What Makes a Great Product Manager in the Technology Sector?

What Makes a Great Product Manager in the Technology Sector?

by Mark Nancarrow in career
Product managers exist at the centre of design, engineering, and marketing. 
These people support the growth and evolution of a business, by helping companies to support and serve the needs of their customers. Creating and promoting amazing products is a complicated job, and today's forward-thinking product managers are under more pressure than ever, thanks to the current age of digital transformation.  

As technology recruitment specialists, Flow Talent has placed countless amazing product managers into companies throughout the UAE. Here are the characteristics that our clients consider to be crucial for candidates in this ever-evolving position. 

1. Technical Skills 

Perhaps the most obvious skill that sets technology product managers apart from similar product development roles is their commitment to the tech space.  

Factors like a company's target audience, the type of product they want to create, and the goals of the business will dictate how technical a PM (product manager) must be. Google, one of the biggest tech giants in the world, requires their PMs to pass a technical skills test, regardless of the product they'll be responsible for.  

For most companies, it's essential to match the technical knowledge of your new PM with the innovations you want to create. For instance, if you're building a CRM system, you'll need someone who understands the customer lifecycle and go-to-market strategy more than you need someone with in-depth coding knowledge.  

2. People and Communication Skills 

All managers need people skills to thrive, and a technology product manager is no different.  

Whether your PM is making sure that engineers and designers know which high-priority projects to work on first, or they're interacting with stakeholders, they must understand how to communicate. Excellent communication is crucial when creating business plans, managing project handovers and making sure everyone has the right information.
As well as being able to talk through the demands of a project with different people throughout the company, your product manager must also show their leadership skills when they work with people. To some extent, this means that PMs must be able to delegate when necessary, while still rolling up their sleeves and getting the job done themselves when the occasion calls for it.  

3. Empathy and User Focus 


Technology product managers play a significant part in building your company's portfolio and setting you apart from the competitors in your field. This means that they need to understand the problem that your organisation is solving, and the needs of your target audience. Amazon leader, Jeff Bezos, looks for use centricity in all of his product managers.  

Look for someone who can build and design with the customer in mind by testing for empathy with behavioural testing or competency-based interviews. For instance, a question like, "Tell us how you would coordinate with your team to serve our customers," will help you to determine the steps your candidate might take to identify client requirements. 

It's also possible to determine how well someone understands your current products by asking: "What are the main problems our services or solutions solve?" 

4. Data-Driven, Agile Decision Making  

Using customer empathy to define fantastic products is only one step in a PM's path to success. These people in your team must also be able to drive execution and make difficult decisions to support the future of your development strategy.  

As technology continues to make an impact on various industries, today's product managers must be able to get ahead of the curve by taking risks and making data-driven decisions for their employers. This often means taking an agile approach to business strategy. During a competency-based interview, ask your candidates: 
  • Tell us about a time when you needed to make a quick and transformative decision for your employer? 
  • Describe how you've assisted other people to thrive in a fast-paced technology environment. 
  • Explain your knowledge of the agile methodology and how it's helped you to make complex choices in the past.  

5. An Eye for Innovation


Finally, now that we've moved into the age of the fourth industrial revolution, companies from all aspects of the technology sector are looking for product managers that can drive change. A PM with an eye for innovation can be the difference between your business becoming a household name or ending up one step behind on a fantastic idea.  

A great way for today's businesses to attract creative people to their team is to promote a culture of diversity and free-thinking. Though product managers in the technology space often have a natural proficiency for innovation, they also need to feel comfortable sharing their ideas with stakeholders and business leaders, and the right culture supports this.  

Let your product managers know that experimentation is appreciated and remember to nurture their creative spirit as they continue to work with your team and deliver new ideas.  

About Flow Financial & Technology 

The Middle East is a dynamic and growing market where identifying top talent and world class professionals for the financial services and technology industry is highly competitive. 

Flow provide an executive search service led by industry experts, geared to any level of role within the Financial Services and Technology Industries. This service is driven by innovative, established and proven research teams who customise each requirement from our clients. 

Importantly at Flow, we meet with all our candidates face to face to gain an understanding of their requirements, ensuring we guide them in finding their ideal role. 

You can download our complimentary guide on how to attract UAE national talent here. To get in contact send us an email.
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