What Kind of Product Manager Are You? Take the Test

October 23, 2014

Product Leadership

Product Managers come from all walks of life, bringing with them all sorts of skills, and many different ways to manage product.

Admittedly more a bit of fun than any scientific attempt at profiling, but what does this test tell you about your approach? Pick the options that best fit you to find out what kind of Product Manager you are. And remember, there are no right or wrong answers!

What’s your background?

A: Customer care or support

B: Product by trade

C: Development

D: Business/Entrepreneur

What’s your style for product meetings?

A: I’m a facilitator – I get everyone else talking and bring out the best ideas

B: I set the agenda and bring everyone up to speed on our plans and current progress

C: I base meetings around sound analysis, showing our latest MAU and usage stats

D: I use visual tools to help generate creative ideas and think outside of the box

What’s your approach to roadmapping?

A: Democratic. Stakeholders agree on priorities together – this is everyone’s product

B: Purposeful. We define direction in product and bring others up to speed on our plans

C: Realistic. I ground plans in real numbers and calculate development time for epics

D: Ambitious. Our roadmap drives us to create the best version of our product possible

How do you involve the rest of your business in product management?

A: I take the opinions from all stakeholders and we go with the most supported choices

B: I keep effective control over who is involved, when. Too many cooks spoil the broth

C: I work primarily alongside the development team to establish the best course of action

D: I work closely with my CEO and we brainstorm the most innovative ideas

What’s your take on customer feedback?

A: I speak to customers daily. These relationships are key to understanding our product

B: My role is to translate what customers say they want into what they really need

C: A/B tests and activity metrics give me the best insight into my customers’ needs

D: Feedback is essential, but product vision must have the final say in roadmap choices

How do you determine success?

A: I’ve done a good job when my customers are happy and my team is able to succeed in driving business for our company

B: Success as a product manager is all about getting things done. It’s important to be a doer to turn nice ideas into real products

C: KPIs and quantitative metrics are at the heart of my processes. I’m continually testing and experimenting to find new ways to improve

D: Success for me is market share. It’s key to the long-term success of our business that we’re at the cutting edge and that we won’t be overtaken tomorrow by a competitor

And the results…

Mostly As: The Listener

You’re great at putting customers at the heart of product management and are likely very good at gathering frank feedback. You appreciate that product is important to everyone in your business, and tap into the insight that your colleagues have to offer on the future of your products’ development.

Watch out for becoming “The Journalist”

Listeners should watch out that they don’t take their inclusive approach too far, and actually take a back seat in product management. It was Dave Wascha’s talk at this year’s Mind the Product conference that was the original inspiration for this post. He told us “don’t be a journalist” – although the insight and input of the rest of your team is hugely important, it’s equally important that you take an active role in decision-making.

Mostly B: The Strong Leader

You take a strong direction on your products’ evolution, and a purposeful management style when it comes not only your own team, but taking that product direction to the rest of your business. You’re good at resisting irrelevant pressures and aren’t afraid to make difficult decisions in order to do what you know is best for your product, and your business.

Watch out for becoming “The Authoritarian”

Strong leadership is important for a product manager, but be careful to avoid taking this to extremes. While you need to be clear on boundaries, product is the concern of every stakeholder in your business. Should you shut them out not only would you lose an important source of inspiration and support, but you ultimately need their buy-in to succeed in delivering your product strategy.

Mostly C: The Analyst

Your thoroughly analytical approach to product management means that you grasp the importance of lean and experimental methodology. You always know where you stand and bring realism to the table amidst product discussions. And in all likelihood, you’re continually building upon results too.

Watch out for becoming “The Techie”

Your analytical skills and technical understanding are invaluable in helping you to work effectively alongside your development team to understand the “how”. But remember that your role is very different. The “techie” product manager risks losing sight of the “what” and “why”. Are you sure you’re optimizing for the right thing? And don’t forget that you have an entire team outside of tech that not only needs your support, but can support your work too.

Mostly D: The Innovator

You think big for your products and business. You live and breathe your product vision and your passion for turning that into reality never falters. You have a creative approach to customer problems, and you’re brave enough to go for the option that’s going to shake up the market and make the biggest impact.

Watch out for becoming “The Dreamer”

It’s important that you’re able to think of creative ways to tackle your customers problems, but don’t forget to seek innovation elsewhere. Make sure to ground your decisions in proven concepts if you’re to avoid becoming “The Dreamer.” The Dreamer risks missing the small, evolutionary – rather than revolutionary – stuff that’s important to the customer. Great ideas are the making of great products, but a balance between vision and realism is key to success.

 


 

What are your thoughts on the skills of a good product manager? Did we get you right or did we get you all wrong? Discuss with us in the comments below or on @prodpad

Janna Bastow is co-founder of ProdPad, software that helps product managers plan and deliver better products. Janna also organizes ProductTank events around the world, including Mind The Product, a global community of product managers. She likes to inspire great product conversations by asking: “What problem are you trying to solve?”

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Charles
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Thanks Janna, great little questionnaire! I was equal amounts of A,B and D, guess that a spread is rather a good thing, and maybe points out that I should spend more attention to data (although I do have a specialist data/analytics person in my team).
Would be great if you could make it into an automated quiz… but no biggie.

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