Given the ambiguity around the day-to-day responsibilities of product management, it can prove incredibly difficult to pin down the skills that product managers must use in their work. This often results in product management being described as a mish-mash of the skills used in other, easier-to-define roles. A little bit of coding, a pinch of business acumen, some user experience design, and—voilà!—you’re a product manager.
As we discuss in this chapter, the connective work of product management requires its own set of connective skills. Defining this set of skills helps carve out a place for product management as a unique and valuable role, and provides much-needed day-to-day guidance for how product managers can excel at their work.
Insofar as there is a commonly accepted skill model for product managers, it is often positioned as a three-way Venn diagram (Figure 2-1) between “business,” “tech,” and “UX” (user experience):
I have seen a number of variations on this—sometimes “UX” is replaced with “design” or “people.” Sometimes “business” is replaced with “statistics” or “finance.” I recently saw a job listing from a major bank that asked for candidates who ...