You probably heard this any now and then “How do I know that this person is a good product manager?”.
It’s a simple question with many different answers, some going as long as a short novel.
Here’s my rule you can use to quickly give a thumb up or down:
For any product manager, the most important product she manages is her person.
Like any product you’d judge you look things like:
- UI – the way she presents herself (dress, walk, talk,…)
- UX – is there some structure behind her talking, is it going deep enough because she looked at the problem from different angles?
- Market fit – does she have all the traits a PM should have? If not, do you see the potential to grow the missing ones?
- Quality & customer satisfaction – what’s her track record? What amazing things you can find in her past? What former colleagues have to say about? What customer have to say about her products?
- Competition – how does she play with the rest of the product team? Or with other PMs?
- Roadmap – what’s her destination? Why is she doing PM now? To get where and why?
You’d be surprised how easy is to get to an answer if you approach a prospective hire from this angle.
Why would you trust the future of your product to someone who’s not able to articulate why she is a PM and where she wants to be 5 years from now?
It is that simple: if the person doesn’t treat herself as the most important product then she is not a great PM. And it is OK; because maybe for your product you don’t need a great PM :)