers work on the development of a product or service, as well as its launch. The product manager is usually in charge of managing the expectations of his team members, as well as those worried about the launch. As a product manager, you are seen as the go-to person for your team and clients, so you need to be knowledgeable and accessible. He/she is in charge of overseeing the maintenance of products and services. The product manager also works closely with the development and marketing teams to create plans and deadlines during product development. The product manager’s role doesn’t end with the product launch, however. After launch, a product manager must continue to monitor feedback from customers about the service or product and where they see it going wrong. Also, they keep track of the success and failure of the project after launch. A product manager oversees whether any updates are needed for older products or if a brand new version is necessary.

In the tech industry, a product manager is essential. It is the job of the product manager to make sure that a product or service meets the needs and expectations of its customers. Their goal is to ensure the product is being used and to ensure that marketing and financial value is being created for their stakeholders.

Types of product managers

There are several different types of product managers, depending on their level and scope of involvement in the process. There is a range of these roles from “junior-level” to “senior”, each representing a unique aspect of product management.  Junior-level product managers, which are more specific to early-stage startups, often oversee the entire development process from start to launch. This includes gathering company strategy, working with designers and developers to create the product, monitoring its day-to-day performance and collecting user feedback. With more experience, you will be given more responsibility in the product development process

  1. Technical project managers: They are responsible for the success of the delivery of products, such as computer software, hardware and development tools. They will work closely with the customers, engineering and other development teams to ensure that the products are developed in a way that fulfils all customer requirements. They are also responsible for making sure that projects run smoothly within budget and on time. A technical project manager has a background in computer science or engineering. They analyze market trends, identify product requirements.
  2. Internal product managers: They define the product, its features, and its requirements. Their goal is to build a product that meets the needs of the company— not necessarily the customer or end-user. This gives internal product managers a different view than other tech marketers. Internal product managers act as a bridge between engineering and business. They outline the needs of engineering and of business and find ways to integrate them into a useful and usable product. Some internal product managers have to write documentation for their products, which, in turn, places importance on good writing skills. It’s crucial that internal product managers be good writers because they need to communicate the value of their products and services to their target audience— co-workers within the organization.
  3. Consumer product manager: He/she evaluates customers’ pain points, which are problems consumers experience with a product, and then works to improve it. By analyzing the customer’s problems, they can determine how to offer new and innovative solutions that can solve the customer’s pain points. In general, the main job of consumer product managers is to make products and services better for customers.

Technical Skills Essential for Product Managers

The following are the technical skills you will need for a successful product management career:

  1. Develop a strategy for product development: Your path to a career in product begins with your product strategy, otherwise known as your business plan. You need to have a well thought out plan by answering these questions: Who is your customer? What do they value? What problem are you solving for them and why? How do you meet their needs? A good product strategy is a crucial piece of building your product. It describes all of the decisions you make and the problems you solve for your customers. Ultimately, the success of your product depends on this piece. Make sure that you are very clear about your buyer personas and goals for each one. With this information, you can outline your target market, describe how your product solves their problems, and determine how to launch and scale the site in order to reach your goals. Team members will gain a clearer understanding of their role in the product development process with this strategy. In order to reach the most effective results, you have to formulate a strategy and work with your team to ensure that everything is covered.
  2. Understand the basics of product design: You don’t have to be an expert in design, but you should learn enough about it to be able to communicate who you think a product is for, how it can be used, and what key features it will offer.  Product design is the process of converting a product concept into an actual, marketable product. It involves the choice of features, their interactions and their visual appearance. You should also know enough about the development process to understand how long each stage should take and which parts of the design are “must-haves” and which parts are “nice-to-haves”.For product managers, product design is an important part of creating and introducing products on market, since it involves working closely with engineers and designers to put together a final result. 
  3. Know the stages a product goes through during its lifecycle: Each product has a unique lifecycle: The stages that a product goes through when it comes to market are introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. It is imperative that a product manager understands these stages and how they apply to their product.
  4. Have a clear understanding of value propositions: You can’t make a product valuable by itself, since this won’t convert into sales. A value proposition is the USP (unique selling proposition) of your product. It is what differentiates you from your competitors. It is not about the product alone; it’s also about the pain points that you are bringing solutions to, pain points that your customers have. When it comes to marketing your products, you will want to have a solid understanding of different value propositions. You should be able to clearly understand how your product/service contributes to its target audience, and you will need to be able to explain why your product is better than other products.
  5. An ability to analyze data: Good product managers know their data. It’s crucial to use data analysis tools such as Mixpanel and Google Analytics on a daily basis. These tools help you to understand how your app is being used, and this information will help you create a good product roadmap that combines the user’s needs with the most efficient way to reach these goals. By using analytics, you can determine whether the product you are managing is succeeding or failing, and then you can make adjustments based on that data. This will also allow you to make actionable decisions that affect customer retention, virality and gross revenue. In order to meet these requirements, you also need to be able to understand metrics like MRR, LTV and CAC.

Soft skills required by product managers

In today’s global market, where new products and technologies are emerging all the time, there is a lot of competition in the industry. It’s crucial that you have excellent interpersonal or soft skills, as well as technical skills to be a successful product manager. Here are a few of them.

  1. A good product manager is someone who values creative thinking and problem-solving skills and has a strong analytical mind. 
  2. It’s a myth that good product managers must have leadership qualities. Product management is a team effort, and so you need to be able to communicate with others in order to manage them and work well as part of a team.
  3. Ideally, a product manager should possess good communication skills, planning skills, marketing abilities, and be capable of multitasking.

How much do product managers earn in Nigeria?

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a Product Manager in Nigeria is NGN 250,000. In contrast, an income survey by Salaryexplorer indicates that a person working as a Project Manager usually earns around 412,000 NGN per month. The salaries range between 198,000 NGN (lowest) and 647,000 NGN (highest). Included in this figure are housing, transportation, and other benefits. A Project Manager’s salary can vary dramatically based on experience, skills, gender, and location.

How to become a product manager

Below are the steps you would take to become a product manager. 

  1.  Make your career choice in product management. Choosing a product manager position that interests you will help you determine the best way to prepare for it. You could primarily focus on technical skills instead and strive for a different type of PM- like project management. 
  2. Treat your career like a product. Use product management skills to building and develop your career.
  3. Learn more about Product Management at a boot camp like General Assembly or a university. It’s important to understand the nuts and bolts of the products you’re going to be managing. You should enrol in a boot camp or school to learn more about the basics. You can learn valuable skills in managing budgets and teams, defining roadmaps, and developing products. For people who are interested in becoming product managers, there are a number of things they can do, including internships, boot camps, and entire degrees devoted to PM.
  4. Improve your technical skills. You can do this by working on side projects or by learning more about how tech works.
  5. Build a great product management portfolio. Your product management portfolio should show that you have a passion for product management and, in particular, for the company’s product. An online portfolio is a great way to introduce your skills to prospective employers. You should have links to a website or blog, which contain your work as a product manager. Include your Twitter, Linkedin, Github and AngelList profiles to interact with other professionals in the industry.
  6. Create a unique product manager resume to land a position in this rapidly growing field. The first step to creating your perfect product manager resume is to research the skills required for this position and create a list of these skills. It’s especially important to focus on the skills that are most relevant for this role. Once you’ve determined the required skills, create a resume that exhibits these required skills. A generic resume is not good enough for the role of product manager. You need to tailor your resume to highlight your experience as it relates directly to the job that you are applying for. To start, you should look at companies within your industry that have successful products and develop a strategy for writing a cover letter that directly ties your interests into their products and services.
  7. Job-hunting can begin. In order to get a product manager job, you need to be sure that your skills and experience are a good match for the position. Make a list of all the skills that are necessary for this position and start doing some research on whether you have enough experience with those skills.
  8. Get ready for your technical interview. It’s crucial to know what the company is looking for. Practice preparing mock interviews (e.g., find a technical person, prepare questions for them) Prepare answers for behavioural questions (e.g., what were some of the problems you faced during your last job). Prepare answers for anything unexpected that might happen at a real interview.

Conclusion

Product management can be a challenging career. Product managers work with many different parts of the team to get a product out the door. Their responsibilities range from working with a variety of different people to acting as a mediator between various teams. A product manager is constantly wearing different hats because they need to bring everyone together. There’s never a relaxing day at work because no day could ever be exactly the same.

Product management is an excellent career choice if you’re interested in growth and continuous learning. If you love taking initiative and working with new technologies, then this may be just the right path for you.  It is important that candidates know exactly what companies expect of them before applying or they risk wasting their time with an unsuitable employer.

At ParallelScore, we are constantly growing, and we want to help you build your career. We know what it takes to advance in your tech career and we will teach you how to do it. Want to work with us? You can learn more about available positions on our career page.

Amaka Odozi

Author Amaka Odozi

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