What makes a good Product Manager?

I was thinking recently about the relationship between UX experts and Product Managers, which got me to thinking about what a good product manager is – especially in the world of web products.

I think a good product manager needs to understand the whole scope of his or her product. In the world of web or mobile software, this means he or she:

  • is a technologist
  • is a marketer
  • is a strategist
  • is an entrepreneur
  • is a risk-taker
  • is a visionary
  • is a leader
  • is a networker
  • is a communicator
  • is a presenter and speaker
  • is a thought-leader
  • is a product expert
  • is a salesperson
  • is fluent in web and mobile language and technology
  • understands user experience/user interaction paradigms
  • understands software development methodology and software development tools and processes

(Anyone have anything to add to the list? I’m sure it’s not complete…)

This list, incidentally, looks pretty similar to a list of attributes for a successful startup founder. Is this a surprise? Not really, considering that building a product is just like building a little business, and to be as successful as possible you need to run your product like you would a business.

For what it’s worth, a product manager is NOT (at least exclusively):

  • a requirements manager
  • a project manager (glorified or otherwise)
  • a scrum master

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