3 Key Lessons from an Immigrant Product Manager @ Tesla
Who is a product manager?
A product manager is the bridge between a consumer’s needs and organizational goals. The role of a product manager is incredibly broad and varies from organization to organization. Their role could start anywhere from envisioning a product, doing the groundwork, collecting customer feedback, conducting qualitative and quantitative data analysis to identifying problems, building solutions, ensuring that different teams of an organization work flawlessly. Product managers play a vital role in establishing a seamless workflow in a company.
In today’s world, this role is very sought after, especially by someone who is creative, loves a good challenge, and wants to be intimately involved in product building. This challenging, cross-collaborating role, while not for the weakest of hearts, is one of the most rewarding roles out there. It is not an exaggeration to say that a good product manager is able to immensely influence the success of a product!
Inspired by Kaushik Arunapuram’s journey as a Senior Product Manager at TESLA, we’ve compiled a list of the key skills required to be a successful product manager.
STRONG COMMUNICATION SKILLS
A product role requires that you connect and empathize in a manner that ensures that your point is received by your audience.
Communication is a critical skill for any job and it is particularly crucial for a product manager. Forming a key link between the customers, the working team, and your executives mean the ability to convey information across these different channels in an engaging, comprehensible fashion. Effective communication when solving a problem dictates that you understand what the problem is in the first place. This further requires relevant technical knowledge and then you must translate this knowledge in a manner that can be easily understood by everyone. It also requires that you connect and empathize in a manner that ensures that your point is received by your audience.
One needs to zoom out and take a high-level overview of the product development cycle and what the problem is to understand exactly where it stems from.
The most important attribute in problem-solving is the ability to break complex problems into simpler, smaller steps and to work on them from there. The key is to be creative and analyze a problem from different perspectives. Kaushik suggests that one needs to zoom out and take a high-level overview of the product development cycle and what the problem is to understand exactly where it stems from. Also, keep in mind that the role of a product manager is very fast-paced, so one has to learn to keep level-headed under a very stressful environment.
The single most important contribution of a product manager is to ensure that the working of various teams stays aligned with the bigger picture.
Effective communication and organizational awareness take you a long way to excel as a product manager. You need to have a deep understanding of your organization and its goals, your target customers and their expectations, your team, and their values. The single most important contribution of a product manager is to ensure that the working of various teams stays aligned with the bigger picture — whatever it may take.
The job of a product manager is ever dynamic, demanding, and challenging. When done right, it is also one of the most rewarding experiences to oversee the birth, growth, and success of your product. It takes hard work, patience, and perseverance to cultivate the skills required to work in such a role. Remember, the secret to success is to never, ever give up.
To learn more about Transitioning to a Product Management Role watch the Interview with Kaushik Arunapuram, Senior Product Manager at TESLA.
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The blog post was written by B.Bandhavya, the associate content creator at TIP. Bandhavya is a full-time Veterinarian doctor from Andhra Pradesh, a state in the south of India. Now that she has her graduate degree out of her way, she decided to invest her energy into rediscovering and cultivating interests that she had to put on a hold for long — writing, painting, traveling, exploring, and eating. She is currently obsessed with historical documentaries while she chills with her fur babies.