The modern product manager

  • 22 August 2021
  • 1 reply

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Product continues to evolve and mature. From project-centric to customer-centric; from building what we think matters to building based on discovery; and the shift from outputs to outcomes.

What would you describe as the traits of a modern product manager? I’d love to hear your thoughts below 👇 

1 reply

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The Modern Product Manager is passionate.

They has the ability to recognize if they’re in the right seat, and if not, make a change. As you point out @scott.baldwin, product has transitioned to emphasize outcomes instead of output. If the PM isn’t somewhat emotionally connected to the outcomes, they won’t be as adept to solve the problems. Additionally, if the MPM is not passionate about the organization for which they work, why work there at all? The MPM should go and find the organization profile that is right for them.


The Modern Product Manager is aware

MPM’s are flooded with input from all directions. As organizations claim a desire to be ‘data driven’ the fact is that the data is always subject to interpretation. This results in an MPM’s world being in a state of constant organized chaos from formal and informal data points. They must be aware of what data is important, what is not and what data has changing value. 


The Modern Product Manager is stable.

Given the constant stream of input, the MPM will rarely truly be able to make the perfect decision every time. This will result in second-guessing from outsiders and from the MPM themselves. A firm handle on self-confidence and never being emotionally too high or emotionally too low can keep them from over-reacting the next time. Trust the processes that you have in place, adjust them over time for better outcomes and keep moving towards the goal.


The Modern Product Manager is decisive.

MPM is a leader, and leaders make decisions. The MPM must be able to assess a situation and actively decide what to do next. By being aware and stable, even the ‘wrong’ decision isn’t fatal. There is always time to course-correct, but you must take the first step.


The Modern Product Manager is empathetic.

Every stakeholder wants something for a different reason. MPMs need to empathize with all of them in order to effectively communicate with those who may not get what they want. This is most obvious when dealing with an individual salesperson who needs something done to hit their quota. The MPM must understand that individual’s situation, but also understand the organizations goals and how decisions affect both. Having a deep understanding of all the worlds in the their universe can radically affect an MPM’s effectiveness.