Only 50% of tech companies have product plans. The other half of essentially “winging it.” Perhaps one reason for this is a lack of talent within these companies, particularly in terms of effective tech product managers.
Why do tech companies need Product Managers?
To put it frankly, bringing the executive team together in a boardroom to decide (or argue about) what to do with the product doesn’t work. Why not? Primarily because no one in the room really owns the product. Product isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be) the sole responsibility of any single department, it touches technology, sales, marketing and customer service.
A tech Product Manager or Product Management Team makes sure there is a plan in place for the product and they truly own it. They get the required teams behind them, they set the vision and the plan, and they ensure that deadlines are met. They take the lead in product meetings, transforming them from chaotic to productive and seeing the product through all stages of development.
Regardless of whether you’re looking to get your tech startup’s product to market, or expand your mature tech company’s product line, a highly skilled Product Manager is critical to the outcome.
What makes a perfect tech Product Manager?
If you’re looking for a recipe for hiring the perfect Product Manager, this isn’t it. There isn’t one. That doesn’t mean you won’t get your perfect fit, it just means you’ll just have to hire differently than you typically would (more on that later).
It’s a hybrid role that requires both technical and business skills. It’s the Toyota Prius of roles. However, the perfect mix of technical and business skills depends on the company, the industry, the market and a whole plethora of other factors.
However, from our experience working with clients to place Product Managers in tech companies, we’ve noticed a few consistent skills and qualities that successful candidates possess:
- Strong communication skills
- Solid technical abilities
- Even-tempered personality
- Highly motivated
- Driven to win
- Strong believer
How do you hire a tech Product Manager?
Hiring Product Managers can be quite a challenge. You won’t be able to cast a generic net out and find your perfect product manager. Great product managers are not unicorns. They do exist, but you will need to draw them from their current roles and in to your company by really selling the opportunity.
Internal recruiters may not have the connections or expertise to identify the top Product Management talent so working with an external recruiter that knows the market very well and specializes in Product Management recruiting is a worthwhile investment.
Because Product Managers work with multiple teams within the company, you absolutely need to involve those teams in the hiring process. Bring them in to interviews to get a complete 360 view of the candidate.
You also want to see what they know and how they communicate in a real scenario, so get your shortlisted candidates to do presentations on their experience, their philosophies for product management and what they can bring to the company.
“Winging it” is not something you want to do with your product or when hiring a Product Manager.