There are good product managers, and then there are good product managers. What is the difference? Good and great product managers are more than competent in the basics, but our research has shown that the top 1% of the product manager goes beyond the basics and also:
Validation of the market: As emphasized in The Lean Startup we move from a PM "knowing" what the market wants to a PM who knows how to determine what wants the market .
Our research has shown that good project managers spend much of their time designing a good product internally; while large PMs concentrate most of the time on the market and use MVPs (Minimally Viable Products) to test their hypothesis on the needs of the market.
Know When to Close the Project: As Yogi Berra put it so well: "The future is no longer what it was". Sometimes, product development projects do not keep their original promises. Knowing when to close a project can be an important ingredient of success.
Most new product ideas start with high expectations, but over time, some begin to fade. Worse, this process often happens a little bit at a time until the day you realize that you have wasted a lot of time, money and energy on a project that should have been killed for a long time. . You are the proverbial frog in the pot of boiling water.
Realistic Budgets: In Great Expectations Charles Dickens wrote, "Do not ask questions and we will not tell you any lies." Ask your product development engineer how many time will take something, or how much will it cost, and you can get wishful thinking. Sometimes people tell you what you want to hear about what you need to hear.
To make good decisions, you need good information. This is especially true when it comes to developing new products. By definition, you are doing something that has not been done yet – perfect information about its cost and / or its development schedule is simply not possible.
Process: Our research has shown that top product managers are more likely to work in formalized product development processes. Large PMs have clear "doors" that each product must go through before moving on to the next step. They are more likely to have well-documented requirements documents. They are more likely to use formalized methodologies when they compromise between the market and the engineering. They informally communicate more effectively who is and who is not their ideal client.
Knowing the Difference Between Invention and Product Development: It takes a rocket scientist to know that cold fusion would sell like hotcakes; However, any PM responsible for the development of such a product is sure to fail. The development of a technology is not the same as the development of a product. Product development involves taking existing technologies and combining them in a new way that meets the needs of the market. If your project requires the invention of a new technology, you may want to think twice.
Decision Making: By definition, the prime ministers made better decisions than good prime ministers. Our research has shown that large project managers have a better understanding of decision-making processes than good project managers. Good ministers made a decision largely based on intuition and "how we always did it". Large GPs had a thorough understanding of decision errors and were able to facilitate collaborative decision-making that was largely free of these decision errors.