As a product manager, you have to care. You have to care about everything, including things that can be rather problematic. That being said, no job comes without its set of challenges. Let’s look at some of the everyday challenges that successful product managers need to overcome.
1.Knowing when to say ‘NO’ – Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square and Twitter, describes product managers as Chief Editors. As per him, the biggest problem a PM faces is probably to have to edit out things that do not go with the vision of the product.
Various individuals and teams will ideate to come up with features for the product, but not everything can work for one product. Different stakeholders will constantly badger the PM with ideas and emails to implement their suggestions, but only the PM will be able to visualize the roadmap and goals set out for the product. So keeping ‘the big picture’ in mind, the PM should know when to say ‘no’, how to say ‘no, and not get side-tracked by short-term revenue.
2.Storytelling – A PM should be able to engage his/her target audience through his/her storytelling skills. When a product is in the development stages, the kind of story it carries is significant to realize the full potential of the product, and the storyteller usually is the product manager.
A product manager should be able to weave a cohesive story by managing his/her team in a coordinated manner. This can be done by knowing how to spin the story in a way that connects with the various groups/individuals in his/her target audience and inspires them to build the product.
3.Thinking Vs. Doing – Innovation is a crucial component for successful product management. A PM will always be inundated with work, but only through prioritization, innovation and delegation, can he/she stay afloat. Finding a balance between innovation and execution cannot be easy, but has to be done through ideation to be able to fulfill all the responsibilities put on a PM.
4.Pricing & Business Models – Picking the appropriate business model is not a simple decision to make for any new product. There are decisions to be made at every step and multiple analytical approaches can be taken to produce an infinite number of combinations. Choosing the right business model is also difficult. The pricing of the product is a whole other story. Knowing how much a customer will be willing to pay, is a difficult and iterative process.
Making wrong decisions could render all the work put into building the product, useless. With experience and sufficient testing, a good PM is able to make the best decisions for the product.
A product manager’s job has become exceedingly important and has its challenges. However, it also has a lot of payoffs that make the job interesting, rewarding, and exciting.