The hard skills needed to become a great product manager

Product management is as much about the soft-skills (of negotiation, articulation etc) as it is of the hard skills. In fact, on a daily basis – it is a ‘hard job’ with different hard skills needed to move up the ladder.

While the answer for hard skills might vary depending on your industry, here are a few hard skills you’d definitely need to become a great product leader.

1. Analytics

I am not referring to an analytical tool and becoming a master of it, but you’d really be needed to fall in love with analytics and in love with data. You should be playing with data, using it to articulate your hypothesis and in order to do all of this, learn to analyze data and look at it from different perspective.

2. APIs

Do I need to learn coding to become a great product manager? It depends on the company/industry you are part of, but the least that you should be playing with is APIs.

A product leader, these days has the liberty of not building everything. But instead, ride on existing solutions to scale up the development process. You’d need a greater understanding of APIs and how they work / systems they interact with and different input and output formats; in order to build a great product.

Understanding API is the least, a (non-tech) product manager should be doing to understand the product better. Eat JSON for your breakfast.

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3. Excel

Seriously, you should really learn how to use spreadsheets (am using the name “excel’ in a loose manner here). 90% of roadmapping / tracking can be done using Excel and you should really be comfortable playing with the many options Excel offers. In fact, Excel/spreadsheets is one of the most un-hyped PM tool.

What’s your take?

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