Mastering Product Management: Essential Skills for 2023 and Beyond

If your products are bad, there’s only so much that your marketing team can do about it. Even if they achieve great initial sales, you must remember that 20% of return customers make 80% of your profit. This means someone who buys a bad product from you will not return. Also, as soon as the first ratings and reviews drop, your business will get annihilated.

This is why product managers make all the difference. It’s their job to ensure that the marketing team can put their money where their mouth is. It’s their job to develop an amazing product and keep improving it to remain competitive in the long run.

Here are some essential skills that a great product manager should develop in 2023 to stay competitive.


  1. Start with market research

While it’s a job of a marketing team to come up with a USP, it’s the job of a product manager to make sure that it’s doable. You need to be the one to verify an idea before it’s turned into a marketing campaign.

It doesn’t take a genius to understand why selling brand-new Lamborghinis for $100 a piece would appeal to the general populace. This just isn’t financially viable. In our exaggerated example, it doesn’t take a product manager to figure this out, but what if things are more nuanced?

You can even use a comparison tool like Draftable Compare for this task. Just list the features of your product, take one for the competitor, compare them, and see where you strike out. Then, double down on this difference. 

What if your marketing team comes up with an idea to add an extra feature to the platform to make it more appealing? It’s a great idea, but how much time, resources, and effort will it cost to make this come to life? This will determine whether such a project is even doable.

Otherwise, you risk being charged with false advertising. While avoiding false advertising may seem easy, you must remember that Red Bull was sued for not giving wings to its buyers. Again, this is an extreme and ridiculous example with nothing to do with product management. Still, it’s not hard to imagine a more nuanced scenario with everything to do with it.

  1. Learn how to do roadmapping

This is the outline of the project for years to come. It must envelop everything from the prototype to launch, post-production, patches, and updates (and sequels). In other words, this is the big picture (the grand plan).

What is even a roadmap? Imagine the development of a video game. Now, imagine the process of adding new features with every update. What feature gets updated in which version, and how far apart are these versions supposed to be? Now, this is just one of the examples, and you can apply this principle to any type of product.

To do this, you need to be good at scheduling. It’s not about the map itself; it is merely a visual representation of the schedule. You must understand how long processes are supposed/allowed to take, add extra time (just in case), and ensure you fulfill all promises in due time.

  1. Improve your communication

In the first section, we’ve discussed how product managers need to be on the line with marketing 24/7 to update the USP and avoid false advertising. This is not the only department they have to communicate with.

You see, the investors and the owners want to know where their money is going and what kind of progress you’re making. This is the job of a product manager. You also need to understand that the technical terminology that the production/development team uses might not translate as well to customers/investors. So, you might want to adapt/translate to ensure the message gets across the board.

Remember that you also want to be professional. There’s nothing wrong with keeping a casual environment in the workplace, but your reports and official communication channels need to remain clean. Some of these messages go on a public record, so be careful and measure your every word.

  1. Set goals and settle on KPIs

As a business, it’s all about the revenue, but being too revenue-focused from the start will lead you astray. Many KPIs (key performance indicators) will eventually lead to a high revenue but are easy to miss early on.

Just take a look at this from the perspective of users:

  • The number of active users
  • Monthly active users
  • User retention rate
  • Churn rate (cancellation rate)

These are already enough to tell you how well your product is doing. Just keep in mind that this growth is sometimes linear and sometimes exponential. Understanding the difference between these two stage types is incredibly important.

You also want to consider the adaptation rate, user metrics, completed onboarding tasks, and more. The overall user activity is easy to miss since you earn the same from the user who uses your platform and those who don’t (as long as they pay). In the long run, this can make a huge difference.

  1. Continuously improve

Your product cannot improve without you. You’ll have to manage new tasks, improve ideas, make suggestions, and even approve ideas from other team members or feedback. If you don’t understand new trends, you won’t be able to do so. With the rapid emergence of new trends, this is not a simple task. Just take, for instance, the role of ChatGPT in product management, and you’ll see just how big of a trend shift we’re talking about.

Aside from these traditional tasks, product management is a decade-old field (some would even say millennia). In other words, there’s much for you to learn and much room to develop as a professional. In the internet age, with so many online resources and courses, there’s no excuse to neglect your self-improvement as a product manager.

Wrap up

Ultimately, being a product manager is an underrated position you don’t hear much about. It’s that one person that doesn’t receive as much credit while things are going well, but when they abandon the project/company, everyone notices the difference. Smart owners/shareholders are more than aware of this, so being a competent product manager will give you all the leverage you need and more career options than you’ll know what to do with. 

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