148: How To Improve Your Fundamental Product Management Skills

148: How To Improve Your Fundamental Product Management Skills

What’s the first skill you should teach a new product manager?

Carl Vellotti asked this question on LinkedIn a few months ago. (I can’t actually find the post, unfortunately.)

My answer was about learning to do inquiry – asking good questions. I’ve covered this on the podcast before, in episode 114: Great Questions for Market Discovery.

But of course, there are other skills, aptitudes, and characteristics that product managers need to be good (not even great – these are table stakes) at the job. And in this episode I share some of those, and how to get better at them.

Three things you can start doing today

  1. Take Ryan Gottfredson’s Mindset Assessment.
  2. I highly recommend taking the Clifton Strengthsfinder assessment (the link is to the book, which you buy to get the code to take the test) to find out your strengths. Once you’ve done that, check out Lisa Cummings’ Lead Through Strengths podcast for some guidance on how to use what you’ve learned.
  3. For an even more detailed assessment of your aptitudes, check out the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation’s two-day aptitude test. It’s pretty amazing and revealing – also not cheap at about $800. You have to do it in-person – unless they have a remote option now since the pandemic. In any case, put it on your wishlist for the future.

Even more stuff!

If you want to learn to tell your own stories better – make them more exciting, engaging, and persuasive – check out my online course on “Telling Your Own Stories.” Go to secretsofpm.com/masterclass to sign up.

I mentioned my book The Secret Product Manager Handbook in the episode. If you’d like to check that out (it’s pretty good!), you can find it on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle form.

I have a bi-weekly product manager meetup that I’d love to invite you to join. It’s Fridays at 8am Pacific time/11am Eastern time, and it’s free. Sign up to get on the notification list and I’ll send you an email reminding you one or two days before each meetup.

Support this podcast

  • The easiest and best way to support the podcast is to leave me a comment or question, or drop one into my Twitter mentions (I’m @nilsdavis), or just send me an email at nils@nilsdavis.com.
  • You can also rate and review the podcast on Apple iTunes – that really helps others find it.
  • And you can just share the podcast directly with your product manager friends – they’ll probably really appreciate it!