The 11 Top Product Manager Skills You’ll Need in 2023

There are many ways to build your technical and workplace skills outside your role. Enroll in a course, specialization, or professional certificate at Coursera to strengthen your skill set—or learn something completely new. Now that we’ve established the essential soft and hard skills in product management, let’s get back to the initial question of ‘versus’. Many priority decisions benefit from objective prioritization frameworks.

hard and soft skills a head of product needs

You read, as if product management isn’t a full-time grind as it is. It’s in a product manager’s best interest to study up on the latest trends in onboarding. User onboarding makes or breaks a product—and an understanding of the basics should be considered one of the primary product manager skills. Your first-of-its-kind, game-changing product will crash and burn if users quit on it after five minutes because they can’t find their aha moment. You can’t expect to nurture casual users into big-spending power users if you don’t have users to begin with.

Analytical skills

As you can see, being a programmer is not only about learning the basics of programming language. To become a good developer and have the ability to become even better, you need a certain set of soft and hard skills, as well. I personally managed to improve many of the soft skills which are necessary for this job. But what makes the product manager’s job so interesting is that, unlike most professions, technical skills often take a back seat. It’s one of very few fields where hard skills are nuanced from case to case, while soft skills remain consistent.

But first, let’s clarify the differences between soft skills and hard skills for product managers. Ashok Bania, Director of Product Management for the popular meditation app Headspace, recently shared his definition of the two with us. To develop a successful product strategy, you’ll need to have basic business skills.

How to Use Soft Skills in Your Resume

Be among the first folks to read the latest marketing updates. Your hunger to learn emerging trends should be unmatched if, in fact, you’re looking to be brilliant in this field. But there’s a lot more to email marketing than these basics. Some of your audience will read the blog, others will watch the video, which is similar to engaging with you or the brand you’re portraying real-time. SEO is a core language of solid digital marketing in 2020 and beyond.

hard and soft skills a head of product needs

Let’s take a look at the hard and soft product management skills you need to take your skillset to the next level. In fact, product managers stated in Pendo’s 2020 State of Product Leadership report that their decision-making process is more reliant on data than instinct. So we agree that data and analytics are essential for decision making.

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Fortunately, this is a highly transferable skill that you’ve no doubt already developed in one context or another. Critical thinking can be described as the analysis of available facts, evidence, observations, and arguments to form a judgment. Most of us apply critical thinking everyday without even realizing—which means you probably already possess this crucial product management skill. You can learn more about what product management is in our complete introductory guide.

hard and soft skills a head of product needs

However, a basic knowledge of code will let you understand the work your technical team performs and communicate the nature of that work to the rest of your team. It’ll also help you understand the work the engineering team will need to put in to make your request a reality so you can budget time and resources appropriately. Of course, there are courses you can send people on to develop leadership skills, communication skills, and other soft skills.

The top 11 most important product manager skills

To be a successful head of product, you must have the ability to think strategically. You need to think through each step of the product life cycle, from the initial design to how to eventually launch and distribute the product. As the head of product, your primary function is to ensure the company’s products meet the needs of its customers. To do this, you’ll likely have to work closely with multiple departments throughout the company. The main challenge in the product management process is to start and initiate the development of a product. As a product manager, you’ll need to analyze market data and understand financials so that you can make appropriate decisions about the direction of your products.

hard and soft skills a head of product needs

Employers typically look for a hybrid of hard and soft skills. Soft skills are more intrinsic to personality and more difficult to judge quickly, but they may be as important on the job over time. Employers and recruiters look for hard skills listed on your resume and during the interview process. It’s best to back up your hard skills with a certificate, degree, or other qualification that shows a level of achievement. Experience is also seen as a qualification that validates expertise in hard skills. Some prospective employers test the hard skills of job candidates.

What types of technical skills are most attractive to job recruiters?‎

Someone interviewing for an editing job, for example, might have to take an editing test. A head of product typically has a bachelor’s degree in business or a related field. They may also be experienced in the areas of marketing, communications and management. An organization’s head of product manages other team members and oversees product development. Learn more about what a head of product does and what the job requirements are. Data analysis is an ideal example of a hard skill you should have to be successful at your role as a product manager.

  • These job-specific skills are especially important because of applicant tracking system (ATS) algorithms used to rank and filter job applications.
  • Your economics skills will be put to the test in times like these.
  • Hard skills help you identify candidates who are good on paper, whereas soft skills indicate which of these candidates are good in person, too.
  • Then use a program like Excel or Sheets to organize your metrics and see how your experiments performed.

In addition, understanding economies helps them have an edge over other players when it comes time to negotiate with suppliers or business partners. There are optimum strategies already in place and therefore the knowledge of the same reduces a lot of learning costs. She spent over a decade in tech startups, immersed in the world of UX and design thinking. She also has an MSc in Psychology from the University of Westminster. Here are six ways to enhance your problem-solving skills in everyday life.