Qualities that Make you a Good Product Manager you Might Never Know

Elad Simon Published: 12 Jul 2016 Updated: 04 Nov 2019

Of course, each development team does their best for the release of the cool product. But in the case of a failure, all bombs fall on a single person – the Product Manager. Of course, everyone gets beaten. However, only a PM accepts such failures as extremely fatal. Good product manager bad product manager, no matter, everyone can lay an egg. How to be a good product manager and minimize the case? What qualities I don’t know are there that can make me a good one? These are the most basic questions here.

Let’s see if there are some qualities you might never know that make you a good product manager and how their development will do in your agile career.

It’s not surprising that everyone wants to become a product manager so badly. This is one of the few professions, where you do not have to necessarily be an expert in a particular sphere. To control the product, you do not need to be keen on creating a data model or write the code; you do not need to know how to design the websites and so on. If you know how –  it is good, but this is not quite obligatory. You can’t possibly become a developer or a designer all of a sudden, but you can become a product manager on the spot if you have a brilliant idea and a clear vision. 

How does it look like to be a PM?

Of course, there is a strong mismatch between what you really are and what people think you are as a PM, but anyway, you’re gonna perform the following roles:

  • a mini-Chief
  • a drive for your team;
  • an industry expert;
  • a prophet;
  • the real boss;
  • and simply a well-paid guy;

No kidding! In reality, the list is endless, indeed. The position of a Product Manager comes with a lot of surprises and challenges and there is no universal recipe for how to be a PM or how to succeed at it, etc.

Well, if you’re not a PM or at least have never worked with someone who was, you have no idea what the real Product Management is and what qualities it requires!  And this requires from you the following:

  • to feel, understand and inform the users, communicate their voices to the developers;
  • to promote agile work teams, solving different problems;
  • to compromise on the product;
  • to achieve the ultimate goal with a fixed time and resources;
  • to lead people towards the creation of the product;
  • to be positive and practical;
  • to make decisions based on a small amount of information.

Managing the product does NOT mean:

  • having a final word in everything;
  • being the one and the only ideologist;
  • being a designer;
  • being a programmer;
  • manage quality assurance;
  • optimize resources;
  • write support marketing materials.

In the case you still see no difference, look up good product manager bad product manager Ben Horowitz and you’ll grasp the idea of the roles and the qualities of each.

4 Major aspects of being a good product manager

It’s common that a product manager should be an exceptionally strong personality with a certain trait set both personal and professional. These traits have a direct impact on forming your PM competence. There are 4 major aspects of work for becoming a good product manager. However, that will be in handy while working out your PM image. Here are they:

1) When you start to manage the product, which is used at least by one user, you realize quickly that your job is not only the product itself, no matter how cool it is. Your job and the primary duty is to understand deeply the problem your product is targeted to solve and tackle every aspect of the problem carefully.

There will always be too many requests to react on and new features to add, and too little time. Too many bugs and too little time, again. You’ll always have something to do. Let’s say you have a product released; the users clubbed around it with a well-developed tactics of interaction, and the company business built around this product. Who do you think you should be to introduce the innovations then? Right! – A Superhero. So, dwell on your superpower.

2) The product is cool only when the users say it is. Management of your beta version includes not only the weekly communication with the testers by e-mail but also talking to them over the phone, chatting, meeting them in Skype or personally and so on. Sometimes, product managers spend days engaged in providing technical support. How’s that? The PM should manage the product, but not answer the incoming calls! Wrong. Initially, it is terribly disappointing, of course, but being in handy in this way is necessary for being a good PM. “Why do I respond to the problems instead of managing the product? It’s communication that makes you the best. So, polish your communication skills and give your charming personal qualities a go.

After you communicate with the users, you find out that the product you manage is not as cool as you have viewed it. What can be worse? Customer perception is the reality, it’s an axiom. With this understanding, you can come to your scrum and communicate it to the developers and designers, arrange brainstorming and make the right corrections.

3) The product manager still is neither designer nor developer. Even if your professional qualities allow you to make some amendments together with these people, the product manager still is not engaged in visual design (especially in a large and professional company). Neither he or she is in coding. Let the guys do their job. Trust them, as they are real professionals of design and programing accordingly. The product manager is responsible for supervision whether design and functionality of the product fully satisfy the current needs of the users. So, another extraordinary quality to dwell on is trust to people you work with. Never doubt their reliability and do not give them up either.

4) Don’t be just a star – rule the whole Universe. Being a manager of the product is about not going crazy because of the word “manager” in the job title. Of course, the decision making is up to you, and that’s the hardest part of the job. But being responsible for all the advantages and disadvantages of your product you are managing at the moment is even harder. If the user does not understand your product, you are mistaken, but not marketers. If the product is released at the wrong time, you are to be blamed rather than product strategy. If you can not find a button needed, you lose, but not designers. Responsibility is another quality to develop. This means ruling the whole product Universe with dignity instead of playing a big star who shirks responsibility at the eleventh hour.


Being a PM means making compromises between the effort your team can take in a set time frame and what is important to the users. In hopeless time chase you will constantly be busy tearing between the team, customers and the business. But the balance you can achieve with certain managerial qualities is already a great achievement.

Now that you have an idea of how to become a good product manager with exceptional qualities, you will definitely succeed at achieving your product objective. So far, feel free to use craft.io for more.


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Elad Simon
Elad Simon

CEO & Co-Founder, craft.io