What makes a great Product Development PM? How do you identify the right person for your project? Here is a list of traits and talents you must look for. If the candidate has all or most of these qualities, you are looking at a good project manager.
You need to get a hundred and one things right to build and sell a successful software product. Recruiting a talented Project Manager is at the top of this list. Get someone with the right expertise, experience and temperament, and you increase the chances of building an awesome product. Fail to do so, and you jeopardize the success of your project.
How can you ensure that the person you are considering for the job is right? You will, of course, look for some common qualifications and skills:
But, if you are looking for a PM who can contribute more to the success of your product and your organization, you will have to hunt for some uncommon qualities:
1. Build an Effective Team
Even when you have a team comprising experienced developers, effectivity is not guaranteed. A team is more (and oftentimes less) than the sum of its parts. Simply recruiting the right talent for your product development effort won’t do the tricks.
You will need a leader who can bring out the best out of all the members of the team. You need a project manager who can align all the actions of the team with your vision for the product. Someone who can build a motivated team and give them the support to achieve their best.
2. Get the Best out of Product Team
While all great PMs do not have the charisma and personality of a Steve Jobs, they have one thing in common: they are able to constantly get more out of a team than others. Find a PM who can continually talk and inspire the team, ensure that each member is accountable for daily tasks, and make sure that deadlines are met.
Such a project manager will help to fulfil one of the most important goals of a product development project – deliver the product without overshooting the time or cost limits.
3. Think and Act on the Fly
Most product development companies are battling tough competition. More likely than not, the PM will have to make several course corrections on the way. Some of them can be big strategic changes.
The true worth of a PM lies in the ability to deliver on time and budget, even when he or she faces obstacles on the way. It is best to hire a flexible PM who has past experience of managing change effectively. Place real-life scenarios on the table, and ask the prospective PM how we would deal with them.
4. Identify and Mitigate Risks
While unexpected course corrections and changes are an inescapable part of building a product, the exceptional project manager identifies and accounts for all known risks right during the planning phase.
Needless to say, this helps address a large portion of the troubles right at the start. At the same time, the remarkable PM actively assesses potential risks throughout the PDLC, and has the ability to take effective steps to manage the risks.
5. Weigh in on Business Strategy
There are plenty of good project managers who pride themselves on getting the work done. But exceptional project managers will not just get the work done – they understand how the product can help end users, they understand your business model, and often come up with insightful ideas on how to market the product, or to improve its effectiveness through more features.
We hope that these pointers will help you identify the right project manager for your product development team. Feel that some important quality that every software development PM must possess is missed? Please share your ideas, experiences and insights in the comments!