December 18, 2017

Are We Overlooking the Most Significant Skills Gap in Product Management & Product Marketing?

Recently, I have been involved in several discussion around the most important skills for Product Managers and Product Marketers (Please see my blog post from PCA10 and this LinkedIn Group Discussion) and what’s interesting is that the soft skills always stand out as the most important.  I also recently read a McKinsey Quarterly article from April 2010 and if you look at Exhibit 2, it highlights that the most significant gaps that exist for Brand Managers  is in the soft skills (yes, this is also relevant to us PMs & PMMs), and yet, the expectations for the technical/functional skills are well met.

In general, the soft skills that stand out in all discussions include:

  • Influence
  • Conflict resolution
  • Time management (Productivity)
  • Communications
  • Managing strong relationships with internal stakeholders
  • Leadership

But if you look at where we tend to focus most of our efforts in training and development, it tends to be on the more technical/functional skills and not on the soft skills, possibly assuming that the soft skills come naturally or PMs and PMMs can learn to develop these on their own.   Clearly, both technical skills and soft skills are important and we must make sure as PMs and PMMs, we take time to develop those skills, and if we are PM/PMM leaders, we must make sure we spend time developing these skills in our team members.

As someone else once indicated, the soft skills in life are important to all and are the basis for success in almost all roles, but I do think that these are even more critical for those of us in the PM and PMM roles.


Warning – What follows is a blatant, self-promotional plug!  

How to Be a Phenomenal Product Manager

As far as I know, the only training course offered that teaches Product Managers and Product Marketers how to improve their soft skills is the How to Be a Phenomenal Product Manager course (that I offer in partnership with 280 Group)  In it, we teach the topics of:

  • Influence
  • Time management
  • Working with sales and engineering
  • Conflict resolution
  • Managing your career
  • Importance of clear role definition

 Learn more about the How to Be a Phenomenal Product Manager Course

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