In my career I have consistently worked with product managers. It’s impossible not to doing the cross-functional roles that I do. I have even run PM teams, but I can’t and don’t claim to be some PM guru. That in my opinion takes decades of diverse PM experience, and even then its not a given like in other career paths.
Having worked with PMs though it seems to me these are the things that great PMs do consistently.
Focus on the problem first and solution second. If you are focusing on the solution then you lose sight of the business problem. The business problem is what you are supposed to solve and over time the solution you have may no longer be appropriate.
Don’t allow sales leads to design the solution. Your business stakeholders are experts on the problem, get as much information from them as you can and keep asking why until you are satisfied. They are not however experts on the solution and they don’t have all the data that is needed to design a good solution.
Always make decisions with data. Product managers need to make decisions that are informed by the data. Don’t make decisions on hunches or guesses as they will likely be wrong.
Obsess in a hands-on way with the UI/UX. You are the one person that has had a connection with all the stakeholders. You are the expert on the product. While you may not be a UI/UX designer yourself, you should provide at least some high-level wireframes to the designers.
Define the product metrics and targets at the beginning. You need to be measuring the success of your product from the beginning. Don’t wait until after your launch to get your metrics in place. If you wait until after you risk selecting your metrics with a bias that can disguise an underlying problem.
Actively manage the whole product development lifecycle. A product development lifecycle exists for a reason. It ensures quality and maintains product stability. If you are asked to skip steps or rush development through to a deadline, don’t.
I am sure there are many other attributes of a great PM but from what I see doing these things are the hallmarks of *every* effective product manager. So if you have a PMs that is guilty of not focusing some of them, then it is time for some feedback…