Skip to content

Elevating Your Product Management Game: Beyond the Basics


In the fast-paced world of product management, the basics are essential, but they only scratch the surface of what it takes to excel. While countless resources provide guidance on data analysis, requirement gathering, backlog management, prioritisation, and stakeholder engagement, this article aims to explore the uncharted territory that separates a good Product Manager from an outstanding one. What elevates a PM to excellence? The answer lies in the synergy of deep product knowledge and an acute understanding of the company. So, let's go past the fundamentals and discover how to transform your role and impact.

Deep Dive: The Power of Knowing Your Product Inside Out

Understanding your product isn't just about what it does. Imagine being in a meeting or receiving an email with requests like, "Can we just..." or "Why don't we automate this process?" A PM who truly comprehends the product, its technical constraints, and its capabilities can immediately provide insights into the feasibility, risks, and considerations involved. Providing this feedback in real time, without needing to run tests or ask a developer can really build credibility in a PM.

Beyond Technical Know-How: Becoming an Expert User

Deep product knowledge extends beyond the technical realm. A remarkable PM should be an expert user as well. They should intimately understand the customer, knowing why customers use the product and what they do before and after. By putting themselves in the shoes of the users, PMs can identify pain points, opportunities for improvement, and innovative features that truly resonate.

The Business Side: Leveraging Commercial Information

Data capture on ecommerce journeys is essential, building a big CRM database allows companies a second bite of the cherry if a customer leaves before completing a purchase. I was often asked to add the account creation step early in the funnel. Being able to draw on user research and testing, and to show the drop off rates in the journey when customers were asked to provide information allowed me, not only to justify why we should not add this hurdle to our users, but gave us the motivation to build out both a save your basket function so customers could sign up at any time and come back, and smooth account creation page on the successful payment page. The user journey remains hassle free and we were able to drive account creation by 70% whilst capturing a vast amount of data from engaged customers.

In addition to technical and user knowledge, PMs should master the commercial side of their product. Knowing the costs, tracking performance against the budget, and monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) become invaluable tools. 

With this data, backed up with customer understanding and technical knowledge PMs can respond effectively to questions from business leadership and make data-driven decisions.

Company Savvy: Understanding the Bigger Picture

We’ve all been frustrated by the business not agreeing with our prioritisation, but they don’t have the same perspective as us. 

It's not enough to know your product; you must also know your company. Understanding what matters most to business leadership and aligning your product accordingly is crucial. Familiarity with the company's broader KPIs and strategies helps place your product in the context of the organisation's overarching goals. Networking across various departments offers a holistic view of other priorities and challenges, enabling you to spot opportunities that might otherwise remain hidden.

The Fusion of Knowledge: A PM's Advantage

Bringing together excellent product knowledge and a thorough understanding of the business can give a PM a huge advantage. By marrying product knowledge and company knowledge a PM will be able to triage change requests quicker, they will be able to understand how they fit into the wider company strategy and understand which changes are most likely to gain support from (and really interest) the business and they will be in a great position to highlight the benefits their teams are delivering to business KPIs.

Conclusion: Elevate Your Product Management Journey

In the ever-evolving landscape of product management, moving beyond the basics is essential for those striving for excellence. Embrace the power of knowing your product inside out and understanding your company's broader context. These twin pillars will empower your decision-making, and ensure your product remains a business priority