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Is Your Product Manager Doing A Good Job?

October 19, 2015

Product Leadership

A few weeks back we published a post about some key metrics product managers could use to track their success. But if you’ve recently hired a product manager – how can you know if they’re doing a good job? Aside from the metrics they’re already keeping track of for themselves, as well as KPI’s and company OKR’s, we’ve come up with a few more questions to ask (and where to find the answers).

Are they moving the roadmap forward?

At the very least, your company should have an internal public roadmap. While we know this isn’t a product manager’s only focus, items on the list should be updated and moved around as priorities change and evolve through time. If items aren’t moving, it’s time to have a chat.

Are they leading their peers?

A product manager’s most important skill is their ability to lead. The best way to evaluate that is to speak to other team members. Do they feel like they’re they being heard? Is their feedback being considered? This isn’t a popularity content. Every company’s PM may not always be most likeable person in the team (their job is to sometimes say “no”… a lot!) but they should still be empowering their team to share and comment on upcoming features and ideas.

A product manager does get the final word on product decisions, but that also means their team members should feel comfortable enough to approach them with their ideas. Everyone from sales to marketing to support should understand the product’s vision, and still feel like they’re being considered. It takes these interpersonal skills for your PM to successfully lead their product’s development.

Are they challenging product requests?

Is your PM showing the right analytical skills? Your product manager should challenge you and say ‘no’ once in a while – yes, even to you! Your PM can’t be a pushover. It’s not a good sign if they accept requests without raising an eyebrow first. At the end of the day, a PM who fires back critical questions is facilitating the kind of valuable discussions that prevent shaky or otherwise questionable ideas from moving forward.

Are they shipping?

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s true. Has your product manager actually shipped anything at all? If your team continues to be stuck in the same ideation stage without successfully delivering anything, then the product manager might not be communicating or leading effectively. Of course, a great product manager must have an equally great product management tool – so make sure they’re using ProdPad!

Andrea is a Product Support and Management expert, technical writer, and social network monkey. An undercover geek with a passion for music, animals, and avid unicorn rights activist, she's always up for a challenge.

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